Cory Garmane Named SIC 2021 Outstanding Teacher

April 27, 2021

Cory Garmane, Southeastern Illinois College music instructor, has been chosen by a vote of his peers as the Loren P. and Velma Dallas Outstanding Teacher of the Year for 2020-2021.

The award’s criteria include at least three years of full-time employment; participation above and beyond classroom assignments; competence in one’s field or discipline; continuing one’s education and participating in professional development activities; rapport with students; personal commitment to higher education and the transfer of knowledge to students; upholding and encouraging ethical behavior of self and students; and giving freely to prepare students for their chosen careers.

Garmane has been a music instructor at SIC since 2015. He is responsible for teaching all music courses at the college, including Music Appreciation, American Music, Concert Choir, Music Theories I-IV, and Private Applied I-IV. He has served as music director and pit orchestra conductor for various musical performances, as well as conductor of the SIC Concert Choir. Garmane is responsible for planning musical events on campus, and has used his connections with other local colleges to work together, bringing larger group performances and musical events to the stage in a conjoined effort. He also participates in non-musical improvement efforts at the college as the co-chair of the SIC Assessment Team and is on the insurance committee.

Garmane earned his Master of Business Administration from Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, Utah; his Master of Music (Choral Conducting) and Bachelor of Arts in Music with a finance minor (graduating Magna cum Laude) from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and his associate degree from Rend Lake College.

Paul Cummins, Humanities Chair and communications professor at SIC, said, "Since his arrival at Southeastern, Cory has been a beacon of professionalism and student advocacy for the humanities division. He is extremely deserving of this award and we, as an institution, are lucky to have him."

According to his anonymous nomination for the award by one of his peers, “Garmane shows a superior level of investment and passion in his teaching.  He works very hard on the instructional content and materials in his teaching.”

The nomination also touted his ability to produce multiple public performances virtually during the pandemic restrictions.

A previous student of Garmane’s, Reagan Gray, who is now the Associate Choir Director for middle school and junior high at Little Rock Christian Academy in Arkansas had much to say about her former instructor.

“One thing that I admire so much about Mr. Garmane is his dedication to his work. He works countless hours to make sure that everything he does is as close to perfect as possible. He has been such an inspiration to me in that aspect,” said Gray.

Gray went on to say, “So much of what I know, and many of the things I teach my students are things I learned when I was a student of Mr. G’s. To me, showing your students a good work ethic is so important, but what is most important is showing your students true love, and support in every step of their journey. This is one thing that Mr. G did so well, and continues to do well as the years go by. I graduated from SIC four years ago, and he is still so supportive of me and my journey as a music educator… I don’t think I would be where I am today if it weren’t for his guidance and wisdom in all things life and music!”

Outside of SIC, Garmane is an active member of the American Choral Director’s Association on both the national and state level. He has donated his time as the music director for a local church and offers private music lessons to area students not affiliated with SIC. He is an avid reader and researcher in both musical and financial spheres. He has been married to Zeigler-Royalton second grade teacher Amy Gulley Garmane for nearly 16 years, and they have two small children.

Garmane’s 2021 Loren P. and Velma Dallas Outstanding Teacher Award makes him eligible for the 2021 ICCTA Outstanding Faculty Member Award, as well.

Lorna Dallas-Brown, who lives in New York and England, and the late Ellen Wiggins, daughters of the late Loren P. and Velma Dallas of Carrier Mills, established the Loren and Velma Dallas Outstanding Teacher Award in honor of their parents in 1996. Their father, a founding member of the Southeastern Illinois College Board, was passionate about education. Loren and Velma Dallas gave tirelessly to young people and wanted to provide opportunities for higher education in southern Illinois. Each year the Dallas endowment through the SIC Foundation awards $500 to the Outstanding Teacher of the Year.