New SHS teacher makes change

Richardson takes on the music and theater department full force after previous director leaves


Jordin Baker

Richardson helps senior Marsela Riddle. Richardson helps with students during show choir practice.

Every year, students and staff become acquainted with new faces. Choir teacher Jaclyn Richardson is a fresh face to the music and theater department. She stepped in the place of the former choir teacher Katherine Doty.

It was a little chaotic for Richardson at the beginning. She got hired a week before school started, and she didn’t get the keys until the Saturday before. In addition, she wasn’t prepared to use the teaching system that SHS uses. 

“It got a little hectic at the beginning because I didn’t know what was in the music library,” Richardson said. “I didn’t even know how to use Skyward”

 Even though getting used to the system was hard, Richardson says she adjusted and learned more about the teaching system with the support of the students and staff members. Richardson has taught choir for eight years so that part of her job was easy to get used to. Other than the last minute changes, she is very grateful that she gets to teach students.

“Lord, I hope I will be doing this for the next 30 years,” Richardson said.

Jordin Baker
Jaclyn Richardson helps students in choir prepare choreography.

Richardson is running the choir classes differently than Doty. She explained that her students will focus on reading music instead of learning by ear. She is letting the students have a lot more say in what they want the program to look like. She also organized many choral lessons that have been overlooked in past years.

Junior Ruby Menendez was reluctant to learn choir in a different style from a new teacher but she quickly adjusted to the new style. She likes how Richardson gives her students a voice in class, to have a say in what they are learning.

“Mrs. Richardson gives us a voice and makes us a bigger part of the choir,” Menendez said. “We get a fair chance of knowing what we can and can’t do.”

Menendez also stated that Richardson is helping them understand more of the things the students aren’t accustomed to like note names and note reading. She also makes them practice a lot more so that they can actually learn what she is teaching them.

“She helps us understand things that we don’t know like our solfége and note reading,” Menendez said. “But now we understand it better because she gives us practice routines every week.” 

Senior Lydia Springer was shocked when she found out that there was a new choir teacher, but she immediately knew Richardson was going to be fun when she met her. Springer said that Richardson is keeping the class on top of things with new lessons and practices.

“She has us do a new warm up with a lot more vowel sounds,” Springer said. “She is having us stand in a circle so that we can hear each other more, and we are doing more dynamics things.”

There are still things Richardson wants to do or introduce to her choir students. First, she wants to change the concert and competition attire for her students.

“I would really love to change the looks of the choir as far as what they wear, maybe bring them into the 21st century a bit,” Richardson said. 

Richardson will also have the choir students participate in ISSMA Solo & Ensemble contests. Her focus is staying organized during every single lesson so that her students feel comfortable the day of the concert or competition. She does not want it to feel last minute when they are preparing and practicing for upcoming events. 

Richardson is eager to be running the SHS choir department this year and can’t wait to change things up with her own style of teaching. Being the choir teacher, she also gets to be part of the fall musical with the theater and orchestra teachers.

“I am also very excited about the fact that Ms. Roberts and I get to co-direct the musical together,” Richardson said. “It’s going to be a blast.”