Unit 40 School Board Hires Band Director

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Published on June 10 2013 10:40 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The next Effingham High School band director will be Peter Manzi.  The new director was hired during a special meeting of the Unit 40 school board Monday.

Manzi has been serving as Director of Bands for the Central A&M school district headquartered in Moweaqua.  He arrived at Central A&M after earning his degree in Music Education from Millikin University.

Manzi has been credited with bringing back a Central A&M program on the brink to a quality, well-populated organization.  The district had just 14 members in the high school program when Manzi arrived and just 45 members in grades 5-12.  As of the 2011-2012 school year, the program had grown to 120 students including 37 at the high school level and has added a jazz band.

Unit 40 Curriculum Director Michelle Beck said they had a good pool of candidates, but said Manzi stood out as someone who has a deep love for music as well as the ability to convey that love to his students.  Beck understands that the district has been on a good footing with the departing Brad Wallace, and feels Manzi will allow for a smooth transition and a continuing growth in the instrumental music program.

Manzi will have to hit the ground running; marching band practice begins later this month.  Beck said a Meet and Greet will be scheduled to allow band students and their parents the opportunity to meet with Manzi.  Beck said one plus is that students already the opportunity to work with Manzi as a guest conductor while the District was evaluating candidates and said it was a positive experience.

Wallace is departing Unit 40 to serve in the instrumental program at the University of Illinois including work with the Marching Illini.

The Board Monday also hired Stacey Macklin as a social worker and Candi Mette as a summer worker.  A Family and Medical Leave Act leave was granted Kristen Runde, resignations were approved from Early Learning Center cafeteria monitors Angela Geltz and Retha Coleman, and Derek Hudson was terminated as a cafeteria monitor at Central School.

Board members also contracted with KTD Computers of Effingham for a technology upgrade at Central School.  Unit 40 Superintendent Mark Doan said the $78,930 project is part of the regular rotation of computer hardware in the district.  176 units will be upgraded as part of the project.