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After+being+hired+on+late+in+the+summer%2C+new+assistant+band+director+Jennifer+Whyte+stands+in+front+of+her+desk.

By Chloe Miller

After being hired on late in the summer, new assistant band director Jennifer Whyte stands in front of her desk.

New assistant band director adjusts to Mill Valley after last minute hire

Jennifer Whyte describes the current transition period she's experiencing at the school

Mill Valley News: Why did you choose to work at the school?

Assistant band director Jennifer Whyte: It does bring me about an hour closer to my family, which is nice. Also, I’ve known [band director] Deb Steiner for a while and I respect everything that she’s done and I love the chance to get to work with her and work with a great band program. 

MVN: Why did you get into education?

JW: I come from a family of teachers. My dad taught high school Spanish. He was also a coach. He coached football, baseball, basketball, tennis, a lot of stuff. My brother is also a teacher, so it kind of runs in the family. 

MVN: What is your background?

JW: I grew up in southwest Missouri, in a little town called Webb City, which is a suburb of Joplin. I’ve known I wanted to do music since I was in middle school, and from there I went to Missouri Western and did my undergrad there. 

MVN: What did you major in?

JW: Music education with performance emphasis. I got my first job in Atchison as the assistant band director. I was there for five years, and then I left to do my master’s degree at Pitt State and spent two years as a graduate teaching assistant there. Atchison came and recruited me back to teach in their district as the head band director, and that’s where I was for the last five years, and then I came here, literally one week before school started. 

MVN: What’s your favorite thing about the school?

JW: My favorite thing is probably the people. The people are super nice. Second, the facilities and the ease of access for everything is also amazing. 

MVN: Do you have any goals as a teacher?

JW: [I want to] become a better teacher. You never stop digging for that dream. I just want my talents to support and extend everything that’s already in place here. 

MVN: Is there anything else you would like people to know about you?

JW: You could say my overall goal is I want people to know that I’m a welcoming person. I want everybody to succeed. I want to find the best way to do that. But, they also need to help themselves too. We can’t hold their hands all the time while they do it. It’s a give-and-take scenario. 

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