Sun sets on Moffat County band director’s career in public education |

Sun sets on Moffat County band director’s career in public education

Sasha Nelson
Moffat County High School and Craig Middle School Band Director John Bolton kicks back with students during Friday's basketball game. Shouldering the workload of directing the band during performances outside of schools hours, managing the music, creating the curriculum and countless other tasks left Bolton with little time for his family. In May he'll start a new career path in information technology and move the family to Salt Lake City, Utah.
Andy Bockelman

Moffat County High School and Craig Middle School’s band director resigned and is set to leave teaching and Craig after 21 years in public education.

The decision to retire from teaching band in public schools was not an easy choice for John Bolton who started dreaming of a career in music at age 12.

“It has been an extremely difficult decision,” Bolton said. “It has been my rising and setting sun. It’s been everything.”

Bolton and his wife Teri have seven children. Two adult children live in the Salt Lake City area where the rest of the family will move in May.

“I have two kids out of the house and a third is leaving,” Bolton said. “I am feeling some regret that my kids got the leftovers. I’m tired, and I need to do something more family-centric.”.

Bolton spends as much as 360 to 380 hours outside of school to make the program work. Now he says it’s time to rebalance his life.

“I won’t give up my musicality. I have two fifth-graders starting instruments. They will get their father’s expertise,” Bolton said.

But band will not continue to bring home the bacon as he is completing his Cisco certification in internet security.

“I want to turn music back into the love of my life and let IT pay the bills. I want to work with my kids, join a community band, play duets with my wife,” he said.

After officially resigning, Bolton posted the news to his Facebook page generating roughly 40 comments expressing sadness, love and respect.

“Your teaching was one of the best parts of that school and one of the many reasons music still guides me,” wrote Skyler Leonard on Facebook.

As a result of teaching both middle and high school bands, Bolton is one of a few instructors to have had seven-year relationships with his students.

“Your mentorship didn’t just inspire me to become a music educator. I’m a better person because of you,” wrote Chane Smith on Facebook.

John Bolton announced his decision early to provide time for students to recover from the shock before big spring performances and to allow the schools time to find a replacement.

“The program is good. It’s not in dysfunction. We get someone here with energy and focus they could do wonderful things, change it up and make it better. It’s ready,” he said.

The director candidly admitted that he didn’t involve parents as much as he should have, but he wants the community to know he and his family were always grateful.

“We have been blessed and lucky to work here. This has been a great chapter in our lives,” Bolton said. “It’s a good community with a lot of good happening.”

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.