Year of Graduation – 2002
Current Position – Foothill High School in Palo Cedro, CA Band and Orchestra
Time in current position – 14 Years
What was your background before ABC?
After graduating from Biola University in La Mirada, CA, I began teaching at Rancho-Starbuck Intermediate School in Whittier, CA in 1997
Name some other accomplishments or awards since graduation.
CA Teacher of the Year, 2016 PBS Outstanding Teacher, 2014 13 Years in a row – Superior Ratings at CMEA Regional Festival Command Performance 2014, 2015 – Cruz Jazz Festival None of that matters next to the accomplishment I’m most proud of at Foothill: The direction our music program is heading, based upon where it was when I arrived. In our rural town of Palo Cedro, where the population of the school is twice the size of town (and the only stop light in town exists because it represents the entrance to the high school!), as kids get bused in from 45-60 miles away…music is alive and well! In 2002, two small concert bands (22 and 8) with a jazz band that had the poorest instrumentation conceivable to two large, thriving concert bands (of 75 and 65), two full jazz bands with ideal instrumentation, and a 22-piece string orchestra (5 violas this year!!). Alumni that are graduating every year with Bachelor’s (5 this year) and Master’s Degrees (2 this year) in Music Education and Performance…the web is growing, and Foothill alumni are out there paying the gift of music forward!
How did ABC help prepare you for these?
While my undergrad experience at Biola was outstanding, my ABC Master’s Degree tightly focused in on the actual role of being a band director. The hoops to jump through made more sense, because they were directly tied into my job. For example, my studying, focus and successes in “boo-boo-band” test and my exit exam are put into practice every single time I lift a baton. The practical knowledge and subsequent confidence to do my job well that I gained from ABC is immeasurable. Thank you, ABC!
What was your most memorable ABC experience?
My friendship with Mike Britcher and Matthew Arau. Our many sessions, where we were the only ones in the dorms going over nomenclature flash cards, listening to music and talking shop. Valuable, valuable time for my growth as a band director. We were all there to work, and were all there for the same reason: to become better band directors. Who are your biggest influences/mentors? Bob Feller at Biola University – I try to model his instruction every day. Dr. Peter Boonshaft – At ABC, honor bands, workshops and private clinics with my band, I have learned so much more about how to listen on a completely different plane.
Who are your biggest influences/mentors?
Bob Feller at Biola University – I try to model his instruction every day. Dr. Peter Boonshaft – At ABC, honor bands, workshops and private clinics with my band, I have learned so much more about how to listen on a completely different plane.
What advice do you have for young directors?
1. Teach kids to respect the podium. If you don’t have classroom discipline, you don’t have anything. Respecting the music begins with respecting the podium, and being ready to receive instruction about the artform.
2. Know your music. Respecting the podium will end when all the students see is the top of your head – as you are looking down. You are showing the kids that YOU don’t respect the podium (or them) enough to bring your “A” game.
3. Find a way to still have a life outside of being a band director. Yes, keep your students busy … but, no pursuit of a competition or performance is so important that it requires you to pull yourself away from family or necessary outlets.
Where do you see yourself in 10-20 years?
Right here in River City! I love my job. I love the community and the unique struggles that come with a rural high school. No internet? No transportation? Can’t afford an instrument? Never heard jazz before? Oh, you’ve never played an instrument before? Hmmm…Sounds great…let’s do this!