Singing on


Maria Perez

Rebecca Whittaker (12) practice their verses in front of Nathan Schaefferkoetter, choir, during 4th hour Treble Chamber Choir, Sept. 26. Treble Chamber Choir is just one of several choir groups affected by the departure of Charlie Kinnison and the arrival of Nathan Schaefferkoetter.

“It was definitely the hardest choice I had to make in both my musical career and my professional teaching career,” Charlie Kinnison, choir, said.

Kinnison officially left his teaching position at EHS, Sept. 15. He taught Treble Chorale, Show Choir, Treble Chamber Choir, Mixed Chamber Choir, Concert Chorale and directed the music for etc… musicals.

“I was upset because I thought that he was a great teacher. But at the same time he needed to do what was best for his family,” Shae Katz, choir, said. “He made the choice for his family, but also he was leaving his choir family, too.”

Kinnison’s students found out about his departure in an email sent by Charles Crouther, head principal, and later received a clarification email from Kinnison himself, Sept. 8. The next day, Kinnison explained his reason for departure during his classes.

“It boiled down to the fact that I recently just had a baby, Nora Rose Beck, with my wife back in February,” Kinnison said. “As she’s grown, life has just changed in so many ways for us. We both just love her to death and things changed at home to where I have to be with Nora more often and help raise her and leave teaching for the time being.”

He solidified this decision about two weeks before his official departure. The departure, however will not be easy for him. His love for teaching will continue to be with him as he leaves this job.

“I definitely want to go back to teaching because it’s my absolute passion and I just love it so much,” Kinnison said. “I will take away my love for students, and love for music. My favorite thing was watching students finally understand a musical example or watching the lightbulb go off in their head. It made me smile, and it brought me so much joy and so much happiness.”

The circumstances of Kinnison’s departure were unclear at first.

“We had substitutes for three days in a row,” Winsborough said. “We didn’t know what was going on.”

Such an absence already caught students off guard. The news following the absence was shocking.

“A lot of us were really upset, especially me because he left without telling us,” Troy Winsborough, choir, said. “We have an assembly and the end of this month, and we needed his help practicing and now he’s gone so we have to do it on our own.”

When Crouther first heard about the news, he worked with the human resources office as they processed the information so that Kinnison’s departure would be as smooth as possible. After this process, Crouther and Kinnison sent out their respective emails.

In the midst of dealing with Kinnison himself leaving, Crouther also had to find a candidate to replace him.

There were five candidates in total who sought this position. Two candidates were already permanent RSD teachers at other schools who were unable to transfer from their current positions. Two other candidates did not have the proper credentials needed to fill Kinnison’s spot as shown in their applications. The last candidate was Nathan Schaefferkoetter.

A seasoned teacher, Schaefferkoetter has 18 years of teaching experience and has spent the last 11 years teaching at Waynesville High School.

He moved into the Rockwood School District when his wife Leigh Schaefferkoetter obtained a vocal music teaching job at Geggie Elementary School. He had spent time substituting as a vocal music teacher in the district when the position opened up here.

The fact that such an experienced teacher came into the district just in time to fill this position seems like fate.

The experience Schaefferkoetter had was so impressive that Crouther recommended to Central Office that Schaefferkoetter get the job. Schaefferkoetter officially began teaching here on Sept. 18.

Despite his short time here, he has already hit the ground running and has begun to work closely with his new students.

“So far, every student has been amazing and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know them,” Schaefferkoetter said. “I can’t wait to see what we do for the rest of the year.”

Currently, Schaefferkoetter and the EHS choir groups are preparing for the Music In Our Schools concert, Oct. 3. Each performer knows what is expected of them in preparation for the concert.

“We have our own responsibilities to take care of, and he just helps us along the way,” Isabel Cooper, choir, said. “We have more control over ourselves now. In OnStage, we can make our own dances.”

With Schaefferkoetter’s assistance and guidance, Crouther expects a bright future for the choir department.

“From what I have seen in my observations in the classroom and and talking to various parents, administrators, teachers and students, we’ve got a pretty good fit,” Crouther said.

While choir students work with Schaefferkoetter to put together memorable work for future shows, Kinnison wants his former students to remember one thing.

“Keep singing. No matter what. It doesn’t have to be good and it doesn’t have to be right,” Kinnison said. “Keep on singing and enjoy the music that you make with every single person you come in contact with.”