LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Andrew Ferrie

Position: Music Teacher and 5th Grade Chorus Director
School: Nellie F. Bennett Elementary School
School District: Point Pleasant Borough School District
City, State: Point Pleasant, NJ

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Andrew Ferrie was nominated by an anonymous parent of a student.

Mr. Ferrie has created a robust, high-quality music education program that contributes to the advancement of students and the betterment of his school community. His lessons provide students with exciting and interactive musical experiences, help them to appreciate and understand music theory and history, and teach them to read and perform music. This empowers his students in many ways. Specifically, Mr. Ferrie’s music program helps students by increasing coordination; building pride and confidence in themselves; fostering empathy for other cultures; encouraging imagination and developing creative thinking; teaching discipline; giving students a sense of achievement; building camaraderie and teamwork; and so much more.

The importance and value of Mr. Ferrie’s role in his school cannot be disputed. His efforts increase achievement across a broad spectrum of subjects and disciplines, and they enrich hundreds of children personally and academically. Not only has he created and implemented a high-caliber music program, but his enthusiasm and charisma inspire students and colleagues alike. He is not just any music teacher; he is a talented musician and a gifted performer. Mr. Ferrie effortlessly captures the attention of his class and makes music education enjoyable and interesting.

To say that the students love Mr. Ferrie is an understatement—as is evidenced by the exponential increase in enrollment in the Nellie Bennett Fifth Grade Chorus. Upon Mr. Ferrie’s arrival at Nellie Bennett, the chorus program only had 25 children registered. Within two weeks, he doubled enrollment. Last year, there were 110 students participating in the program, which represented 85% of the entire grade.

The Nellie Bennett Fifth Grade Chorus has grown to become a model program in Point Pleasant, providing a great opportunity for students to be involved in a high-quality, fun and rewarding extracurricular activity. All children are invited to participate, and the results are impressive. The concerts feature a selection of songs in various musical styles and celebrate diversity and different cultures. The program offers participants the chance to serve in leadership roles, such as Section Leader or Chorus Captain. There are opportunities for students to perform solos, have speaking parts, and provide musical accompaniment. Mr. Ferrie challenges the children to do their best, and they beam with pride, confidence and a sense of achievement at the final performance. There is seldom a dry eye in the house.

In addition to his exemplary work in the classroom, Mr. Ferrie takes an active role in his school and enthusiastically supports his colleagues and the administration. Beyond directing the Fifth Grade Chorus, he produces stellar musical presentations for the LEAD program graduation and the Fifth Grade Class graduation. His productions are exceptional and demonstrate the immense time and effort he puts into his work. His attention to important details, such as taking the extra step to secure the high school auditorium for the winter and spring chorus concerts, and planning field trips for the dress rehearsals so that the children can practice on the stage where they will perform, show just how dedicated he is. He also lends his talents to the Nellie Bennett PTO, helping to coordinate the Fifth Grade Talent Show, and providing “entertainment” on stage at Wingo.

Away from Nellie Bennett, Mr. Ferrie is actively engaged in other areas of the Point Pleasant School District. He has been involved with the Point Pleasant High School Marching Band Color Guard since 2015 and now serves as the Color Guard Director. Under his direction, the Color Guard has won numerous awards, including Best Color Guard at several local competitions. The 2017 Color Guard also placed 2nd out of 16 guards at the USBANDS State Championship and 2nd out of 21 guards at USBANDS National Championships. This year, the Point Pleasant Borough High School Color Guard was named the best in the State of New Jersey, and won the state championship title alongside the Point Pleasant Borough High School Marching Band. In addition, since 2015, Mr. Ferrie has been the principal pianist and/or accompanist for musical productions presented by the Point Pleasant Borough High School. Since 2013, he has spent his summers working with the Point Pleasant Summer Drama/ Show Choir Camp. As co-director of the theater program, he teaches children about theater, staging, and theater history; runs an audition workshop; and provides music direction for the Show Choir portion of the camp.

"Mr. Ferrie has had a profound impact on countless children and young adults in our town, and is a tremendous asset to the Point Pleasant Borough School District. He is an amazing role model for his students and peers, and has had immeasurable impact on academic outcomes," said his nominator.

Comments (25)

Caitlyn Rose Posted 9 months ago

What happened to him? He disappeared from Nellie. Was looking forward to my youngest have him for music.

Kristy Gerdes Posted over a year ago

Andrew Ferrie is one of the most energetic and infectious teachers I know. From the first day my daughter walked into Chorus, she was hooked. Mr. Ferrie and his Chorus assisitant Kait Holloway (also nominated) saw something in my daughter and brought out the best in her and sparked her interest and love for singing and theater. He challenged her and encouraged her to imagine that she was more than she believed she was. Her life has been changed for the better without question because of him. Mr. Ferrie has a special place in our family and we cannot thank him enough for all he has done for both our daughters. Even my daughter who loves sports and not music, joined chorus and is trying out for a solo which we never thought she would do. He has a unique way of bringing the most out of his students no matter what their passions are. He has grown the chorus program at Nellie Bennett and continues to use music to encourage and expand student's minds. I am forever grateful to Mr. Ferrie for encouraging and helping my daughter shine on the stage and find a passion she never knew she had.

