Music teacher Dean Boward’s announcement about his plan to retire at the end of the 2010–2011 school year might have struck a melancholy note for many, but his 20 years of service in the Andrews Academy and Ruth Murdoch Elementary communities will remain a memorable part of many students’ educational experience.
Some remember him for his patience, some for his knack of picking good music that made practicing and performing fun, but most remember him for his friendship and good nature.
Relationship, combined with plenty of hard work, was the cornerstone of Boward’s teaching philosophy. “I enjoyed watching students grow in their musical ability,” he said, adding that he especially enjoyed getting to know new “generations of students, as children of former students came into my classroom.”
During his time at AA, Boward directed orchestra, band, handbells, men’s and women’s chorus, chorale and Silhouettes, the Andrews Academy performing choir. His groups occasionally traveled far afield, visiting such destinations as St. Louis, Philadelphia and the Chicago area. One of his fondest career recollections was playing on the steps of the Capitol building with Broadview Academy during Band Tour ’88.
Boward also enjoyed traveling with his groups to area churches, and he covered every one of them over the years. Those visits provided a unique opportunity to witness through music and to expose his students to a variety of performance situations.
Among his accomplishments, Boward received the Zapara Excellence in Teaching Award in 1989. He was also a charter member of the Midwest Handbell Clinic in Toledo, Ohio, a program he was instrumental in growing from three participating schools to 11 schools and more than 150 students.
His greatest accomplishments, however, are in the lives of his students. “Students will come back and say ‘thank you’” Boward said. “That’s the most rewarding part of teaching—more rewarding than a monetary gift.”
Boward’s love for the students is evident in his return to AA as a study hall supervisor. “I knew I would miss the students; study halls are a plus because I get to be with the kids,” he said.
With a little more time to call his own, Boward plans to enjoy some time traveling with his wife, Dorothy. Where first?
“We’re just going to play it by ear,” he said.