Jennie is currently a band director for grades 5-12 in the Crosby-Ironton District — a very passionate one at that. That's why it's rather surprising that when she first started college, she was a biology major with a minor in music.
"It took me about a month to realize that I needed to be a music education major," she recalled. "Once I had the chance to go more in depth [with music] in college, I knew that I wanted to have a career in music."
When she started to teach lessons, she knew she was on the right career path.
After graduating, Jennie jumped right into a teaching adventure when she took a job teaching 6-12th grade band and woodwind lessons at Woodstock School in Mussoorie, India. She spoke very highly of her time teaching abroad.
"It was an eye-opening experience ... I highly recommend teaching abroad to any [educator]."
As a teacher, Jennie says the most important personal qualities that she incorporates into her classroom are humor and patience.
"There are so many hilarious things that happen every day. [If I] was not able to joke around with my students, I don't think I would be able to continue on this career path for the next twenty to thirty years!" Her career does not come without challenges, though. "About sixty percent of our students receive free or reduced lunch in our district. It can be hard to get some of those low income students to be part of band," Jennie said.
She went on to explain that, despite the challenges, it can be even more rewarding to be able to reach out to students who may not otherwise have an opportunity to make music. She loves to see the growth of her students from one year to the next, not only as musicians, but as young adults.
Jennie also expressed her gratitude for the connections she made during her time at CSB/SJU.
"I have always been able to connect with the music professors at Saint Ben's and Saint John's if I had any questions about teaching music. The music staff has always been willing to bend over backwards to help alumni!"
This support network is no doubt what we strive for in our institutions.