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Band director earns teachers honor

Monday, May 16, 2011

(Photo)
Monett High School band director Danika White was honored as Teacher of the Month for April. White is pictured with Becky Stephens, training specialist with EFCO, a Pella Company, which sponsors the monthly teachers recognition in cooperation with The Monett Times. White and Stephens are surrounded by MHS band students. [Times Photo by Lisa Schlichtman)
Music is a passion for Monett High School band director and teacher Danika White. Because she couldn't imagine a day without music in her life, White changed her college major from nursing to music education and has never looked back.

"It was a passion for me that I just had to share," said White.

This month, White's accomplishments as a music teacher have earned the honor of being named Teacher of the Month for April. The monthly recognition program is sponsored by EFCO, a Pella Company, and The Monett Times.

White's teaching career began 18 years ago when she served as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville where she earned a master of music of in flute performance after completing her bachelor of music in education degree at Central Methodist University. She also taught in the Verona, Lathrop and Maryville school districts before joining the faculty at Monett High School five years ago.

Currently, White serves as director of the high school band program where she teaches jazz band, AP music theory and music appreciation. She also team teaches concert and marching band at the high school and middle school levels with assistant band director Jared Brown.

One of the greatest joys of teaching for White is seeing her students grow. Because she has the opportunity to be with her students from sixth through the 12th grade, that growth is all the more noticeable.

"When a student is with you for that long, you become very invested in them and their growth, both as musicians and as people," said White.

White's love of music seems to have rubbed off on her students who work hard throughout the year preparing for marching band performances and competitions that are held in the fall and preparing for district and state competition in the spring.

This spring, Monett High School qualified a record number of students for state, and of that group, 19 students earned top I ratings.

Because of her busy schedule before-school and after-school practices, White says she greatly appreciates the support she receives from her husband, Phil.

"Phil and I have been together for nine years now, and he has supported what I do, and my program, every step of the way," said White.

When White is not at school, she loves to read and spend time in her ever expanding flower garden.

"It's a blast to come home and see what has started blooming that day," said White.

In addition to receiving a special plaque for her Teacher of the Month honor, White received a check for $250 from EFCO. She intends to use the money to pay for a leadership session with Scott Lang.

"We focus on teaching our students leadership skills," said White. "We've been working with Scott on and off for several years and we're due for another one-on-one session. Now I know how I'm going to pay for it."

The award gave White some extra inspiration to finish the year out strong.

"At this time of year both the kids and teachers are tired," said White. "To be reminded that what I do does matter and does mean a lot to someone is what keeps teachers going."

White was nominated for the award by the parent of one of her students who described White's ability to encourage students to achieve high goals.

"Her dedication leads her students to excel on their instrument as well as contributing to music scholarship opportunities for college," the parent wrote. "Our band looks and sounds terrific and represents our community well as a result of her hard work, dedication and leadership."

Public or private school teachers in Monett, Purdy, Verona, Pierce City or Freistatt are eligible for the Teacher of the Month award. For more information about the program or the nomination process, email editor@monett-times.com.


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Danika is an extraordinary person and we are proud to call her our friend.

The Bob Cole family

-- Posted by CherylCole on Tue, May 17, 2011, at 8:05 AM


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