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By Victoria Wright

Choir teacher Stephanie Mooneyhan

New choir teacher moves from Texas to return to Kansas City area

Where did you go to college?

K-State.

What did you major in?

Music education with a vocal emphasis.

Can you tell me about your past teaching experience?

I have been teaching in Deer Park, Texas, around Houston. I was teaching choir there for three years, and I’m from the Kansas City area so I’ve always wanted to come teach here.

How long have you been involved in music?

Forevermy parents were both involved in music and my mom was a music teacher. I, at first, really didn’t want to become a music teacher for that reason, but I just loved it, had fun with it and wanted to do something I enjoy doing. I sang growing up, played piano, was in band and all that.

What instruments can you play?

In college, I had to learn all different instruments. I wouldn’t say I’m good at all of them, but I played french horn, trumpet, a little bit of violin, piano and singing.

What made you really want to become a music teacher?

I would say that when I was in high school, at Shawnee Mission South, I had two really good choir teachers that made it really fun, and it made me kinda be like “Oh, I wanna do that for kids.” Choir was always my fun class of the day, I loved getting away from the stress of math and science; I really didn’t like science. I fell in love with it in high school. I had always enjoyed singing, but in high school I was like, “I could do that.” In college I just continued learning more and more and I always enjoyed learning all the different stuff about music. It just kinda made sense.

Why did you choose high school age to teach?

I’ve had some junior high experience and I loved that age, but I think high schoolers are a little more mature and you can do more difficult music with them. I like the personalities of high schoolers; I relate very well to their age group. I also taught a little bit of elementary and that was really fun because they’re cute. I like that age group too as kids, but I didn’t wanna be around that all the time.

What are you most excited about for your new job?

I would say getting to know the kids and figuring out their skills. I’ve heard the choirs, I came and visited last year, but [I’m excited to] get to know them and be a part of it. I’ve been planning for so long but the best part will be building that relationship.

What challenges are you expecting in the coming year?

I have nerves just because it’s something new and there’s a lot still to learn about how Mill Valley does things. I don’t think I have worries, there will be things that come up that I’m not expecting, but I’ll figure it out.

Is Mill Valley a lot different than your previous schools?

No, there’s just unwritten rules for every school or area, but I had a little orientation for new teachers to De Soto and I learned a lot.

Why did you decide to apply at Mill Valley?

I knew about Mill Valley because I grew up kind of in the area, and I knew [former choir teacher] Stoppel because we sang together in the symphony chorus. When I was at K-State, I was in the choir, and we actually came here on tour many years ago. We toured the Kansas City area and went to different high schools. This was one we came to and I was really impressed then, so I’ve always thought highly of it. I heard Stoppel was retiring and thought maybe this would work out. I heard great things about the kids and the teachers and that it was a really great community.

What is your favorite chorale song?

I think one of them would be Ave Maria by Franz Biebl. That’s so pretty. I also like Loch Lomond by Jonathan Quick.

What do you wants your students coming in to know about you?

I am very energetic and bubbly. I have high expectations but I have a way to get us there. I’ll be very upfront in telling the choir where I want us to be but then I’ll break it down to make it more achievable. I want them to know that I want to get to know them as people, not just as a voice. I take a lot of time to tell the kids about me. I don’t want to be unreachable. A lot of times I’ll tell you guys stories about what happened to me on the weekend, or show funny pictures about something as a nice break. I’m pretty goofy, a super choir nerd and I’m very excited.

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