Strike up the band – Windy Fullagar, ASC Cato Lifetime Achievement in Teaching

Categories: ASC, ASC Honors, Blog

Why this matters: ASC recognizes that creative individuals and teachers enrich the cultural lives of everyone in our region and beyond through their work.

Windy Fullagar, band director at Alexander Graham Middle School in Charlotte, is honored with the 2016 ASC Honors – Cato Lifetime Achievement in Teaching Award.
Windy Fullagar, band director at Alexander Graham Middle School in Charlotte, is honored with the 2016 ASC Honors – Cato Lifetime Achievement in Teaching Award. Photo by Nancy Pierce.

By Michael Solender

Alexander Graham Middle School Band Director Windy Fullagar got hooked on making music in the eighth grade.

She made a decision then that her career would always revolve around the band room. After 21 years teaching and serving the community, she’s still in the band room having the time of her life.

“I like the synergy of making music with others,” said Fullagar, a multiple Teacher of the Year award winner throughout her career in Charlotte, including last year’s honoree at Alexander Graham. “The best way to share this joy is through teaching. I consider myself lucky to be a teacher because I really love what I do.”

Through Fullagar’s instruction and guidance, first time band members overcome initial struggles with instrumentation and learn the joy of becoming part of something larger.

“I love seeing that little light in their eye when they figure it out,” said Fullagar, speaking of her younger students. “They’re able to push forward and create not just notes on the page but the emotion attached to the music as well. That is simply a joy to be a part of.”

Fullagar takes pride in continually striving to become a better educator. She seeks professional development opportunities to strengthen her own skill set and generously shares her knowledge with others.

She recently took on a leadership role with the North Carolina Music Educators Association. As chair of the Tri-M music honor society for the southern division of the National Association for Music Education, her work has direct impact on students across the southeast region.

Fullagar has assisted with the development of curricula and assessments for the district and serves as a lead teacher, coach, advisor and mentor for colleagues. “It’s incredibly important for me to share with my peers,” said Fullagar. “Sharing resources is just what teachers do.”

Recognizing exposure as a key component in developing interest in music for children, Fullagar routinely recruits new band members through creative introductory sessions held at area elementary schools.

“We take musical honor society students to talk with fifth graders,” said Fullagar. “We tell them what’s great about instrumental music and why they should consider joining. We also host instrument selection nights, where the children can actually come and see, play and hear the instruments.”

Fullagar’s infectious enthusiasm for her role doesn’t go unnoticed. One of her colleagues remarked, “There is no better way to earn a kid’s respect than by believing in them. It’s not shocking that a kid accidentally calls Windy ‘Mom’ at least once or twice a year.”

For Windy Fullagar, the love attached with that moniker suits her just fine.