Monday, June 22, 2015

A Decade in the Books

Kellie Davis- Music Educator, 2005-2015
June 2015

Just a week ago I finished my 10th year of teaching music and changing lives. It has been a long, hard emotional roller coaster ride but so rewarding and fulfilling to say the least. I LOVE my job and what I do and I true hope I can be an inspiration to my students and fellow teachers. I am beyond blessed to have this opportunity to share my pride and passion with others and help change the world... one student at a time. 

As this year began to wrap up, I began to reminisce my 10 years and how far I have come. The following is a recap of the previous 10 years and will finalize with a prediction of the next 10 years: 

Year 1- 2005-2006

School- Bowlegs Public School- Bowlegs, Oklahoma 

Job Title- Music Educator 

I accepted this job right out of the gate upon graduation thanks to my mentor teacher during my student teaching speaking so highly of me to this small school's superintendent. I was offered multiple other band jobs in and around Oklahoma City but wanted to stay close because I was in love with Chris! While at Bowlegs, I was THE music person. I literally taught the entire school district, from grades K-12. This was a very small 1A class school in Eastern Oklahoma about 1 hour outside of Norman, OK where I lived at the time. I taught K-4 elementary music, 5-7 middle school band and 8-12 high school band, including marching band. I only had 19 people in my marching band which didn't meet the 24 minimum requirement for competitions but we did perform at halftime during the home football games and  few away games. I completed my student teaching at a very prominent High School in north OKC and Bowlegs was the exact polar opposite of what I expected and this really threw me for a loop. That and the fact that I got engaged in July 2005 and was planning a wedding most of the school year. 

Most Memorable Moment
Chris talking to me on the phone for nearly 30 minutes during my planning time and then saying "I got to go, I am at my next stop". He then knocked on my door and came in and brought me lunch! Seriously, I was in LOVE this year! 

Year 2- 2006-2007
School- Grove Public School- Shawnee, Oklahoma 

Job Title- Director of Bands and Elementary Music 

I changed jobs to Grove in the summer of 2006 so I could be closer to Norman, where Chris and I lived after we married. I remember being on a cruise with Chris and his family and waiting for the phone call from the principal. I waited and worried the entire trip but when I turned my phone back on once we got back I received the message offering me the job. Just like Bowlegs, at Grove I too was THE music person. I taught 1-4 elementary music and 5-8 band. Grove was a K-8 school so I was not in charge of a high school ensemble or marching band but did start at Jazz Band my 1st year here. The 7-8 grade band performed at OSSAA (Region Contest) for the 1st time in years and we received a 2-2-3 on Stage and a 1 in Sight Reading. I was very disappointed in the scores but my superintendent, principal and multiple band directors in the region informed me that the previous years they performed the received 4-4-5 or worse. There were many students from this year whom I will never forget including a student who is currently following in my footsteps and studying music at OU and playing in The Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band. 
Most Memorable Moment
 Creating a Jazz Band out of thriving 7-8 graders. This group thrived beyond measure during my tutelage at Grove and even won multiple awards. Looking back, it was definitely a shining moment. 

Year 3- 2007-2008
School- Grove Public School- Shawnee, Oklahoma 

Job Title- Director of Bands and Elementary Music 
This year was much easier than the first and I knew I would be here for a while and worked VERY hard to grow this band program. In fact from 2005-2007 I DOUBLED the band enrollment and recruitment. This was a turning point in the history of Grove Bands as it was this year that we received 1-1-1 on Stage for the FIRST TIME EVER and a 1 in Sight Reading. We were invited to the Arbuckle Wilderness Music Festival in April and also received 1-1-1 scores on stage.  I also started my Master's at the University of Central Oklahoma in January of 2008. 
Most Memorable Moment
 Seeing the 1-1-1 scores for the first time and jumping up and down with joy privately in the directors room and then telling the kids on the bus and seeing their faces shine with joy! Perhaps my best moment of my entire career. I feel like I actually accomplished something and made a difference in not only individual students lives but a campus and even community.

1st day of school- August 8, 2007! 

Year 4- 2008-2009
School- Grove Public School- Shawnee, Oklahoma 

Job Title- Director of Bands and Elementary Music 
I continued to grow and develop this band program but began to branch out more with additional small ensembles, a private lesson studio as well as become more respected as a band director in the community and region. I became the go-to person for all reed instruments in my district as well as at UCO while working on my Masters. My 7-8 grade band once again received a 1-1-1 score on Stage and a 1 in Sight Reading as well as 1's at the Arbuckle Wilderness Music Festival. We also began a Spring Concert tradition of combining all the bands 5-8 and alumni/ parents for a large finale. This was a huge hit and it was great to see the entire community get involved. 
Most Memorable Moment
 I completed my Masters of Music in July 2009 just weeks before having Natalie Grace.

