Dathia Frances Lanier Means

Title: Music Educator
Company: Birmingham City Schools
Location: Birmingham, Alabama, United States

Dathia Means, Music Educator at Birmingham City Schools, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in music performance and instruction.

After initially obtaining a bachelor’s degree from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University in 1968, Ms. Means later continued her education with coursework toward a Master of Education at University of Alabama at Birmingham and Master of Education from Cambridge College in Boston in 2001. She has excelled as a music educator, violinist, pianist and orchestra director with the Birmingham City Schools and George W. Carver High School, where she served as fine arts department head, for over four decades. In addition, she provided superior service as director of music at the historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. She had played violin with the Brighton High School Orchestra and was scheduled to perform at the Sixteenth Street Church on September 15, 1963, the day a bomb took the lives of four young congregants. 

Ms. Means’ many honors over the years include Most Outstanding Teacher of Birmingham and Black Achievers Award in 2008, the Art and Letters Award from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. in 2007, a Woman of Distinction Award in 2003 and a fellowship from National Endowment for the Humanities in African American Culture Summer Institute Graduate Program in 1991. She was 22 when she became involved in music education, but she had always known that she would pursue a career in music since she was a much younger girl. Ms. Means had begun playing the violin and the piano during her early childhood and by the time she turned 13, she was already playing in the orchestra. As a career highlight, she cites her founding of the first Black symphony orchestra in the Birmingham City Schools at George W. Carver High School. Under her direction, the orchestra consistently won superior ratings at the local and all state levels, producing students who won first place in local and state contests. In the coming years, she is determined to promote the music of Black composers by continuing to perform their works in concerts.

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