MRS. KAREN GORZYNSKI is the Director of Choral Activities at Somerville High School, NJ where she is currently celebrating her 36th year. Mrs. “G”. directs three curricular and four extra-curricular vocal ensembles and also serves as vocal director for the annual spring musical. She is involved in the Central Jersey MEA and the New Jersey ACDA and is a longstanding member of NAfME and ACDA. She was chosen to conduct the Region II Women’s Chorus in February 2011. In 2013, she was named as both the Somerville School District’s Teacher of the Year and Somerset County Teacher of the Year. In 2014, she was a finalist for the National Teachers Hall of Fame. She has also enjoyed serving as a director with the American Music Abroad Red Tour and traveling with them to Europe on seven wonderful excursions. Mrs. Gorzynski has been privileged to combine her passion for music and adolescents into a long and healthy career. She believes choral music is a conduit for helping others. Her choirs often perform in the community and have developed relationships with local senior citizens facilities, businesses, The Rotary Club, Women’s Club, The Visiting Nurse Association, Safe and Sound Somerset, and the broader Somerville and Branchburg communities. Of all the relationships that have been established, Mrs. Gorzynski is most proud of her Chamber Choir’s collaboration with the chorus at the Midland School, a school for special needs children. She says, “Groups of good people can do good things” and finds choral ensembles are a natural fit for service and charitable acts. Together, she and her students have participated in walk-a-thons and Relay for Life. They have cleaned up trash in the neighborhood surrounding the high school and left goodie bags on neighbors’ doors. Funds collected at concerts are often donated to charities. Food pantry items are collected as admission to SHS winter concerts and given to local food banks. The Somerville High School Choirs have traveled to many festivals, creating wonderful musical moments and memories. Destinations have included Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, Nashville, Norfolk, Atlanta, Boston, Williamsburg and Virginia Beach. Mrs. G. treasures these travel experiences and believes a complete education must include activities outside of the classroom walls. Mrs. Gorzynski’s choirs have received many invitations and participated in several collaborations. They have performed for the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders and The New Jersey Department of Education. They have sung with the Raritan Valley Symphonic Band, The Peter Mayer Group and Five O’Clock Shadow. A career highlight was the collaboration with several area choirs and the New Jersey Youth Symphony to perform “Carmina Burana” at NJPAC under the direction of Dr. Helen Cha-Pyo.


The Governor’s Awards in Arts Education began in 1980 to promote awareness and appreciation of the arts, recognizing the creativity, talent and leadership of the award winners. Each year, awards are presented to approximately 20 educators and 80 students. National and statewide organizations select the students for their exemplary work in creative writing, speech, dance, music, theatre and visual arts and the leaders for their exceptional commitment and contribution to arts education. The program also recognizes arts educators and arts education advocates, whose leadership has helped nurture the development of students in the arts across the state.

432 High Street Burlington, NJ 08016


The Governor’s Awards event is a partnership of the Arts Ed NJ, the Department of Education, Art Pride New Jersey Foundation, the Department of State and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Additional support is provided by: the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics; Art Educators of New Jersey; Art Administrators of New Jersey; Dance New Jersey; New Jersey Council of Teachers of English; New Jersey Speech and Debate League; New Jersey Music Educators Association; New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Writer's Theatre of New Jersey; Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey; New Jersey Thespians and Young Audiences of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. The cooperating organizations, award sponsors and individual members of the planning council dedicate their time to make sure that excellence in the arts is rewarded, and work tirelessly throughout the year to plan this special event. The Governor's Awards in Arts Education ceremony are a major collaborative effort of the arts, education and state government.