Year 5- 2009-2010
School- Grove Public School- Shawnee, Oklahoma 

Job Title- Director of Bands and Elementary Music 

I was due with Natalie on August 4th just days before the first day of school but Natalie had other plans. She did not arrive until 3 weeks later on August 25th. I then spent the next 6 weeks at home with her while my poor band program and kids suffered with what could easily be the worst sub situation ever. I had a very hard time finding a Band sub and when I did it went from bad to ugly to terrible QUICK. In fact, in those 6 weeks my kids saw 3 different subs! My performing band scored 1-2-3 on stage and 1 in Sight Reading. However, this was easily my overall best group of musicians and yet we got the worst scores this year. This is also the year that Chris lost his job as a business CEO and started subbing at Grove from time to time. 
Most Memorable Moment
 Teaching my husband of 4 years how to play the trumpet. He was not too band for a 32 year old 5th grader and my favorite student ever!

District Contest warm-up room, February 2010! I LOVED my job... and miss it dearly!

Getting ready to perform in Konawa, OK for the OSSAA Region Contest. We received 1-1-1 on Stage for the 1st time in Grove School history. 

During our performance on Stage. 

Frontier City Music Festival in OKC, OK, April 2010! 

My first (and last) professional portrait taken in April 2010.  I still showcase this with pride! 

Year 6- 2010-2011
School- Grove Public School- Shawnee, Oklahoma 

Job Title- Director of Bands and Elementary Music 

This was EASILY my BEST TEACHING YEAR OF MY CAREER! I had a GREAT fall semester with my bands and continued to see growth in my numbers and enrollment. In fact, in the 4 years since arriving at Grove my overall 5-8 band numbers went from 52 to 108. I was still be recognized and respected around my region, so much that I was selected as a mentor teacher for an Oklahoma Baptist University music ed student. She came on in the spring and did a fantastic job. My bands once again scored 1-1-1 on Stage and a 1 in Sight Reading. I was selected at the Grove Teacher of the Year, the Pottawatomie County Masonic "Teacher of Today" as well as a finalist for the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. I began the Texas certification process in February as Chris was looking for teaching jobs in Houston. I finally had all of the administration on "my side" and working with me and we got the call to move to Houston. I felt as if I finally reached my potential and climbed the ever high mountain but this is what we wanted... to move to Texas. It was my dream my whole career. 
Most Memorable Moment
 There are many to choose from in this year bu the one that I think of the most is the phone call. This was the phone call from Chris on the last day of school saying he was offered a job at Aldine ISD in Houston. This was literally minutes before I was to present awards to my 7th grade class of whom I had seen grow the previous 3 years and perhaps one of my favorite grade level classes of all time. I remember tearing up with emotions as I gave them all their awards. I then had to tell them all plus the remaining teachers I was leaving.

 Being the band director mom and teaching my 16 month old the trumpet and the flute! 

My Teacher of the Year ceremony at Grove! I looked so YOUNG! It is amazing what these 10 years have done to me!

My student teacher, Beth Polston, who would be my successor at Grove almost immediately after I resigned. 

The highlight of my career thus far! I am so blessed to have been able to work at such a wonderful district and school! Thank you Lord for this blessing! 

Easily my favorite overall group of kids I have worked with! We had LOTS of fun!
What is crazy... they all graduated High School this past May! WOW... Now I really feel old! 

Year 7- 2011-2012

School- Booker Elementary, Spring ISD- Houston, TX

Job Title- Elementary Music Teacher and Honor Choir Director 
I moved to Texas on June 4, 2011 with my mother-in-law and searched and searched (and interview and interviewed) for job after job after job with no luck. I was offered several band jobs but they were a 1+ hour commute WITHOUT traffic and they did not seem feasible. At the end of June I decided to broaden my options and apply for elementary only positions. Within 2 days of completing the Spring ISD application, I was interviewing for the music position at Booker Elementary and offered the job within ours of the interview. It was truly a GOD-THING! Here I taught all 1,100 kids music on a 5 day rotation with classes ranging from 40-50 kids in each class. I always thought I wanted to teach in a large district but found out that I was just another music teacher and felt like a number. I had no real support from the Fine Arts administration as well as the other band directors in the district. I tried to help with sectionals and other rehearsals as well as offered private lessons to middle school kids but was brushed off. I co-directed the 5th Grade Honor Choir and it was rewarding. I got pregnant (Surprise.. didn't take as long this time) in October with Luke and carried him until June. 
Most Memorable Moment
 Going into labor on the very last day of school on June 8th but having to stay until 4pm. I went to the hospital that evening and sent home only to come back on June 12th so Luke could make his own entrance into this world. 

