Sioux Falls orchestra teacher wins top regional award from Schmitt Music

Stacy Sip teaches fourth through eighth graders in S.F. School District. She'll be honored at a banquet in Minneapolis.

Stacy Sip 3.jpg
Stacy Sip teaches orchestra to fourth through eighth graders at Sonia Sotomayor Elementary and Edison Middle schools in Sioux Falls.
Contributed / Sioux Falls School District

SIOUX FALLS — When Sioux Falls orchestra teacher Stacy Sip saw an email that she was nominated for a top regional award she deleted it.

Then came the phone call.

The elementary and middle school instructor had been named the Schmitt Music regional orchestra teacher of the year, selected from 130 nominations in a six-state area that the retailer serves.

“She is very deserving,” said Tracy Vik, principal at Sonia Sotomayor Elementary School.

“It’s because of her relationship with her students. She does such a phenomenal job,” Vik said. “She makes the kids love music. We’re fortunate to have her.”


Sip has her hands full as she works with about 300 students not only on the elementary level but also with her duties at nearby Edison Middle School.

Sip said she can really get to know her students as spends as many as five years with the youngsters, beginning in the fourth grade when they learn the basics – such as how to hold their instruments – and then follows them through the eighth grade.

“I really get to build significant relationships,” she said.

Students usually only spend a year with their teachers as they move through their grade levels.

She gets to know their parents as well, and has become friends with many of them.“We’re family,” Sip said.

Parents get to see the progression between the fall and spring concerts.

The 23-year veteran of teaching, who has been with the Sioux Falls district her entire career, said she “loves” her job.

Stacy Sip 1.jpg
Stacy Sip works with students at Sonia Sotomayor Elementary School in Sioux Falls on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023.
Barry Amundson / For Sioux Falls Live

What she enjoys most is to see her students’ “faces light up when they get it” as they learn how to play one of the four instruments offered in her class including the violin, viola, cello and bass.


“They get so excited when they learn something they didn’t think they could do,” Sipp said.

She doesn’t know who nominated her for the award but she’s very curious.

She may find out when she travels to Minneapolis for the awards banquet on Thursday, Feb. 16, She’ll receive $2,000 to spend at the local Schmitt store.

The top regional middle school and high school teacher of the year will also be recognized there Later, she’ll also be honored by the company at a community event in Sioux Falls.

Sip is planning to spend her money on helping her students by buying instruments.

The teacher, who graduated from the University of South Dakota and then earned her master’s at Minnesota State University-Marshall, said she’s proud to have earned the honor from Schmitt. “They are the best to work with whether our students repair or buy their instruments,” she said. “They are such a good organization that really helps our students.”

What To Read Next
Get Local