Band teacher led Taft All-Star Band to Washington D.C.
Amanda Posey is one of those teachers who goes above and beyond. Just this school year, she went all the way to Washington DC, with a passel of high school and junior high musicians, after raising $50,000 for the educational and cultural experience.
The director of Taft’s award-winning bands has been named Taft Union High School teacher of the year.
She will represent Taft High in the Kern County Teacher of the Year competition sponsored by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office. The county winner, announced in Bakersfield on May 1, will compete in the state finals. The state winner will go on to nationals. The national winner will spend a year traveling the United States as an inspirational speaker.
“We were impressed. To take a whole bunch of kids to Washington DC and bring them all back alive, you deserve a medal. That’s a big trip, 3,000 miles, with both bands,” praised Bill Wolfe, vice president of the Taft Union High School Teachers Association. Wolfe, TUHS CTA president Claude Bradford and Superintendent/Principal Mark Richardson selected Posey from among teachers nominated by the teaching staff. Wolfe added, “Amanda received the most persuasive nominations. She was the clear choice. She works very hard. The bands are great and the students love her.”
Kris Swope, a senior who is in Mrs. Posey’s band and jazz band classes, praised her. “Mrs. Posey is a very dedicated teacher and truly enjoys music. She always says that music is all about wanting to get better at it, and she is always willing to push someone in the right direction so that they want to be the best they can be.”
Taft’s bands have blossomed under Posey’s direction. She took top musicians from Taft High and Lincoln Junior High to Washington DC last fall. They played in front of the World War II monument, performed the “Star Spangled Banner” in front of the Lincoln Memorial and visited the White House.
The marching band took first place at the Ridgeview band competition in the fall. The concert band earned a rare unanimous superior at a festival in Bakersfield in 2010. “All three judges agreed we were superior and that is a big deal,” Posey said. And, the jazz band was invited and performed at Rabobank Arena for a pre-concert event in the fall.
Posey also spends one period a day team teaching with Marlene Mudge at Lincoln to foster continuity in education between the neighboring schools. “Mrs. Mudge has been a great role model and mentor for me,” Posey praised. “Af it weren't for the help of Mrs. Mudge and Mr. (Mike) McCormick the trip to Washington DC would not have been possible.”
While this is only Posey’s fifth year as a full-time teacher at Taft, she has been teaching the drum line at the high school for the past 10 years. Her husband of 20 years, Vic, is Taft High’s drum instructor. The Taft High graduate, works full-time job teaching the engine overhaul class at Bakersfield College. The Taft couple have two boys: Dennis, 11, and Ricky, 9.
She was born in Hammond, Indiana, outside of Gary. At South High in Bakersfield, she was band drum captain. She earned her BA in liberal studies and her teaching credential at CSUB.
She taught fourth grade and kindergarten in Maricopa for two years and fourth grade at Roosevelt Elementary School for three years. She has taught piano and guitar to disabled students through the Kern Regional Center. This is her 10th year as a teacher. She also has performed as a percussionist with the Bakersfield Symphony for 10 years. She is the adviser to the Taft High Campus Life club.
She enjoys camping, softball, going to the beach, riding dirt bikes and the AWANA (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed) Christian youth ministry. She also loves working at Taft High. “Taft is like the Disneyland of high schools. It’s beautiful, cleaned and painted. You can get what you need, when you need it, from someone who is smiling. It’s like going to Disneyland every day.
“This is the first award I have had as a teacher. I was surprised when Dr. Richardson walked in (to her Jazz Band class last Tuesday (Feb. 21) with flowers. I didn’t know what it was about.
“The students that I get to work with everyday make this not a job but an adventure. Every day is new. You can’t frown when you are teaching music.”