Kerry Hannam Posted over a year ago

Andrew's enthusiasm and dedication to education is amazing! He is an incredible role model for all students!

Ginger Posted over a year ago

Congratulations on this nomination, Andrew! Andrew was a student in my earlier days working in the district. I never expected to become a colleague. We worked together for 2 years before my retirement & he helped make those years fun, positive, energized & joyful! Andrew’s students love him & he is a positive influence in their lives. He’s a busy guy, his activities go beyond the classroom & typical school day. Singing lessons, acting lessons, & color guard are just some of his additional activities. He’s a fun guy, devoted & inspired teacher, a friend to many and.... the energizer bunny! Congratulations again, Andrew!

Karen Troutman Posted over a year ago

Mr. Ferrie has the most contagious positive energy that any student benefits from. He is truly an amazing educator and how lucky are our children to have the opportunity to be inspired by such a great role model.

Michele Posted over a year ago

Energetic, positive, inspiring- that is Andrew. Whether he is in the classroom, at a local eatery, or seen at the mall he is smiling and demonstrating how life is full of joy. His appreciation of music and attention to detail make each performance he creates a delight to view and hear! He has a natural talent of making people feel comfortable. His message is clear to the students in his 5th grade chorus and music classes, as well as his high school guard- learn from the world around you and be the best version of yourself! Congrats Andrew on this nomination! You are “Simply the Best” and you “Light the Candle all Around the World” in our community!

Colleen Posted over a year ago

Andrew is a truly gifted educator. His energy is off the charts. He knows how to make every student feel as if they are the only one. He is inspirational and seems to have an innate sense that shows him to determine what each person needs to develop. He helps his students thrive and pushes them to go beyond their goals.

Sharon Farrell Posted over a year ago

Andrew's enthusiasm is contagious! Knowing him first as a student, then a colleague, and finally as a parent who taught both my girls to love and appreciate music, he brings infectious joy to those around him. We are blessed to have him work with our students in a variety of roles and I'm excited to see what lies ahead! Keep up the good work!

Lisa Collins Posted over a year ago

I also have the pleasure of working with Andrew. He is an amazing teacher full of positive energy. He just makes learning fun and the kids truly adore him!

Kate Kesler Posted over a year ago

Mr. Ferrie radiates any room he enters. His students feel this, and there is, and they are thrilled to learn from him. They respect his talents and welcome his guidance. My son is a student in his class and a chorus member. It warms my heart to see how he has managed to help kids, especially young boys, let music into their hearts. This nomination is well-deserved. Andrew Ferrie is a class act, and Nellie Bennett is truly blessed to have him.-Kate Kesler

Katie Crain Posted over a year ago

Mr Ferrie exudes positivity and confidence and in turn teaches our children that. My son loves sports and all things competitive but after taking Mr Ferrie’s drama camp his eyes have been opened to a whole new world of musical theatre and acting. Reaching the kids that already love it is the easy job. Teaching the kids that never knew is what real teaching is all about!!!

Elexis Posted over a year ago

Just an amazing teacher and person! You physically want to be around him because he gives you positive energy! Amazing with the students as his love for music is infectious!

Amy Hover Posted over a year ago

Well deserved!!!

Tia DiTullio Posted over a year ago

I don’t even know where to begin...I met Andrew Ferrie when I was a substitute teacher in the Point Pleasant District two years ago. We immediately hit it off. I was so impressed with his energy, enthusiasm and passion he brought to school each and every day. As a third grader at Nellie Bennett, Mr. Ferrie was my son’s favorite teacher. Prior to meeting Andrew, I kept hearing all about this amazing teacher from not only my son but all of his friends. They were so excited for Music class each week and loved talking to Mr. Ferrie during lunch and recess. When I started subbing I saw first hand what the kids were talking about. Me. Ferrie was so much fun to be around and it was obvious the Nellie Bennett community was very lucky to have him. It was Andrew that encouraged my son to get involved in musical theatre. Mr. Ferrie went out of his way countless times to help my son with his first audition. He gave him the confidence needed and my son has since performed in many shows and has loved every minute of it. My son is currently a 5th grade and is a chorus captain in the 5th grade band. If anyone had the chance to see the Winter concert, you saw how amazing Mr. Ferrie is with the students. The smiles, the energy, the applause, the excitement in the room was contagious and we have Mr. Ferrie to thank for that! I am so honored to call Andrew a friend and I am grateful that he has been an incredible role model for my son over the last few years at Nellie Bennett, as his vocal and piano teacher, theatre director and mentor. Bravo Andrew Ferrie! This honor is so deserving and I couldn’t be more proud of you!!! Thank you for all you do!

