Aynor Middle School Teacher of the Year April Troglauer wants upcoming middle schoolers to know that they do not have to play an instrument to join a music class.
“I have seen them start with zero background and just be able to really excel,” said Troglauer, director of AMS orchestra and general music teacher, who teaches grades six through eight.
She was due for her usual formal evaluation for recertification when she was called by administration to complete it. She was unaware she was about to be told she had been voted the school’s 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year.
“I had my recertification, heard some commotion and just kind of ignored it, and it was on a Friday. When I came out of the meeting there were all my friends, and the administration staff,” Troglauer said. “It was really a special moment. They invited my family to be there, too, which was just so special. It really warmed my heart.”
She said even though the school year has been different, things are moving in the right direction.
“We’ve had some really big successes in Fine Arts,” Troglauer said, noting that the school recently received the Distinguished Arts Program grant from the S.C. Department of Education. “It’s exciting to see all that hard work come to fruition, and we’re able to get wonderful supplies and instruments that we would never have been able to get before.”
Troglauer has been at AMS for three years, having previously taught for nine years at Loris Middle School.
She graduated from Newberry College in 2007 with a degree in instrumental music education, and received her master’s degree in music performance from Wichita State University in Kansas.
“I am blessed to be here. I absolutely love teaching, and the Aynor community is so supportive,” she said.
She enjoys the fact that every day is different.
“Every day is a unique adventure. You never know what’s going to happen. I really love that connection we get to build with our students through music. Seeing students who struggle in academics be able to open up and blossom and find success in the arts…I see it every single day,” Troglauer said.
She said she and her husband Frank do not have children, but that “all the kids at school are ‘my kids’.”
AMS Principal Daniel Plaza said Troglauer teaches using a variety of innovative ways through her encouragement and feedback.
“Rather than just simply learning about instruments and notes from text, Ms. Troglauer is able to get students to perform and actively playing instruments…[she] is gifted at being able to break down the techniques to playing, along with the notes,” Plaza said. “Ms. Troglauer knows how to convey her passion for music, but more importantly, she demonstrates her care for children in building relationships through the arts.”
Troglauer said getting to know the children and helping them realize their potential is her favorite thing about teaching.
“We’re really starting with beginners, [with concepts like] here’s how you hold your case, this is what a violin is, as sixth graders, and really going from the ground up,” she said. “Just try. You might find a talent there you never knew.”