Supporters of the naming of Bloomingdale Senior High School’s Sutherland Hall for the Performing Arts after the Hillsborough County School Board voted on November 14.

On November 14, the Hillsborough County School Board unanimously approved the naming of Bloomingdale Senior High School’s auditorium to the ‘Sutherland Hall for Performing Arts’ in memory of Beverly ‘Bev’ Sutherland.

Sutherland was a teacher of music education in Hillsborough County for almost 40 years. She made Bloomingdale her home, serving at Bloomingdale for 20 of those years in various roles in the music department, including choir director, assistant band director, orchestra teacher and Crimson Guard flag corps assistant.

Principal Dr. Marcos Rodriguez requested the naming of the auditorium. He shared that the four best words to describe Sutherland are: motivation, dedication, love and inspiration.

“She truly was an inspiration, so much so that we had over 1,600 signatures on our petition within the first 48 hours,” Rodriguez said. “As the choir director, Bev’s programs at Bloomingdale were massive and second to none. She taught with ‘tough love,’ and her personality and dedication to music education was infectious to anyone that she encountered.”

Jon Sever, supervisor of secondary music for Hillsborough County and former Bloomingdale High School director of bands, thanked the board for their support.

“Bev was a fantastic musician. She was a clarinet major, but she ended up being one of the most amazing choral people I have ever met. And she cared about the entire student and their well-being, well beyond the walls of our music department,” Sever said.

Andrea Lange, Bloomingdale High Schools’ fine arts department head, and school board member Patti Rendon also spoke at the meeting about the impact Sutherland had.

Sue Burkett, Hillsborough County chief of schools, first met Sutherland when she was the assistant principal of curriculum at Bloomingdale High School. Burkett took a position at another school and then returned to Bloomingdale as principal while Sutherland was there.

“Every student, every parent, every colleague became better just by our interactions with Bev Sutherland. She taught me how to be a better principal, and I am confident everyone who knew Bev became better somehow, someway by their mere relationship with her. To say she left her mark on our community, our children and our school is an understatement. There is no better way, no better space to honor the service, dedication and impact of Bev than to memorialize her at the Bloomingdale High School Sutherland Hall for the Performing Arts,” Burkett said.

Upgrades are underway at Bloomingdale’s auditorium. Once they are completed (projected summer of 2024), a formal dedication and ribbon-cutting for Sutherland Hall for the Performing Arts will take place in the fall.

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