JSU’s LaTannia Ellerbe awarded Humanities Teacher of the Year

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LaTannia Ellerbe

JANS – LaTannia Ellerbe, D.M.A., was announced as Jackson State University’s (JSU) 2024 Humanities Teacher of the Year by the Mississippi Humanities Council (MHC). The MHC Humanities Teacher Awards pays tribute to outstanding faculty in traditional humanities fields at each of Mississippi’s institutions of higher learning. 

Ellerbe is an assistant professor of strings in JSU’s Department of Music under the College of Liberal Arts (COLA). She instills students with the skills and knowledge to perfect instruments such as the viola, violin, cello, and bass. 

“When I applied to become a professor here, I said I wanted to be in an active community of scholars. I wholeheartedly believe that this is the most accomplished and the most comprehensive music department of all of the HBCUs,” said Ellerbe. “I don’t know how I got so lucky to end up here, but I’ll take it.” 

Ellerbe teaches courses such as string methods, string ensemble, and music appreciation. She also instructs the Joella H. Gipson String Ensemble, who were invited to perform at the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) and American String Teacher Association (ASTA) Conferences on March 20-23. 

Ellerbe was also selected, out of a large pool of applicants, to present at the national joint conference which highlights the work of the nation’s top Suzuki Method music teachers. This is the first time that the work of HBCUs in the area of String Education will be highlighted at either conference. 

“Dr. Ellerbe is an amazing teacher, scholar, performer, and educator! I’ve been blown away by the work she has done to elevate our string program and build upon the legacy that was laid by Joella Gipson, Dr. London Branch, and so many more,” said Lisa Beckley-Roberts, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Music. “She inspires students and colleagues with her endless energy and positivity. I was not surprised at all when she won.” 

“She is the embodiment of excellence in humanities, encouraging her students to think critically and use their art as activism to change the world. We are thrilled that the committee recognized her excellence as much as we do in the department!” 

Ellerbe laughed, recalling feeling completely perplexed and even under the impression that it was spam or some sort of prank when she received an email announcing her award. 

“In this department, there are so many great instructors. Then, in the College of Liberal Arts, there’s so many great instructors. So I could have easily named at least 20 other people that could have gotten this award,” she said. 

The music educator studied at Vanderbilt University, the University of North Carolina Greensboro, and the University of Minnesota, where she received a bachelor of music in strings, a master of music in violin, and a doctorate in violin. 

Ellerbe has traveled the world as a music instructor, teaching at institutions in Bermuda, recording tracks with bands in Cuba, and virtually presenting at conferences via the Universidad Veracruzana in Mexico.

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JSU’s LaTannia Ellerbe awarded Humanities Teacher of the Year

By Jackson Advocate News Service
April 8, 2024