CHS music instructor honored
By Lindsay Reed
Cassville High School vocal music instructor Mary Richmiller was both honored and humbled when she was named as one of the Cassville Community Teachers Association's 2012-13 teachers of the year on May 20. Richmiller received the award at the middle and high school level.
"It was awesome," said Richmiller, "but it was humbling because there are many, many teachers who are amazing at Cassville. I felt like so many other teachers deserved that honor."
In addition to celebrating her special award, at the conclusion of the school year Richmiller celebrated 20 years of service in the R-4 District. She came to Cassville in the fall of 1993 after teaching private piano lessons and preschool and elementary school music in Washington for several years.
"My parents and Jim's parent's lived in Quincy, Ill., and Columbia," said Richmiller. "They were adamant that it was time for us to bring their grandbabies home."
Richmiller's late husband, Jim, was a salesman and able to relocate his career, and she received the opportunity to begin serving as a middle and high school music teacher at Cassville.
"When I interviewed, I really liked the area," said Richmiller. "I interviewed with Ron Richardson, who is a great advocate for Cassville."
Although Richmiller's position at first included middle school vocal music instruction it gradually transitioned to the high school music director position that she holds today. In 1999, she had the opportunity to start a program that she now considers one of her greatest achievements, show choir.
"The number one thing I want my students to learn is that everyone can sing and enjoy singing," said Richmiller. "It is a great stress reliever and a great way to express yourself. Dancing is too. You can express who you are."
Richmiller said she has been blessed to have the opportunity to work with many talented kids during her career.
"Submitting kids to all-state, all-division and nationals is amazing," said Richmiller. "I have been blessed to see a number of students' individual achievements and be able to prepare them for auditions and performances.
"It is very rewarding and wonderful working with them," said Richmiller. "We have a great time together."
In addition to supporting her students' talent and efforts, Richmiller enjoys helping them learn and build teamwork skills through her performance program.
"They learn to work together to resolve problems as a group," said Richmiller. "When they sing with each other together for more than a year, you begin to see their self-confidence carry through and over into a lot of areas of their lives.
"These kids are so inquisitive," continued Richmiller. "They want to do things and get a lot of experience. I have had 20 years of working with wonderful kids."
Richmiller also asks her students to focus on the fundamentals of singing, including learning to read music and how to make a beautiful tone.
"Everyone is so supportive of the school," said Richmiller. "It is a great place for students. The administration is great, and my colleagues are funny and dedicated. They all really care.
"I love this community," Richmiller continued. "I'm so appreciative of the support and appreciate the attendance at things we sing at. We would be happy to come and sing at more community events when invited."
Richmiller was the third generation of her family to graduate from Culver Stockton College in Canton. Her son, John, also graduated from the northeast Missouri college.
In addition to her bachelor's degree, Richmiller has a master's degree from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau and has completed additional course work through the University of Arkansas and Missouri State University-Columbia.
Richmiller has two daughters, Jamie and Marti, and two sons, John and Phillip, who are all graduates of Cassville High School.