Director of LAHS Bands - Tom Plunkett

This information is from the LAHS Marching Band website.

Tom Plunkett has been the Director of Bands at Los Alamitos High School since 2012.  He began his teaching career in 2002 at Damien HS in La Verne, CA, and has served as an adjudicator for the Southern California School Band & Orchestra Association.  Under his leadership, the symphonic and marching programs have gained local, regional, and national acclaim while emphasizing student growth and leadership.  Mr. Plunkett earned the City of La Verne Teacher of the Year Award in 2008, the Los Alamitos HS Golden Apple Award in 2015, and the Los Alamitos USD Cabinet Award in 2015, and was a member of the World Champion Concord Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps in 1994.  Tom married his high school sweetheart Lucia and they have two children, Oliver and Luna. 

Meet Youth Center Elementary Jazz Director - Tom Mitter

This bio is taken from Spotlight Jazz 2017 program.

Meet McAuliffe MS Instrumental Music Director - Jesse Chang

This bio is taken from the Spotlight Jazz 2017 program:

Jesse Chang grew up in nearby Cerritos, where he nagged his parents for music lessons for years.  He started on classical piano at 10, continued on through high school, and then began playing drums.

Oak Instrumental Music Director - Robert Harrell

 This bio and photo are from the Oak Instrumental Music website: www.oakmusic.org
 
Robert Harrell was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California and was heavily                                        involved in the local music scene.  Besides receiving several acknowledgments                                                  of outstanding musicianship at Santa Barbara High School,  he was the solo  trumpet chair in the Monday Madness Big Band, and he played bass  professionally in local jazz groups and in the pit orchestra for several theater companies. He moved to Southern California for his undergraduate studies at Biola University. During his time at Biola he was a integral part of the music department, playing trumpet in the jazz ensemble, symphonic winds, brass ensemble, and brass quintet. He played both upright and electric bass for the jazz combo and vocal jazz group. He was the president and student conductor of the symphonic winds at Biola University, and he graduated in the Spring of 2015 with a bachelor's degree in Music Education, and then went on to complete his teaching credential that fall.
 
The first stop in his educational career was at Los Alamitos High School, as the director of the jazz and orchestra groups. He will never forget the rewarding time that he shared with the students and the achievements they accomplished that year. Robert has a passion for music and a passion for students, and he knows that music has the power to change lives. One of his biggest goals as an educator is to ignite the love for music inside each of his students, and to help them achieve whatever they set their hearts and minds to. Robert is grateful and honored to be at Oak Middle School. And most of all, he is excited to see the students at Oak bring music to life, because he is a firm believer that “when we create music, we create meaning.”

Los Al's Latest Outstanding Arts Educators

Each year, the Orange County Department of Education honors the outstanding arts educators throughout the county.  LAUSD is home to three of this year’s honorees.  McGaugh Art Teacher Terri Epps was given the additional award as the Teacher of the Year for Special Education.  The OCMAA awards ceremony took place May 4th at Segerstrom Center.  Congratulations all!
 
Terri Epps- Outstanding Arts Educator for Special Education.  
Special EducationTeacher of the Year  Award for 2016
 
Terri Epps is the art teacher at McGaugh Elementary School, where she includes the special education 

PTA Reflections - "Let Your Imagination Fly!"

The Reflections Gallery presented by Los Alamitos PTA Council in March.  The 2015-16 theme is , "Let Your Imagination Fly!"  Over 200 entries from every school, representing every genre of arts:  dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, visual art, photography.  Participation in the program is growing.  Weaver and McGaugh had more than 65 entries. 

As the nation's largest volunteer-run child advocacy organization, PTA supports arts education because it recognizes its immense value to our 

New Line-Up for Jazz Band Directors

Mr. Justin Padilla will be leaving Oak MS in the fall, and assuming baton duties as LAHS Director of Jazz Bands and Orchestra.  In a preview, he accompanied the HS jazz bands to the Reno Jazz Festival this spring.  LAHS Jazz I took 2nd place honors in a highly competitive division.  Mr. Robert Harrell, currently interim Jazz & Orchestra Director at LAHS, will succeed Justin Padilla at Oak.  
 
Mr. Chuck Wackerman, the founder of jazz education in LAUSD, will end his tenure in the district in June.  In his 59 years with the district, he has served as music director at McGaugh, LAHS, and McAuliffe, to much acclaim.  He  is much respected and loved at Los Al.  The already highly decorated Mr. Wackerman was just awarded the 2016 Golden Oak Honorary Service Award by the PTA.

Lee Elementary Welcomes New Music Teacher

This is from Principal Amy Laughlin 's announcement in March 2016:
 
Sarah Sandvig has been teaching voice and piano since 1993. She received her Bachelors degree in Vocal Performance from UCLA, and her Masters degree in Music Education from CSULB.  Sarah has published 12 books which are currently being developed into apps available in the App Store and Google Play Store.  She is the recipient of the Outstanding Thesis Award from CSULB and has been recognized for her work with children with autism.  
 
Sarah was a music teacher in our District for 7 years before taking time off to teach private lessons and, more importantly, be mom to two current Lee Leopards!  Please help me welcome her to our FamLee!,
 

Takeaways from Arts Ed Learning Exchange Conference

The Arts Ed Learning Exchange conference in San Diego in mid-March was an infusion of inspiration. Special thanks to the California Alliance for Arts Education which created this conference as part of the new Arts NOW Campaign. The campaign was designed to shine a light on districts and counties and the strategic investments they are making to improve the quality of education. Highlighted in this conference were emerging arts education models in San Diego Unified School District and Chula Vista School District.

Arts News – Feb 2016

 
February started with the concerts for All District Band and All District Orchestra. Our high school, middle schools, and elementary school groups played to enthusiastic audiences.  You can see video clips of these, as well as some recent elementary grade performances, on the Alliance facebook page link below.  The All District Choral Festival will be March 7  at  6:30pm at Cottonwood.  Ticket info at losal.seatyourself/biz .

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