Community High School District 99 has announced the appointment of Mr. Jessen Smith to the faculty of the Downers Grove North High School Fine Arts Department. Mr. Smith will begin in the 2018-19 academic year teaching five courses: Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Lab Band and Digital Music. He will also assume the role of Lead Director with the DGN Trojan Marching Band, effective July 1, 2018.
Currently the Director of Bands at Illinois State University High School (Normal, IL), Mr. Smith is a 2017 graduate (Magna Cum Laude) of the DePaul University School of Music, where he studied Music Education and Trumpet. Mr. Smith is a former Iowa All-State Musician, member of the MACY’S Great American Marching Band (2009-2012), and member of the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps (2010-2012, 2015). Within the marching arts community, Mr. Smith has served as a drill writer for Central DeWitt High School, Davenport Assumption High School, Lisbon High School, North Cedar High School, South O’Brien High School, and Center Point Urbana High School. He has also served as a Visual Instructor for the marching bands of Cedar Rapids Jefferson High School and Clear Creek-Amana High School.
Mr. Smith’s appointment is the culmination of a search that drew an international applicant pool of 125 highly qualified music educators. Finalists for the position were observed teaching District 99 music students and demonstrated personal musical aptitude through a performance on their major instrument. “Mr. Smith impressed our committee through every facet of the search process,” said DGN Fine Arts Chairperson Brayer Teague. “He is an incredible educator and musician. There is no doubt he will be an engaging and motivating presence in our classrooms, as well as an extremely collaborative and innovative member of our North High faculty.”
Having watched Mr. Smith conduct and teach during the search process, DGN Band member and current senior Michael Price shared, “Mr. Smith will be a perfect fit at North. His passion and excitement is very easy to see, and it rubs off on the students. His teaching style really gets the group connected to the music. The way he explains his ideas is very clear and very easy for us to understand. He makes the ensemble excited to perform music and get better.”
Current junior Andrew Jackson offered, “His passion and excitement for the music was infectious. When working with him I couldn’t help but want to make the music better.”
Sophomore Emma Krause added, “Mr. Smith has a lot of positive energy and is very motivational. I know he will push us to be the best musicians we can be.”
“I am beyond excited to join the team at DGN,” remarked Smith. “The students are bright, caring, and ready to work hard; the teachers are passionate, and the administration strongly supports their endeavors within the arts. I am very grateful to be joining this wonderful community.”