Stephanie Woit Posted over a year ago

Mr. Andrew Ferrie has an attitude and enthusiasm that is contagious. His passion, love, and appreciation for his art are palpable when in his presence, and I know the children feel it too! Mr. Ferrie, simply put, strives to inspire and impact all those he comes in contact with each and every day. Music is not something that comes easily for all students, but his demeanor and positivity enables all children try their best to engage in and appreciate the art, something that may bring them far beyond their comfort zone, to enjoy true learning. One glance at the risers of his Holiday Concert and you will see a sea of children with a variety of strengths and weaknesses. Yet, they have all participated (willingly) in this extra-curricular activity and dedicated time because he believes in them and because they believe in themselves, and he has empowered them to recognize that. That speaks volumes to his ability to “enable all students to achieve their fullest potential.” Mr. Ferrie has always functioned as “a frontline advocate for the student between home and school.” He has maintained contact with families throughout the course of this year. He is consistent with his correspondence notices regarding chorus practice, meeting times, and attire. He is timely, professional, and efficient. He even shared his documents and song sheets using Google, for those parents who were technologically savvy. Students were able to access the song sheets as well, aiding them to learn collaboratively and in ways that are most relatable to them in the 21st century. Beyond the classroom its not unheard of that Mr. Ferrie is bouncing around the lunchroom encouraging and engaging students to get active and involved in whatever it is that makes them happy. Clearly “his personal interactions with students demonstrate professionalism while retaining, respect, humor, compassion, and concern for the whole child.” Mr. Ferrie is a collaborator. It is typical to see him alongside other colleagues planning or preparing a joint activity where both they and the students have fun! His Holiday Concert is proof of his abilities to work alongside other professionals, which is essential not only for the culture of Nellie Bennett School but also for the growth of the professionals within it! Mr. Andrew Ferrie has a calling, and that calling is teaching…. not just music. He doesn’t go to work because he loves music, he goes to work because he loves children and wants to enable them to tap into their creative and innovative sides. He teaches children to strive to be excellent, to listen to their hearts, and most importantly to respect each other. We are fortunate to have had our twins learn under his leadership. He has inspired them both! Thank you for this opportunity to have a voice in this process! Point Pleasant is surely lucky that this PANTHER has chosen to give back Best regards, Stephanie Woit

Jennifer Scarponi Posted over a year ago

Both my children adore Mr. Ferrie. He radiates positivity & kindness. His ability to connect to each child & create a personal bond is such a gift <3 These kids are incredibly lucky to have him for a role model in our school and our community Congrats to Mr. Ferrie!!

Stephanie Gnolfo Posted over a year ago

Mr. Ferrie is the the absolute best. He had my daughter his first year of teaching and to this very day they still have a strong bond and she’s now in her freshman year of high school. We love Mr. Ferrie.

Kelly Roessner Posted over a year ago

Haven’t been in Nellie long however I seen him engaged with the students in the color guard on the field and in the cafeteria at Nellie. You can see how much of a role model he is to them!Bravo! Great work!

Marie Mormino Posted over a year ago

We gladly support Mr. Ferrie! We moved here when my daughter was in fifth grade. It can be difficult to start a new school but Mr. Ferrie made her feel welcome and got her engaged in music and chorus. Can’t say enough great things about him!!

Peggy Posted over a year ago

I have known Andrew Ferrie since he was a child.. it has been an honor watching him live his dream..his enthusiasm for teaching and the connection he has with his students is a gift rarely seen in today's world...he is our Mr. Holland and we are blessed to have him in our school system

Gina Martin Posted over a year ago

There is no denying the joy and excitement Mr. Ferrie brings to the students of Nellie Bennett. Fridays have earned the name “Ferrie Friday” in my class because of how much my class anticipates music class each week. While it is evident that Mr. Ferrie reaches and inspires countless students across all grade levels, Andrew is a source of positivity and joy to the staff as well. Having known Andrew as a student, I was so excited to have him as a colleague. Little did I know what he, along with other members of the music department, would do for our staff morale. Andrew puts a smile on all of our faces, giving us nicknames, starting special days like scarf Wednesday’s, and just acting genuinely happy to see you each day. Andrew Ferrie is a gem.

Kim Posted over a year ago

My son was in his class and would always say how much fun he had in music class and how mr.ferrie made learning music so much fun

Noelle Albrink Posted over a year ago

We love you Mr. Ferrie! You are amazing and we love hearing you sing! Congratulations! Xo ps- Grandma loves you too!

Deanne Glenn Posted over a year ago

I am blessed to teach with Andrew every day. He is a radiant presence at Nellie Bennett and his energy is contagious! Both of my children are lucky enough to have him for music class, where they learn about different instruments, musical theory and various composers. The music they do is relevant and enjoyable for them. They are excited for music class each week. The work Andrew has done for the 5th grade chorus is amazing. Those kids are engaged and excited about performing on stage. My kids can’t wait to be in his chorus when they reach 5th grade! He definitely deserves this nomination, and I am so proud of him!

John Ward Posted over a year ago

This man is a pure and natural talented teacher and role model for the entire Point Pleasant School system, my son was a part of the 5th grade choir and absolutely loved it. Mr Ferrie took my son a boy the like to listen to music into a person that appreciates music and all it has to offer. Teacher of the year and decade as far as I am concerned. Thank you Mr. Ferrie for all the hard work, inspiration,wonder and sense of pride you instill in all your students.???? Bravo sir. Sincerely John Ward