Mr. VandeWalle is the music teacher at Kocurek Elementary school in Southwest Austin.
Mr. Van started studying music more than 30 years ago when he was in elementary school. Like you, he learned to play the recorder, read basic music notation and sing basic folk songs through his school’s music education class. In 5th grade he started studying the saxophone.
In Middle School and High School he participated in Marching Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band and various other small ensembles. He graduated from AISD's own Crockett High School (a looong time ago.)
It wasn’t until after High School that he started taking music much more serious and decided to make it his career. In college he began playing live music in Austin, San Antonio and a variety of other places. He performed with several bands like Salsa del Rio and Blu Funk Junction. He also recorded several albums with these bands. Playing with these bands has given him the opportunity to travel to places like Huatulco, Mexico, Oaxaca, Ireland, England and Amsterdam. He currently performs (saxophone) with the Hill Country Community Band and Hill Country Jazz Band, both based in Wimberley, Texas. His work with the band has included sitting as President of the band’s Board of Directors.
He graduated from college in 1999. He has taught at the High School and Middle School levels as a band director and is now teaching elementary music. This school year will be his 19th year in Austin Independent School District. Of those 19 years, one and a half years were spent as the traveling teacher at Barbara Jordan, Winn Elementary and Andrews Elementary. He then spent 6 years at Widen Elementary School. This school year will be his 11th year at Kocurek Elementary.
For the past 7 years he has been an active author in the field of music education curriculum. He was a contributing author for Spotlight on Music: Interactive Listening Maps, a Set of 9 DVDs for Grades K – 8, published by Macmillan/ McGraw-Hill in 2011. He has also been a contributing author for the Music Memory curriculum published by Mighty Music Publishing for the past 7 years. Currently he serves as the Technology Chair and Webmaster for the Texas Music Educators Conference (TMEC).
Mr. VandeWalle has acted as the co-sponsor for campus programs such as the “Super Scholars” and the campus newspaper, The Widen Word. He was selected as the “Teacher of the Year” in 2003 at Widen Elementary and in 2009 at Kocurek Elementary (2009 District Semi-Finalist). He also spent four years serving as a PTA board member as a teacher representative, parliamentarian and historian. Currently Mr. VandeWalle is in charge of the Koala Choir and a variety of after school programs.
He is excited about returning to Kocurek Elementary and is looking forward to the 2017-2018 school year.
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