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Mary Jo Papich

Mary Jo Papich

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Mary Jo Papich - Biographical Information

Mary Jo Papich, known for her passion for arts education, is CoFounder and first president of the Jazz Education Network. A recipient of Midwest Clinic’s Medal of Honor she has served public school education for 35+ years, she retired as Fine Arts Chair at Highland Park HS and served as Director of Fine Arts for Skokie D219 until 2012.  As district Fine Arts Coordinator in Peoria Public Schools 150 she founded the Peoria Jazz All Stars who performed at Montreux, North Sea, and Umbria Jazz Festivals, IMEA Conference, ASBDA and many events.  Prior, Mary Jo was an award winning band director at Peoria’s Woodruff High School and Roosevelt Magnet School for Arts K-8.

Her leadership/honor positions include serving on the selection committee for the NARAS Grammy Music Educator of the Year award, Artistic Access to Excellence Panel for the NEA, ILMEA VP, and HP Cultural Arts Commission, Central IL ArtsPartners and many other arts organizations.  Mary Jo’s recent honors include receiving Jazz Education Achievement Award from DownBeat, Women in Jazz Award from the Chicago Jazz Ensemble.   HPHS Focus on the Arts annually awards a Highland Park High School student the MJ Papich Leadership Scholarship. JEN honors her by giving the Mary Jo Papich Women In Jazz Scholarship to deserving students. In 2015, Tau Beta Sigma presented her with the Outstanding Service to Music Education award.  She was recently presented with the Outstanding Jazz Educator of the Year award from the Chicago Jazz Institute in April 2018 and the prestigious Medal of Honor from Midwest Clinic in 2019. Papich is the editor of The Jazz Educator’s Cookbook and Rehearsing the Jazz Band.  These books are published by Meredith Music  with proceeds go to Jazz Education Network. Her many presentations include: NAfME Conference, many State MEA conferences, Midwest Clinic, IAJE Conferences, Siena Jazz Foundation, South African Jazz Conf, Brubeck Institute.  Her professional affiliations include JEN, ILMEA, NAfME, Illinois Arts in Education Alliance. and she is currently President of ArtsPartners of Central Illinois in Peoria.