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Congratulations to the 2021 Teachers of Distinction

Congratulations to the 2021 Teachers of Distinction

Published on September 14, 2021

RCM Teachers of Distinction are leaders in the field of music education, recognized for their contributions of creativity, dedication, innovation, and passion.

This award is given to teachers across North America who are recognized as leaders in the field of music education. Through their years of teaching experience, they provide mentorship to other teachers and instill a lifelong love of music in their students. RCM Teachers of Distinction are an inspiration to others and are influential in creating a brighter future for music education.

We are thrilled to announce the 2021 recipients of this distinguished award who will be celebrated at their regional Canadian and American Celebration of Excellence events.


Kimerica Parr headshot

Alberta, Northwest Territories, Nunavut 

Kimerica Parr

Kimerica Parr is a versatile artist and a sought-after performer in many operas, oratorios, musicals and concerts in Canada, the USA, Europe, and most recently Asia. 

Kim completed her Bachelor Degree in Music and a Bachelor Degree in Education at the University of Windsor. She also completed her Master of Music at the University of Alberta.

She has performed the lead role in many musical productions including: Mame, My Fair Lady, Oklahoma, Showboat, The Secret Garden, Les Misérables, Cinderella, The Wizard of Oz, Annie, and Annie Get Your Gun.  Kim is also featured on many recordings of the works. Kim was the Artistic Director of Rose City Rising Stars Theatre Guild Inc., for fourteen years. 

A member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Alberta Registered Music Teacher’s Association, Music Teacher’s National Association and The Alberta Teacher’s Association, Kim has also been recognized as a Teacher of Distinction by the Royal Conservatory of Music. 

Kimerica currently serves the teaching community as Past President of Alberta Registered Music Teacher’s Association, and as Vice-President of the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Association. Her students have placed and won the Provincial Competitions in Ontario and Alberta, as well as received many Gold Medals from the RCM.  She currently maintains an active studio with her husband, Michael, called the Parr Academy of Vocal Arts, in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Betty Ro headshot

(New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island) 

Betty Ro

Originally from South Korea, Betty Ro has been teaching in Nova Scotia since 1992.  After completing her studies in Korea, she completed a MM from the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA, with piano studies under Gabriel Chodos and Jacob Maxin, and chamber music studies under Larry Lesser and Leon Kirchner. 

Teaching all ages and levels, Betty has had a flourishing private studio for more than 25 years.  Her students have earned awards and scholarships, in addition to gold medals from The Royal Conservatory. Other accolades include top prizes at the Kiwanis Music Festival, the National Canadian Music Competition, and the Debut Atlantic Award for Musical Excellence. In 2016, Betty was named the NSRMTA Teacher of the Year.
Betty has additional teaching experience from Dalhousie University, where she was invited to teach for the 2000-2001 academic school year. During 2018-2019, she was on staff at Dalhousie University in the capacity of Applied Faculty in Piano.
Betty is a registered member of the Nova Scotia Registered Music Teachers' Association, and is a Certified Teacher through the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Shirley Lum headshot

British Columbia, Yukon

Shirley Lum

Shirley Lum has students across Canada and the United States. Her large studio in Vancouver teaches violin, theory, and piano where her classes emphasize the relationship between theory, history, and interpretation of music. 

Shirley's students have won numerous RCM medals and awards from local, regional, and national competitions. 

Alumni from her studio have continued their success at Yale, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Curtis, NYU, and major Canadian universities. 

As the Head of RCM Theory & History Exam Preparation for the Vancouver Academy of Music, she has coached and mentored new teachers to develop their own unique approach in teaching the RCM curriculum.

Shirley Lum holds a MBA in Marketing and Finance, a BA in Music History and Theory, and an ARCT in Violin Performance. 
Allison Phipps headshot


Allison Phipps

Allison Phipps has a BA Hons from the University of Manitoba, Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music, where she majored in voice. During her university career she received numerous scholarships and awards including the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty Fund Award, Orville J. Derraugh Memorial Recital Scholarship, Don Wright Entrance Scholarship in Music, Margaret H. Tyler Award in Music, and Margaret Toal Scholarship in Voice.

From 2003-2015 Allison participated at the Winnipeg Music Festival in piano, voice, and classical guitar.

She has performed with Canzona, Camerata Nova, The Winnipeg Philharmonic, and The Winnipeg Singers. Alison has a wide variety of musical performance interests including being one half of the country/bluegrass duo “Serenade” which performs at Winnipeg’s Festival Du Voyageur and Fringe Festival.

