John Bolton, Moffat County High School band director, was named the 2009-10 Craig Daily Press Teacher of the Year on Tuesday at the high school. Bolton was nominated for the impact he has made on students’ lives, the passion he instills in his students, and the improvements he has made to the MCHS band program during his six-year tenure.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

John Bolton, Moffat County High School band director, was named the 2009-10 Craig Daily Press Teacher of the Year on Tuesday at the high school. Bolton was nominated for the impact he has made on students’ lives, the passion he instills in his students, and the improvements he has made to the MCHS band program during his six-year tenure.

MCHS band teacher named 2009-10 Craig Daily Press Teacher of the Year

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John Bolton, Moffat County High School band director, gets a surprise visit from his wife and daughters Tuesday during his second-hour jazz band class at MCHS. Bolton’s family was at the school to congratulate him for being named the 2009-10 Craig Daily Press Teacher of the Year. The newspaper’s Editorial Board chose Bolton from a field of 23 teachers who were nominated for the award.

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John Bolton, a Moffat County High School band teacher, says a few words to the audience during the band’s spring concert May 4 at the MCHS auditorium. On Tuesday, Bolton received the 2009-10 Craig Daily Press Teacher of the Year award.

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John Bolton introduces the “Epic Star Wars Series” to the audience during the Moffat County High School band’s spring concert May 4. Bolton has taught band to Moffat County students for six years.

When a young John Bolton found himself floundering in the rough waters of adolescence, it was band class that came to his rescue.

“It was a lifeboat for me as a kid,” Bolton said. “And it’s not that my home life was so horrible as I see with the kids today who have to deal with some really difficult situations.

“But, music was the anchor of my day.”

To this day, he remembers his band teacher as the man who took him under his wing and personalized his education.

Repaying that legacy, Bolton now conducts 72 students in the Moffat County High School band, in addition to teaching at Craig Middle School, organizing a marching band for football games and directing the MCHS jazz band.

His dedication to the band program the past six years has not gone unnoticed in the community.

On Tuesday, the Craig Daily Press, school officials and Bolton’s family surprised him during jazz band class with the 2009-10 Craig Daily Press Teacher of the Year award.

Bolton found words difficult to come by when presented with the honor.

He simply turned to his jazz band students, who were applauding, and bowed slightly.

“It’s really nothing I’ve done,” said Bolton, whose band boasts more than twice as many students as six years ago. “I mean, it’s this group. They’re everywhere I am.

“I’m just blessed to be able to touch them in some way.”

One of his students expected him to be humble and try to shine the spotlight somewhere else.

“He’s not one to ask for attention,” said Kyle Boss, an MCHS junior who spends two hours a day with Bolton playing trombone in band and jazz band. “But, I think he deserves it out of everyone else. He’s done the most, shown the most and he’s just been there.”

Boss nominated Bolton for the award.

The Craig Daily Press’ Editorial Board then chose Bolton from a field of 23 nominated teachers.

Boss said he has many teachers he likes and respects at the high school, but Bolton’s dedication and passion was far and away the most deserving of recognition.

“He shows his students so much love,” Boss said. “He tells us everyday, ‘I love you guys,’ and ‘You mean the world to me.’”

Besides his family of 72 high school musicians, Bolton also supports his wife and seven daughters, who range in age from 3-year-old twins to a college freshman.

His wife, Teri Bolton, knows firsthand the kind of sacrifices her husband has made during his six years teaching band in the school district.

Bolton has a second job, and sometimes returns home after midnight only to wake up early the next morning to share his passion for music with his students.

“It’s been a sacrifice,” Teri said. “But, I will never make him do something other than what he loves to do.”

Despite Bolton’s many commitments, Boss said his teacher never comes to class looking tired or worn-down.

“He’s a really hard-working guy,” he said. “I imagine he’s tired, but he just doesn’t show it.”

For all his hard work, Bolton doesn’t expect all of his students to be professional performers or music teachers when they get older.

He only hopes he can have an impact on their lives by humanizing music education and making the band room a safe and positive environment.

“We hope that when our kids have kids, they will introduce them to music when it comes time,” he said.

After Bolton was presented with the award, school district superintendent Joe Petrone said in his short time knowing Bolton, he has always been “sincere” and a “genuinely kind, warm person.”

High school principal Thom Schnellinger added that Bolton’s dedication to the band program has impacted students and the community.

Bolton said his devotion to his students is the most effortless part of his job.

“It’s easy to love all those kids in band,” he said.

Comments

CharminChatty 4 years, 6 months ago

"High school principal Thom Schnellinger added that Bolton’s dedication to the band program has impacted students and the community." This is without a doubt the most meaningless, insincere statement the CDP could have included in an otherwise awesome article about a wonderful and sincere teacher. Really, when the CDP publishes an article about an outstanding member of the faculty, it should leave the pessimistic principal out of it. It's a downer to have to read his phony words of unfelt congratulation.

John, I am so happy that Kyle took the time to nominate you. You are the very best that education has to offer. The school district, the high school, and the town are all so fortunate to call you one of their own. Besides being an amazing father and husband and teacher, you are a role model for your colleagues. On a day when the mood at the school seems dour and pessimistic, due to our sour leader, just a glance at your honest, good-humored, reliable, and friendly face, or brief greetings exchanged with you in the hallway, give many of us the boost that we need to make the most out of the day and to give our best to our students.

Thank you, John, for all that you do for the kids, as well as for the rest of the teachers and support staff. You are the best!!

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bluestflameco 4 years, 6 months ago

It is good for good things to happen to good people. It gives us all a good sense of direction.

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Denise Bagley 4 years, 6 months ago

I'm happy to see a great teacher get recognized. He so deserves this -- John puts his heart and soul into his work, and he is able to instill his passion for music into the students who are lucky enough to have him as their mentor. Congratulations!

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