NFHS Outstanding Music Educator of the Year, Rex Barker!

Schmitt Music would like to say “congratulations” to Rex Barker, the National Federation of State High School Associations’ “Outstanding Music Educator in Nebraska” for 2014!

“I will be retiring from Millard South after 27 years and 33 years teaching bands in Nebraska,” Barker says. “It has been an honor and a pleasure and I enjoy coming to work every day.” Learn more about the NFHS on their website: www.nfhs.org.


Rex Barker is in his 33rd year of teaching with the last 27 of them at Millard South High School in Omaha. He is currently the Director of Bands and he teaches music theory and AP music theory. He is the Head of the Music Department at Millard South and the Instrumental Music Department Head for the Millard Public Schools.

The Millard South Music Department consists of marching band, concert band, symphonic band, wind ensemble, 2 jazz bands and various small ensembles along with 4 choirs, 2 swing choirs, jazz choir, 2 orchestras and chamber orchestra. These groups are well-traveled and highly decorated. They were awarded a Grammy Signature School designation in 1999. They placed 1st in the 2000 Holiday Bowl Parade in San Diego and have traveled to the Winter Park Music Festival, Musicfest Orlando, and the Red River Exhibition in Winnipeg, Canada. The most recent national award for the Millard South Band was the Sweepstakes Award at the 2012 Alamo Bowl field competition and parade which earned them the opportunity to perform as part of the Bowl’s pre-game ceremonies. They earned a similar honor at the 2004 Alamo Bowl and the 2009 Orange Bowl. The Wind Ensemble and/or the Symphonic Band have participated in the National School Boards Association State Concert Band Festival since its inception in 1994 through 2012, and then again in 2014. The Wind Ensemble has been selected to perform at the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association Conference on March 7 and 2 each of the concert and jazz bands along with a winter guard will perform at the Winter Park Ski-Music Fest in Colorado, March 26-29. Millard South has been participating in this competition every fourth year since 1999.

The Millard Public Schools have been named in the TOP 100 Places for Music Education in 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2009, and 2012. Newsweek magazine has named Millard North, South and West High Schools in its list of America’s top 1500 schools. There are over 22,000 students enrolled in the district with over 3300 of them involved in instrumental music.

Barker earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Kearney State College in 1981 and, in 1992, a Master of Music Education from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He has continued additional studies at VanderCook College of Music, the University of Miami, and Illinois State University. He is a past president of the Nebraska Music Educators Association and has been President, Marching Band Chair, and A&AA Class Representative for the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association. He is a nationally registered music educator and was selected in 2001 by School Band and Orchestra magazine as one of their “50 Directors Who Make a Difference”. Other honors include the Gary Thomas Distinguished Alumni award from the University of Nebraska-Kearney in 2009 and the Excellence in Secondary Teaching Award from the Millard Public Schools in 2013.

Barker and his wife, Mary, have a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Erin, as well as three grandchildren.