0 Jordan Markwood standing with President Lewis after receiving alumni award.

Jordan Markwood ’05 Receives Houghton University’s 2022 Distinguished Achievement Award

October 13, 2022

The 2022 Distinguished Achievement Award is presented to Houghton graduate who has attained a high level of accomplishment and excellence in his or her career and possesses the highest standards of faith an integrity. This year’s recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award is 2005 graduate, Jordan Markwood.

Jordan completed his Bachelor of Music in Music Education in 2005 and went on to complete his Master of Music in Vocal Pedagogy and Performance at Westminster Choir College of Rider University. Jordan was an active and enthusiastic performer during his time at Houghton, singing with college choir and in opera workshop – the forerunner of today’s Lyric Theatre. Jordan participated in Highlander Wilderness Adventure as a student, and was an active member of the Music Ed Club.

2005 classmate and current Houghton University Professor of Voice, Dr. Kimberly Prins Moeller, remembers Jordan as smart, detail-oriented and competitive, yet never taking himself too seriously.

“Jordan’s comfort in front of a classroom or ensemble, his unflappable presence, wit, and optimism made him shine as an educator from the very beginning.” – Dr. Prins Moeller


Those skills as an educator have led Jordan on a remarkable journey as a music educator. He began his career teaching music at Stone Hill Middle School, but nine years ago, Mr. Markwood took the opportunity to build the choral program at Rock Ridge High School in Loudon County, Virginia. Today he serves as Choral Program Director and Chair of the Fine Arts Department for Rock Ridge High School. Under Mr. Markwood’s extraordinary leadership, the fledgling program has grown tremendously. Rock Ridge is consistently labeled a Blue Ribbon School for its superior performing groups in band, orchestra and choir. Directed by Mr. Markwood, the Rock Ridge Chamber Choir has performed on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center for Music in Our Schools Month, and at the VMEA Annual Conference. In 2019, the Rock Ridge Performing Arts production of “Bright Star: School Edition” was selected to perform in the Lied Theater at the International Thespian Festival.

In April 2022, Mr. Markwood was named the Washington Post’s Teacher of the Year. In the April, 18 2022, article announcing the award, it’s evident to see the fingerprints of Christ in Mr. Markwood’s teaching career: he’s viewed as compassionate, welcoming, inspiring and supportive. He makes space for everyone in his classrooms and draws out the best in them. And while advocating for and supporting his students is a practical way of living out his faith, Mr. Markwood doesn’t limit his service to the classroom.

In August of 2022, Mr. Markwood was named Virginia Region 4 Teacher of the Year. This year, Rock Ridge Performing Arts was awarded the rights to produce the musical Frozen, the only school in Virginia and one of only 51 schools in the United States to receive the rights awarded by MTI, the Educational Theatre Association and Disney Theatrical Group.

Mr. Markwood is an active church musician, currently serving as Director of Music at Galilee United Methodist Church in Sterling, Virginia, where he plays an active role in leading choir and organizing worship for his congregation. He previously was the director of Voices for Youth, a youth mission choir. Mr. Markwood is also actively involved in missions work outside of music. He has been involved with Renewed Hope Missions for a number of years, spending his summers serving youth in the Dominican Republic.

Dr. Prins Moeller sums up Mr. Markwood’s achievements in this way: “He is dedicated and innovative, personable and compassionate, and absolutely excellent in his craft. I am awed by Jordan’s accomplishments and perhaps more still by the intentional ways he invests in his church communities and cares for others both at home and abroad.” It is for these reasons it is a privilege to award to Mr. Jordan Markwood this year’s Distinguished Achievement Award.