This blog post is dedicated to retiring band teacher Toni Slepak. This June, Toni will retire after 36 years of teaching!
Toni began her “teaching” career in junior high school. While in school, Toni got paid by her teacher to help other students. Toni continued her one-on-one instruction into high school where she had her own private lesson studio as well as during her college years at Western Michigan University.
After college, in 1979, Toni moved to Texas with her husband and taught three bands at a middle school. While there, Toni also taught marching band. Toni proudly notes that she has had several students pursue music (one student just finished teaching in Prague and is now teaching in Singapore!).
In 1989, Toni moved back to Illinois and taught math, general music and choir at Twin Groves Middle School in Buffalo Grove. One year later, in 1990, Toni interviewed at Caruso and was hired as the band director. Toni’s first year at Caruso was split between Wilmot and South Park as the band director.
As Toni thinks about her future she says that, “I am looking forward to not setting my alarm with any number that has a 5 in it.” She is also looking forward to not having a calendar or schedule. Toni is currently planning a trip in October with possible stops to the Pacific Northwest in California and then continuing her travels to Ireland, African and South America.
Toni has enjoyed the Friday Spirit days and the camaraderie with staff members. Toni wants students and staff to remember to”not sweat the small stuff” and to “not try to perfect all the time, to just try”.
Toni also notes that students should always remember that they have so much to contribute to the world and to life. Toni states that it is so fun to see students who are involved in music beyond their time in school and has enjoyed connecting with former students.
It has been a pleasure to get to know you this year Toni, we will miss you tremendously! If you had Toni as a teacher, and would like to wish her well, feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, check out the pictures of Toni’s past, by watching this short 30 second Animoto video below.