Special Section – Influential Women Leading the Way in Charlotte 10

Demeka Kimpson

CMS Teacher of the Year, 2021

By Vanessa Clarke

Photo courtesy of Demeka Kimpson

Students who participate in music programs in school are more connected to each other, have fewer fights and are less likely to bully or be bullied, according to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Great teachers like Demeka S. Kimpson, Sedgefield Middle School band director, know this, and that’s why she puts everything she has into making her students’ musical experience at the school memorable and exciting.

Kimpson, who has been teaching for 19 years – 16 of them at Sedgefield – is the 2021 CMS Teacher of the Year. Kimpson is so passionate about her job as band director at the school because she knows that music can be a pathway for success for students in other areas also, such as math, science, reading and critical thinking. In addition to her work at Sedgefield, Kimpson, who has been playing the piano since she was 3, also teaches students from ages 3 to 83 to play woodwind instruments and piano at her own studio. She wants to “give them an experience and place where they can just be themselves and feel accepted for who they are,” no matter the level of their musical abilities, she said.

A native of Orangeburg, S.C., Kimpson earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Claflin University and her master’s degree in music from Winthrop University.

During the few years that her students are with her at Sedgefield, Kimpson gets to know her students and their families very well, she said. “We become our own weird little family,” she added. “The students are in a safe place where they can be exactly who they want to be so – there’s growth.” 

Kimpson, who until last year, was one of only two Black female band directors in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, says that regardless of race, “I see the kids for who they want to be and not what the world tells them to be, or who their parents tell them they should be.”

To view all of the Influential Women Leading the Way in Charlotte, click HERE