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Calendar >  MISSION VISTA HIGH’S ANNE FENNELL IS TOPS IN THE NATION

MISSION VISTA HIGH’S ANNE FENNELL IS TOPS IN THE NATION

By   /  May 8, 2017  /  1 Comment

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Ray Huard …. She’s the best in the country, so said Magnet Schools of America in giving its top award to Mission Vista High School music teacher Anne Fennell.

Anne Fennell.

Fennell, who heads the Visual and Performing Arts Department at the Vista Unified School District high school, has been named National Magnet School Teacher of the year by the organization, the national association for magnet and theme-based schools.

There are about 4,000 magnet and theme-based schools in the country, according to Magnet Schools website.

“As a classroom teacher, Anne Fennell focuses on educating the whole student,” Magnet Schools said in naming Fennell its teacher of the year. “Mrs. Fennell is practiced in educating students as well as leading other professionals in arts integration across curricula.”

This is but the latest in a series of awards for Fennell, who won state and regional awards for innovation in music education earlier this year and who was one of 10 finalists in 2016 for the GRAMMY Music Education Award.

“It’s been crazy,” said Fennell, who was a founding faculty member at Mission Vista High School.

A classroom teacher for 30 years, Fennell said, “I just love my students and I love music,” adding that, “It’s nice to know those things I envision in my life are coming true for my students, and to get recognition for that is icing on the cake.”

Fennell, a classical flutist, said her philosophy is that, “Every human being is a musician. It’s my job is to pull that out of them.”

“My goal is for every musician to be a lifelong music maker,” Fennell said.

That philosophy is reflected in the way she teaches.

“I don’t tell them what to do,” Fennell said. “I’m not the conductor in charge. I am the facilitator. They get to make decisions.”

At Mission Vista, Fennell teaches three levels of music composition through technology and three levels of steel drum ensemble.

Her introduction of the steel drum ensemble is one of the innovations that has drawn praise from colleagues.

“I picked that because I wanted a world music instrument,” Fennell said. “I wanted students to be able to walk up to an instrument and be able to play something immediately.”

A steel drum enables them to do that, she said.

“Then the challenge becomes, I teach them how to arrange it,” Fennell said.

Her advice to other music teachers is “be relevant.”

“Meet the students where they are, continue to connect with them to discover who they are as human beings.” Fennell said. “It takes time and it takes effort and it takes the love of students and the love of music. It’s a discovery process, like mining for gold.”

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  • Published: 7 years ago on May 8, 2017
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  • Last Modified: May 9, 2017 @ 11:48 am
  • Filed Under: Local
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1 Comment

  1. Anne Fennell is a caring and innovative teacher and those Steel Drum concerts are GREAT FUN!
    The students are creating and love to share their talents.
    Thank you Anne for putting VISTA UNIFIED on the map!

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