Year 8-2012-2013
School- Booker Elementary, Spring ISD- Houston, TX
Job Title- Elementary Music Teacher 
I was on maternity leave until November 12th (11 weeks and 3 days) and enjoyed EVERY minute of it! This school year was the worst of my career as the district and campus were restructuring and pushing the limits for its teachers. I still had 40-50 students in each class and only saw them 1 time per week, if I was lucky and there were not trips, assemblies or holidays! I did not do Honor Choir since I was out so much. I was asked to teach 15-20 minute math lessons at the beginning of my music lessons for every grade EVERY DAY! I was like 40% math and 60% music and that was not what I signed up for! I knew this was not my calling. 
Most Memorable Moment
 Spending 11 weeks at home with Luke!

I was able to snatch the University of Oklahoma as my classroom these for "No Excuses University" which my campus participated in! I loved showering my room in Crimson and Cream amidst all the nasty A&M and burnt orange going on down here!
Luke and I the day before I went back to work in November 2012!

Year 9- 2013-2014
School- CC Hardy Elementary, Willis ISD- Willis, TX 
Job Title- Fine Arts Teacher 
I knew I had to get out of my previous position and REALLY wanted to get back into band and went to several interviews including one with Lynn Lucas Middle School inside Willis ISD only to be turned down. The HS band director of whom I interviewed with spoke highly of me to an elementary principal and I was offered a job across the street from LLMS teaching music AND art, Fine Arts. Despite wanting to get back into band, I felt God really wanted me at Willis ISD and I knew while this particular elementary was not the best in Willis it was better than where I was coming from and I also knew how to handle small schools since I graduated from a 2A HS in East Texas. I also knew this could be a school I could take my kids to once they were elementary age. I taught 50/50 Music and Art and I was thrown way out of my comfort zone. However, with the help of a previous teammate at Spring ISD I was able to become more comfortable with teaching art and by March I felt at home at CC Hardy. My administration was and IS fantastic and I cannot speak highly enough of my teaching partner Tammy Schneider, who teaches PE. We work absolutely perfect together and she make my job enjoyable. 
Most Memorable Moment
 After my 3rd and final program of the year Tammy and my team presented me with a beautiful music blanket and roses. Again, I work with the BEST OF THE BEST!

I love my team! Tammy Schneider you are amazing and I actually feel like a part of a team! Thanks!

Year 10- 2014-2015
School- CC Hardy Elementary, Willis ISD- Willis, TX 
Job Title- Fine Arts Teacher and SPECIALS Team Leader
Same Song.. Second Verse! A little bit LOUDER and NOT a little bit worse. This year just continued to get better and better and I truly found my niche again and really started to grow again after being in a 2-3 year slump. I took on many roles including Team Leader, multiple committee chairs, announcements spokesperson plus district Honor Choir co-director. My administration just got better with an exceptional Assistant Principal and the Counselor is practically my best friend. This is the year I began to think about getting my administration certificate. I already have the Masters and years of experience, just lack the certificate. This was also the year I questioned my lifelong dream of being a MAJOR band director or college band director. 
Most Memorable Moment
 Dropping Natalie off at the 1st day of Kindergarten at CC Hardy and then watching her grow EACH AND EVERY DAY until Kindergarten Graduation day. I love having her at school with me!

Mommy and Natalie are both WILDKATS! CC Hardy... Here we come! 

Christmas Concert celebration and cake thanks to, yet again, my AMAZING teammate, Tammy Schneider! 

100 Days of School with my Natalie Grace! 

177 days later... She is a Kindergarten GRADUATE! Where has the time gone!
I loved being at the same school with her and literally watching her grow each and every day!
I couldn't imagine it any other way!

The Next 10 Years... 
If you would have asked me 2 years ago I would have said my typical "Being a Band Director at a major ISD, finished my PhD and well known around the area". But now... I have no idea. God has closed that door so many times and maybe that is a sign. At this point I am just waiting on God to close more doors and open others. For the first time in 10 years I have no idea what will come next or even what I want to come next. Once again, a hymn comes to mind 

My Life is in Your Hands 

Life can be so good

Life can be so hard

Never knowing what each day

Will bring to where you are

Sometimes I forget
And sometimes I can't see
That whatever comes my way
You'll be with me
My life is in your hands
My heart is in your keeping
I'm never without hope
Not when my future is with you
My life is in your hands
And though I may not see clearly
I will lift my voice and sing
Cause your love does amazing things
Lord, I know, my life is in your hands

And though I may not see clearly... Thank you Lord for having my life in your hands! Thank you Lord for an amazing 10 years and I cannot wait to see where the next 10 years take me! 

God is Good... ALL the time! 

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