As Written by her nominator: Ms. Trissa Howard is the Music Director, teacher, and plays side by side with her students in the pep band in West Jefferson School District. She is a graduate of Madison High School and BYU-Idaho. She grew up in a musical family where she developed the passion for music that is reflected in her students. She currently lives in Rexburg and commutes 35 miles each way for work. She has served on the volunteer fire department and volunteered doing service work in Ecuador. She is an ambitious person who enjoys biking, hiking, and rock climbing.
Miss Trissa Howard's ambition, drive, vision, and passion are reflected in her students and the many things they accomplish together. As the District Music Director, she teaches sixth- grade beginning band, Jr. High band and Advanced High School Band. She also teaches choir and guitar and directs the pep band where she plays side-by-side with her students at games and school events. She recently served as the Music Director for all thirty-nine cast members in the high school production of Beauty and the Beast. Last year she conducted the live orchestra for Pirates of Penanze.
This is Howard's second year in our district and we are already seeing amazing advancements in the music program under her direction!
This fall, Howard introduced West Jefferson's first ever marching band. The marching band is comprised of mostly Jr. High students, with some high school students for support. Our marching band includes two cheerleaders and the school mascot; because what could be more "cool" than a Panther on bass guitar?! She found used, reasonably priced uniforms and was able to obtain the funds to finance them so they could take the field in style.
Howard was able to procure funding to replace the band drum set that had been used in our school for more than 30 years. The used set is serving as an at-home-practice set for one of our percussionists.
She has introduced a drum line that puts on an impressive show on plastic buckets, with the help of a little white paint and black lights! Howard works tirelessly, pushing for the necessary financial support to upgrade the buckets to actual drums! (Rumor is this dream will become a reality in the very near future!)
Also new, this year, is our very own high school show choir! Classes start at the trimester change and uniforms are on their way! They will hit the ground running with their first performance only weeks away.
Howard is very patient and accommodating to help each student be successful. I've been in her classroom as she holds the chords while a special needs student strums the guitar. Together they made beautiful music. At dress rehearsal for the play I was concerned about a inexperienced actor who struggled to make the words he sang match the tune. Two days later, I watched in awe as he discretely patted the rests on his leg; so simple yet so genius! While commanding a room full of teenagers, she has the special ability to individualize the lesson to each unique student.
Much of Howard's summer was spent cleaning, organizing, painting, and updating the band room to create an inviting learning atmosphere. She is often seen with a paint brush in hand; giving a face-lift to tired music stands, painting drum line sticks, putting finishing touches on drama scenery, or just making the most of what she has to work with.
Howard is learning and growing right along with her students. She is constantly finding ways to improve and fine-tune what she has implemented. When our football team made it to the quarter-finals in the state, temperatures were cold enough that her pep band instrument actually would not play. That was a first for her! She also got her first deer this year. Unfortunately, she is a multi-tasker so it was with her car on her way to school one morning.
Howard's charisma and charm has built a great rapport with the students. They know that they can have fun and enjoy the learning process, but there is a time to be serious and put the work in. Students recognize the sense of accomplishment that comes with a job well done.
One of the most rewarding aspects of her job at West Jefferson School District, is the freedom to shape the music program. Her vision and enthusiasm are a great asset to our students and community!
What others have said:
"Ms. Howard is a great addition to West Jefferson. She takes the time to help make anyone's day a little brighter, or load a little easier. I am thoroughly impressed with her dedication to her program, her students, and the school. I feel extremely lucky to know her and work beside her!"- Ms. Kassandra Robertson, Teacher
"She has added structure, creativity, and passion to a program that has been struggling. It is so nice to see her young energy add to our school. It has been a pleasure watching her work with students" -Ms. Kristie Scott, Teacher
"Ms. Howard has a high level of expectation for herself that carries over into the students expectations of themselves. There is pride by the students and community in the new programs she has brought in. She has worked tirelessly to write grants, get donations, and make what she has work. I look forward to seeing the program continue to build and begin to perpetuate great musicians." - Wes Woodward, Principal
"The thing that impresses me the most about Ms. Howard is the respect the kids have for her; you can tell they love her!"- Trina Olsen, Community Member
"Ms. Howard is Awesome!"- Jr. High student
"I have so much to be thankful to Ms. Howard for. Her diligence has kept me up in tough situations. She has taken her personal time to give me, and many others, individual lessons. But, something that really sets her apart from everyone else is the fact that she is just a good person. She teaches in and out of the classroom. Whenever I have been stressed, Ms. Howard will give me a pep talk much like a coach, but with the advice of a friend and the sincerity of a parent."- Shawn Hillman, High school senior
One final note to any local schools who may be looking for a band teacher: There is absolutely NOTHING noteworthy about Trissa Howard, and she is NOT the teacher you are looking for!
West Jefferson School District #253
1256 E. 1500 N., Terreton, ID 83450
PH: (208) 663-4542