Best retires to study music

KINGMAN ­ Nancy Best pulled out a guitar from its case Monday as she stood at the head of her fifth grade class at Manzanita Elementary School.

She had placed copies of a song titled "From a Distance" on the desks of her pupils while they were out of the room. When the children returned and took their seats, she went over the lyrics with them and then began strumming the guitar and singing.

Best is about to retire after 30 years of teaching in the Kingman Unified and Kingman Elementary school districts.

She plans to move to Tucson, perhaps a year from now, to study music at the University of Arizona. She currently plays the guitar, mandolin and violin.

"I hear violins and want to study music," Best said.

"One day I hope to play in an orchestra or at least have music as the center of my life. I've tried to incorporate music in my classroom and give the kids the chance to hear different types of music."

Best was born in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Her father was an Air Force colonel and she lived in Morocco between the ages of 6 and 10 while he was stationed in North Africa, giving her early exposure to African music.

In 1974, she obtained her bachelor's degree in elementary education from Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D. and gained a position as an eighth grade social studies teacher at Kingman Junior High School.

She would stay at KJHS for two years, doubling in one of them as school librarian before transferring to La Senita Elementary. To read story, see a copy of Tuesday's Kingman Daily Miner.