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I-S teacher wins state award

Turba named Outstanding Young Choral Director

By Holly NeumannIola-Scandinavia Choral Director Johnathan Turba has received the 2016 Outstanding Young Choral Director Award.

“Receiving this award is an honor and it leaves me deeply humbled,” Turba said. “There are so many teachers across this state (and the nation) who work tirelessly to give every student they work with the chance to grow and become their best selves.”

“The Wisconsin Choral Directors Association award presentation gave me an opportunity to put words to that, to say thank you to all of the music educators across Wisconsin who inspire me daily, including my two former Platteville High School choir directors, Amelia Armstrong and Marcy Russell,” he said. “I love what I get to do at ‘work’ every day, in such an amazing school district. Being supported and recognized like this for doing work that I love is a blessing, and I am thankful for it.”

“When I was a first-year teacher, Johnathan Turba was a junior in my class,” said Armstrong, who nominated him for the award. “What a joy it is for all of us to watch our former students become our colleague and friend. What a privilege it is to watch a beginning teacher grow into a leader in our profession.”

According to Armstrong, Turba is passionate about everything he does.

“He is the 4-12 general-vocal music teacher in his sixth year at Iola-Scandinavia,” she said. “During that time he has grown the choral program at his small district, started a musical, become the webmaster for Wisconsin Choral Directors Association (WCDA), presented at convention and occasionally coached cross country. He is the driving force behind new ideas among his students, colleagues and friends, because he is always on the cusp of what is new in music education.”

Colleagues of Turba agree with Armstrong.

“Jonathan Turba is one of the most contagious people I know,” said Casey Danielson, who teachers general music at Iola-Scandinavia. “His laughter, his smile, his personality and even his germs are contagious, but mostly his love. Not only his love for music, but his love and passion for learning and sharing with his students.”

Dan Wolfgram, former director of choral activities at Waupaca School District, calls Turba the real deal.

“I happen to know Mr. Turba as a colleague and friend,” said Wolfgram. “What comes to mind when I think of John Turba is passionate, gifted, committed to his students and a rock star of a music educator!”

He went on to say that Turba has been given a rare gift of outstanding musicianship talent and compassion for his students.
“John is dedicated to his students. Many beginning teachers feel that the mark of individual success in the profession is to rise to teach in a major metropolitan school district with hundreds of students and multiple choirs,” said Wolfgram. “Such is not the case with Mr. Turba. He counts his successes on how many lives he can influence in rural Iola. I don’t know where his musical and educational journey will lead him in years to come, but I rest assured knowing that he will continue to touch countless numbers of lives along the way. Iola-Scandinavia is truly blessed.”

Armstrong later congratulated Turba on receiving the award.

“I can only watch with wonder as he brings each of his ideas to life, inspiring his students and colleagues every step of the way,” she said.

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