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Real School Announces the 2015 Employee Awards

Jim Keenan

March 22, 2016

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The Real School of Music names four outstanding employees in the categories of Employee of the Year (Erik Ringstad), Instructor of the Year (Eric Goldberg), Rookie of the Year (Kelly Surette), and a new distinction, the Founders Award (Bill Doss). 


BURLINGTON, MA, March 21, 2016 --- The Real School of Music recently announced the 2015 Employee Awards for staff who demonstrate exceptional commitment, contribution, and achievement in the areas of teaching, customer service, and program leadership. Coming from the full spectrum of roles at Real School, the awards recognize new instructors (within the past 12 months) through seasoned employees in the instructor and administrative areas.

RingstadErik.jpgThe Employe of the Year was awarded to Erik Ringstad. A celebrated guitar instructor since joining Real School in August 2009, Erik transitioned from teaching to working exclusively on a unique, highly-effective curriculum framework which will populate a web-based Learning Management System the company will license to music schools across the globe (launching 2016). Erik graduated from Berklee College of Music with dual major in Jazz Composition and Guitar Performance with a minor in Music Synthesis (now called Electronic Production and Design). Erik has been writing and recording original music for 25 years, with approximately 800-1000 titles to his name.

Upon receiving the award, Erik said,  I am honored to receive the employee of the year award. The work I do at the school, curriculum development, is something I feel I was meant to do, and I love doing it. To be recognized among our talented and dedicated faculty is an honor I am quite proud of.”

GoldbergEric.jpgDirector of Piano Instruction and Faculty Leadership Team member, Eric Goldberg, was named the Instructor of the Year. A member of the faculty since April 2011, Eric has an extraordinary background in music performance, teaching, and composition. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Eric’s career was launched with an appearance in the original FAME movie, and evolved to performing and recording with such luminaries as Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Lew Soloff, and Don Alias. Eric also has an extensive background in composition, and has scored music for television, film, and radio, including the theme for the show  "The World" on WGBH and the BBC. In 2002, he received a Grammy nomination for "Best Rock Instrumental Performance" as the keyboardist for The Steve Vai Band.

Eric said, “It's an honor to be part of the Real School team! The environment here has enabled me to empower students and provide them with the tools that will help them blossom into great musicians in the future.”

The RookiSuretteKelly.jpge of the Year Award went to Kelly Surette. Kelly joined Real School in November 2014 as a piano and voice instructor in Andover, and has since developed and launched the Reach 4 Real Adaptive Music Program ('R4R'). R4R delivers adaptive music and musical theater classes designed specifically for those with developmental and intellectual disabilities, as well as those with traumatic or acquired brain injury. One of the most exciting new programs in Real School's young history, R4R has received widespread market adoption and is poised for explosive growth throughout New England and beyond. 

Speaking about her experience incubating and launching this deeply impactful program, Kelly said that, “Real School is a company that took a risk on my dream of starting a performing arts program for those with developmental and intellectual disabilities and has supported me in building the most meaningful thing in my life. I continue to feel blessed that I have had the opportunity to find a creative and forward thinking company that challenges me to grow both personally and professionally every single day.”

DossBill.jpgRealJams Academy Director and Ensembles Director Bill Doss received the Founders Award. Newly introduced this year, this exclusive award recognizes extraordinary contributions in the areas of leadership, curriculum development, and business growth. Originally launched in the summer of 2010, RealJams Academy has gone on to become the nation's premier week-long summer music program. With programs ranging from Join a Band and Musical Theatre to Audio Production and A Cappella, RealJams Academy serves students ages 6 through senior high school and is a cornerstone of the Real School brand and future growth. 

In addition to his administrative work, Bill teaches saxophone, piano, clarinet, and flute. Bill is one of the original team of instructors, joining in September 2008. Of his award, Bill commented, "We are in the business of providing as many opportunities to our students as possible through music.  What we do is not easy, but never doubt it makes a difference in each one of our students and their families lives.  Dedication, persistence and our ability to work together as a team, regardless of which programs and locations we are involved with, will allow Real School to continue to grow, which will provide more opportunities for our students and staff."  

Reflecting on this years award winners, Real School Founder and CEO, Thomas Byrne, said, “I am very proud of the contributions from each of this year's recipients. Erik, Eric, Kelly, and Bill each, in their own way, represent the very best of what Real School is all about.”

Real School's believes that a first-class culture is at the heart of the organization, and is proud to recognize and celebrate faculty and staff who make a profound difference in the lives of our students everyday.

Have you or your child studied with an amazing teacher at Real School? Leave your comments below to let us know. 



Employees of the Year, Bill Doss and Vykki Vox 

Instructor of the Year, Dave Hinckley


Employee of the Year, Dwight Hill

Instructor of the Year, John "Muzz" Muzzy

Rookie of the Year, Ed Spargo (bio pending) 


Employee of the Year, Seitu (bio pending) 

Instructors of the Year, Jim Zaroulis and Chad Maggs 

Rookie of the Year, Heather Luhn


Employee of the Year, Gavin McCarthy (bio pending) 

Instructors of the Year, Tim Rowell and James Towlson 

Rookie of the Year, Stephanie Morey-Barry