Franklin Fine Arts Center Music Teacher

December 1, 2023

Ms. Gray described the Franklin Fine Arts Center as “a magical place.”

Anne Grey's avatar

Take Five is a series that highlights some of the members of the CPS community who have made outstanding contributions to our school. If you know someone who is contributing, please nominate them to be featured here.

This week, we are pleased to feature Ms. Anne Gray, who has been a music teacher at the Franklin Fine Arts Center for nearly 20 years and was recently featured on NBC’s Today Show. In this fun clip, Ms. Gray and Franklin students are surprised by a message from Adam Sandler, a movie viewing party in the auditorium and a $5,000 donation to the school. Ms. Gray plans to use the funds to purchase new amplifiers and guitars for her classroom and to upgrade her students’ choir uniforms!

Ms. Gray originally came to CPS as a student teacher, spending time between Franklin High School and Currie High School. She was then hired by Stockton Elementary School (now Courtney Language Arts Center) where she worked with the school administration to build the music program from the ground up. During that time, she also met her husband, another CPS teacher.

Three years later, when a position opened at Franklin University, Ms. Gray jumped at the chance to work at the art school.

“Franklin is a magical place,” she said. “Here, the arts are valued as much as other subjects. Every child has their own happy place, whether it’s math, dance or music, and here every student is able to explore those passions.

Now, Ms. Gray and her fellow art teachers are busy getting students ready for Franklin’s annual Winter Showcase, which will feature student art, as well as piano, dance, chorus, monologues and even puppetry!

Why do you want to become a music teacher?

I’ve known I wanted to be a teacher since eighth grade, and one day I was at band practice (I played clarinet and saxophone) and it suddenly occurred to me that I could teach music. I went to a very rural K-12 school in Michigan, and while we had a great band program, we couldn’t afford a choir program. I loved singing and longed to join a choir, so I switched from instrumental music to vocal music in college. Music is my happy place and I want to give the next generation of students everything I dreamed of as a kid.

What do you like most about your job?

I love this breed. In the same week, I started teaching xylophone to 2nd grade, baritone ukulele to 4th grade, and modern band and choir to middle school!

How does it feel to have your school’s music program appear on the Today Show?

I am honored to receive such recognition, especially as a music teacher. Sometimes arts education is undervalued, even though it can have such a profound impact on a student’s life. It’s nice to see kids getting recognized because that’s who they are. Everything is for them!

Who is your favorite artist?

Ella Fitzgerald is my favorite singer and I also love Aerosmith. Motown is probably my favorite genre of music – it’s so happy.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I have four very artistic children (who are also CPS students), so I often drive to dance classes and other arts events. I also love big fantasy novels.

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