Mississippi Valley State University’s next band director has shattered the glass ceiling.
Dr. Kerry Anne Simon of Memphis will become the university’s first female band director following the retirement of Kenneth Milton on July 1.
She’s has served as associate director of bands since August 2017.
Additionally, Simon will become the first female band director in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
“It hasn’t hit me yet,” Simon said of her new job. “This is a maIe-dominated field, for sure. I think we’re in the time now where people are paying more attention to women in the workplace.”
Simon said that throughout her career, she has realized that being a female band director is a “big thing.” She had been a part of MVSU’s “Mean Green Marching Machine,” band under Leonard “Chief” Tramiel when she was an undergraduate at MVSU.
Following her graduation in 1995, she earned a master’s degree in education at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, and a master’s in music education at Tennessee State University.
She then received a doctorate in music education from Florida State University in 2013.
From 2014 to 2017, Simon was assistant director of bands at Coahoma Community College.
“I always knew I wanted to be a college band director, but to be able to come and give back to the university that helped me to be successful has been great,” she said.
Dr. Jerryl Briggs, president of MVSU, said, “We’re excited to have Dr. Kerry Simon carry on and build upon the excellence of our University Bands program. As an alumna of MVSU, she has deep roots and an undeniable passion for The Valley. I am looking forward to seeing great things from her.”