Allison has been teaching voice, piano, guitar, ukulele, and theory lessons since 2015 and has had the honour of attending an RCM Celebration of Excellence ceremony with one of her piano students who received one of the highest piano exam marks in Manitoba.

As an RCM Certified Teacher, Allison’s main goal is to bring joy to her students through music. She encourages students to try a variety of musical styles and hopes they use music as a language to express themselves.
Olga Chichova headshot


Olga Chichova

A dedicated pedagogue in both instrumental and music theory, Olga Chichova earned her PhD in Music Education from Pedagogical State University in Moscow. She is the author of published articles on various aspects of music pedagogy, has conducted masterclasses, and has adjudicated at the international level.
Olga’s constructive teaching methodology has helped her students earn national gold medals from the Royal Conservatory and win grand prizes at Canadian and provincial music competitions. Her students have excelled at the Steinway Piano competition, with one being recognized as a Young Artist of Steinway.
Her students have competed internationally, at: The Nutcracker International Competition (Russia), San Jose International Competition (USA), Chopin Youth Piano Competition (Poland), Jeune Chopin International Piano Competition (Switzerland), Napolinova World Piano E-Competition, (Italy), Euregio International Competition (Germany), and more. Olga’s students have also performed with orchestras in Canada, China, Italy, and Russia.
Recognized as a distinguished teacher by Steinway and Sons, Olga is also a member of the Teacher of the Steinway Hall of Fame.
Olga sets high standards for each student and values a strong teacher – student – parent relationship.
Sophie Hsu headshot


Sophie Hsu

Sophie Hsu began piano lessons at the age of four with Wei-Sze Chang. She participated in various piano competitions organized by The Quebec Music Teacher Association, Canadian Music Competition, and Classical Music Festival (now organized by Q.M.T.A.), where she often finished with top honours in her category.

She won first place for eight years in a row at the Classical Music Festival competition. Sophie was the winner of the national competition “C.M.C.” in 1997. In the same year, she also received the highest mark at the C.M.C. (piano category).

In 2006, celebrating 250 years since Mozart’s birth, The Austria Society sponsored Sophie to perform Mozart’s famous “Coronation” piano concerto in D major with symphony Orchestra of F.A.C.E. in the presence of the Austrian Ambassador of Canada.

In recent years, Sophie has dedicated her time to composing and teaching. She is an RCM Certified Teacher and has been teaching for more than 10 years. Her innovative teaching methods have led her students to receive remarkable results in piano examinations and performances.

Sophie’s love of music inspires her students to pursue piano as a passion. 

Doris Hagan headshot


Doris Hagan

Doris Hagan’s love of music began when she received her first piano at age seven.  She learned quickly and by her teenage years she had begun teaching in her local elementary and high schools.

Doris delights in bringing out the finest in each child and helping them learn lifelong skills. For the past 27 years she has immersed herself in the Music For Young Children program and also become a strong advocate for Royal Conservatory exams in developing goal setting and perseverance. 

She recognizes every child is different and expects students to work to the best of their individual abilities. Her greatest joy is in seeing each student progress.

United States

Dr. Linda Govel headshot


Dr. Linda Govel

Dr. Linda Govel earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts from The Thornton School of Music. She is currently serving as President of the South Bay Branch of the Music Teacher’s Association of California, and has served as Chairman for the Palos Verdes area of the National Piano Guild. 
She is affiliated with the Music Teacher’s Association of California, the Southwestern Youth Music Festival, Southern California Junior Bach Festival, Armenian Allied Arts Association, and the American College of Musicians. 
Dr. Govel is an RCM Certified Teacher in both Piano Practical and Music Theory from Prep A to Advanced Levels. Her students have received RCM Center Awards, State Awards, and Regional Gold Medals.
Dr. Govel has more than thirty years of teaching experience.  She draws from her first-hand experiences as an early childhood educator, along with being a mother of two children to guide her in her work. 
She specializes in teaching kids with learning disabilities or disorders.  Her program has been successful in teaching autistic children by creating a nurturing and stimulating environment for students to gain confidence and succeed in both music and life.

Say-Eow Quah headshot

South West
(Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming) 

Say-Eow Quah

Say Eow Quah has taught music for the last 35 years.
Say Eow Quah’s study of piano and voice are international. Born in Malaysia, he began his education in Singapore, then earned his BA and MM in piano from the University of Utah, where he was awarded with the President’s Award, Student Teaching Award, and earned a place on the Dean’s List. He completed his Performer’s Associate Diploma in piano and voice from Trinity College of Music in London.
Quah has been active in adjudication and in collaboration with performers in voice, instrumentalists, dancers, and the fine arts.
In his 20+ years of teaching at the University of Utah Preparatory Division, he has had the opportunity to teach musicianship classes on performing and theory, as well as private and group piano instruction. 
Many of his students have entered music programs at NYU, Yale, Boston Conservatory, University of Utah, and Brigham Young University.

