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Megan Sahely

Director of Orchestras
Leon High School and Raa Middle School
Tallahassee, Florida

Music educators are known for juggling multiple priorities, but Dr. Megan Sahely takes it to another level. As the orchestra director at Raa Middle School, a performer with five local orchestras, a private violin teacher and a board member of the Florida Orchestra Association, her plate was already full. But when the orchestra at one of the high schools in her district was in a tight spot with no director, Sahely stepped in and asked to work at both the middle school and high school. Even with the added difficulties caused by the pandemic, both programs are thriving.

Sahely and her fellow educators are teaching in-person and virtual classes. Despite technical difficulties like bad wifi and lack of proper equipment for students, Sahely is dedicated to holding in-person and digital rehearsals (using Zoom breakout rooms) with all of her students. In one of her “40 Under 40” nomination letters, a colleague wrote, “Even through these difficult teaching moments, Dr. Sahely continues to encourage and educate while instilling a love and passion for music in her students.”

Sahely was more than willing to sacrifice her time and some performance opportunities to take on additional responsibilities at Leon High School because of her passion for teaching. “Earlier this year, one of my students shared with me that he would like to major in music education and teach orchestra someday,” she said. “This was an extremely rewarding moment, as it reminded me that what we do as teachers truly impacts not only our current students, but future generations.”