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Salute to Teachers: Music Educator Aniela Hoffman Strikes Right Chord with Students

Santa Barbara Bowl Performing Arts Teacher of the Year hopes to inspire a long-lasting passion for performance

Aniela Hoffman Click to view larger
Aniela Hoffman, a music teacher at Arellanes Junior High School in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District, says “watching students transform into musicians is the highlight of my work.” (Santa Barbara County Education Office photo)

[Noozhawk’s note: Part of a series on the teachers who will be honored Nov. 3 at A Salute to Teachers, presented by Cox Communications and the Santa Barbara County Education Office. Click here for a complete series index.]

Aniela Hoffman, a music teacher at Arellanes Junior High School in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District, has been named the 2019 Santa Barbara Bowl Performing Arts Teacher of the Year.

She has been teaching music for more than 18 years. At Arellanes Junior High, she started the Jazz Band and Honor Jazz Band. The student musicians play at high school football games and at concerts.

| Salute to Teachers | Complete Series Index |

The teacher “is dedicated to enriching our students’ lives with music, not just here and now, but for their futures,” Principal Genevieve Beaird wrote in her letter nominating Hoffman. “She never stops supporting her students’ growth and passion for music.”

Hoffman, a saxophone player, also performs in a saxophone quartet and with the San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra. Recently, she started “Chords of Compassion,” a concert performance to collect food donations.

Eight educators will be recognized Nov. 3 at A Salute to Teachers, an event hosted by Cox Communications and the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

Mandi de Witte of Carpinteria High School in the Carpinteria Unified School District has been named the 2019 Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year.

Distinguished new educators to be honored are Jacob West of Leonora Fillmore Elementary School in the Lompoc Unified School District, Katie Furden of Franklin Elementary School in the Santa Barbara Unified School District and Andy Osiadacz of Dos Pueblos High School in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

Distinguished mentors include Toni Roberts of Santa Ynez School in the College School District, Robin Ilac of Kermit McKenzie Intermediate School in the Guadalupe Union School District and Stephanie Gogonis of the Santa Ynez Valley Special Education Consortium.

In addition to Cox, the event is sponsored by Noozhawk, Anthem Blue Cross, Fielding Graduate University, Montecito Bank & Trust, the Santa Barbara Bowl and the SBCC Foundation.

Noozhawk Q&A

Noozhawk: Why did you decide to become a teacher?

Aniela Hoffman: I was inspired by Jack Stamp during my high school experiences at county and honor bands. He was often the conductor and spoke of music with such energy and exuberance that I knew I wanted to spend my life performing music and passing that experience on to the next generations.

Noozhawk: How long have you been teaching?

AH: This is my 19th year teaching. I began my journey in the classroom in Las Vegas, where I taught orchestra for 13 years. I then moved to beautiful California, where I teach band.

Noozhawk: What is your favorite subject/lesson plan to teach your students?

AH: I love all of my classes, each being special for their own reasons. Elementary beginning band is magical because students start to learn to play an instrument and become a part of a band for the first time, while junior high school concert and jazz bands begin to create artistry through their music and interpretations.

Noozhawk: What is your favorite part of being a teacher?

AH: Watching students transform into musicians is the highlight of my work. I am able to see them grow individually and as a band.

Noozhawk: What are the challenges of your job?

AH: Logistical issues and matters beyond our control are the most challenging aspects. For example, not having classrooms in which to teach and shared spaces with other programs can create an environment where students are distracted, not able to hear instructions and miss out on all of the ways that technology could be incorporated into the classroom experience.

Noozhawk: What are you most looking forward to this school year?

AH: I am looking forward to every student achievement, sharing our music at concerts and watching the joy that students have when they love what they are doing. I will never forget how my drummer in jazz band a few years ago shouted enthusiastically at the end of the music, that he was having so much fun, he forgot that he was in school.

Noozhawk: Who are your mentors?

AH: I had two incredible mentors when I was a new teacher. Terry Shade and Chuck Cushinery would regularly visit my classroom to observe, co-teach and provide feedback. I learned many invaluable lessons from them that still affect my teaching on a daily basis, from pedagogy to connecting students to the music and school.

Noozhawk: Who are the people in your life and work environment who support you every day?

AH: I am grateful for my family, specifically my husband, Aaron, and my colleagues and administrators. I feel inspired by my fellow teachers and band directors and enjoy collaboration as well as learning about how the arts are a part of the other curricular subjects and how we are all interconnected.

Noozhawk: How does it feel to be honored as part of the Salute to Teachers?

AH: It is a humbling experience to be honored for a job that I love and believe in so deeply. I am also grateful that my profession is honored and that we, as a society, value the arts. I know everything that I do is part of a team effort in the school and district, and we find success because we support each other.

Noozhawk: Is there anything else you want to share?

AH: Thank you to the Santa Barbara Bowl and the Santa Barbara County Education Office for this tremendous honor and opportunity.

Noozhawk special projects editor Melinda Johnson can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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