Shelly Torossian headshot

North Central
(Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin) 

Shelly Torossian

Shelly Torossian began RCM piano lessons at age seven in Montreal, Canada. She continued her musical studies fulfilling all practical, theory, and history requirements, and as a McGill University graduate, Shelly began tutoring and teaching piano.

Her passion for music and love of children paved the way for her career as a piano teacher. In 1988 she trained as a Music for Young Children teacher, allowing her to teach children as young as three years old.

When she moved to Michigan in 1993, she continued preparing students for RCM assessments and would drive them across the border to Windsor, Canada so they could take their exams.
Shelly’s students have placed among the top performers at both their state and local assessment centers. Her students participate in annual recitals, composition festivals, and (pre-Covid) perform at senior centers during the holidays. One of Shelly’s former students is currently studying music production at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
During the pandemic, Shelly quickly adapted to virtual teaching and engaged her students more than ever. Her patience, compassion, and understanding of learning styles contributes to each student’s success.

Allen Long headshot

South Central (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas) 

Allen Long

Allen Long earned a BA from California State at Fullerton majoring in Music with a special emphasis in Piano Pedagogy and Accompanying. He later completed his MM from Southern Methodist University.
A Certified Specialist in Elementary and Intermediate piano from the RCM Certificate Program, Allen is a member of several national and regional piano teacher associations. He was named 2016 Teacher of the Year by The Richardson Music Teachers Association and 2017 Teacher of the Year by The Texas Music Teachers Association.
Allen served as an ordained minister for several years while teaching piano. In 2010 he began teaching music full time. His greatest joys as a teacher are seeing his students successfully play beautiful music at the piano, display enthusiasm for the music they are learning, and automatically apply concepts and skills learned to a new piece of music. He is a proud grandfather of 4!

Lyubov Paskova Anderson headshot

North East
(Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia) 

Lyubov Paskova Anderson

Lyubov received her BA from the Music Teacher’s Training College in Saint-Petersburg, Russia and her MM from Saint Petersburg Academy of the Arts where she studied piano with Tatiana Lupikina.
She began her piano teaching career in Russia and now maintains a private piano studio in Salisbury, MD, where she also works as a part-time professor at Salisbury University teaching piano lab class, applied piano as a secondary instrument to all majors, and online theory courses.
Ms. Paskova brought the Royal Conservatory of Music program to students in her region in 2012, becoming a Founding Teacher of The Music Achievement Program and serving as a local representative for The RCM assessments center.
Her students demonstrate solid technical and musical skills, and many earn state awards from The RCM Certificate Program.
Since 2001 she has served as Chairperson for The Salisbury Piano Guild Center and has been on the board of Judges since 2006.
With the support of fellow piano teachers Ms. Paskova has compiled and organized the annual Celebration of Great Composers student recital held at Salisbury University for the past 15 years. In 2021, “Immortal Spirit of Beethoven - His Influence Endures” was streamed online.
Ms. Pakova was recently honored with a Salisbury Wicomico Arts Council Distinguished Community Service Award for her participation in the “Classics for a Cause” classical music series which helps provide music and instruments for children in Wicomico County.

South East
(Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Caroline, Tennessee, Virginia) 

Rebecca Carlson 

Rebecca Carlson is a professional violinist with more than 30 years of teaching experience. She studied violin performance at University of San Diego and has had the privilege to work with many string ensembles and recording artists including Johnny Mathis and Marvin Holmes.
Ms. Carlson's work as an actress also led to many special Hollywood performances with Henry Mancini, and Angela Bofill.
During the 1970’s and 1980’s she performed with the San Francisco symphony with Aaron Copeland, Martha Graham, and Edward Villella as well as playing with the San Jose Symphony under George Cleve's direction. In the 1990's she began teaching full time with an emphasis on serving the local community.
Many of her students have gone on to have musical careers of their own.

North West
(Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington) 

Diana Fleming 

Diana Fleming founded The Fleming School of Music in 1976. Over the course of many years, the Fleming School developed a comprehensive music program that prepares students for a lifetime of music enjoyment.  

Many families remain a part of their program for decades, spanning the music education of multiple generations.