McConnell's Music
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Mills River, North Carolina


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Letters of Recommendation - Professsional Educators


To Whom it May Concern:


Julie McConnell is a consummate professional and top-notch musician, and I had the pleasure of working with her when I coordinated the Creative Arts Continuing Education program for Haywood Community College. Hiring her was one of the best decisions I ever made for my program and she brought more to the depth and richness of our course offerings than I ever could have imagined. She guided our students through a rigorous and thorough musical education unmatched in other similar programs. On her own she created, developed, and taught several sections of vocal and piano classes per term and brought the same uncompromised quality to each class and each student every time.


Whenever I had the pleasure of speaking about the Creative Arts Continuing Education program at HCC, my favorite and best examples were Julie McConnell’s music classes. Perhaps many people can be excellent musicians. Fewer can teach the material well, and even fewer possess the warmth and magic that create community out of a room of strangers who have registered for an evening music class. I remembered the names of every person in Julie’s classes because students returned over and over again to learn from Julie and experience the warmth, good humor, intelligence, patience and palpable joy that Julie transmits in the classroom. I would read evidence of this at the end of all of Julie’s classes in every single student evaluation form.  


Julie is an amazing colleague and instructor, passionate about music and education and in possession of a critical bit of magic that can turn a class into a community. She elevates the educational experience into something truly singular and incredibly special. 




Clara Schulte

Former Creative Arts Program Coordinator for Haywood Community College

Cloth Fiber Workshop, current



To Whom It May Concern,


As a teacher at Paloma Elementary School, I have had the pleasure of working with Julie McConnell for fifteen years.  She is an amazing music teacher who created a phenomenal standards-based music program at our school.  In 30 minutes a week, during one school year, she was able to teach my 32 third graders how to sing a variety of songs, perform on cue, read music, play basic percussion instruments, learn about various composers from different eras, understand the differences between families of orchestra instruments, experience different genres of music, both in the U.S. and from around the world,  and give a night time performance for an audience, as well as perform at a school flag salute.


Also, Julie and her husband/fellow musician, Bryan McConnell, provided after school classes for students who wanted to join a chorus, play a string instrument with an ensemble, or take private lessons in voice, piano or string instruments, all through their private music studio, McConnell's Music.  Their after school music program has been a sensational hit at our school for 6 years running.


In addition to being an excellent music teacher, Ms. McConnell is a quality human being who brings integrity, professionalism, and a sense of humor to everything she does.  She makes learning fun for the children, as well as for teachers and parents.  Julie was a vital asset to Paloma Elementary for 18 years, and is sorely missed by all, since her move back to North Carolina.


Without hesitation, I strongly recommend Julie McConnell for any music position you may be considering.  Please don't hesitate to contact me, should you have an additional questions.




Paula Madson

National Board Certificated Teacher, Retired

To Whom It May Concern:
Julie McConnell is a phenomenal music teacher.  Weekly, she would instruct our 1,140 K-5 students with enthusiasm, vigor, and focus.  Her professionalism, high standards, and positive attitude make her stand out in her field.
Ms. McConnell created the curriculum for our music program which included singing, movement, instruments, music appreciation, music history, performing, and music theory.  Her lessons are standards-based and focused.  She get the students involved immediately and they stay engaged.
Along with teaching music, Julie supports the classroom instruction with her program.  For example, in order to help both 4th and 5th grade students learn the science curriculum, she would teach them songs aligned to science, such as The Water Cycle, Digestive System, Metals, Chemicals, etc., to name a few; all through music.  Following one of her lessons, I observed individual students softly singing to themselves, "Water Cycle...evaporation, condensation..." as they took their classroom science test.  The song had helped them retrieve the information.
Ms. McConnell maintains high standards for herself and her students.  The consummate professional, she models what she expects.  The children know that her music class is a place for learning.  While the kids are thrilled to be there, they work hard during the lesson.  The evening performances throughout the year are one of the rewards for that hard work.
Working with 45 classes a week required flexibility, and a great sense of humor.  Julie is a team player who is always willing to do what is needed to make the schedule work.  Her ability to laugh at herself and to find humor in every situation makes Julie a ray of sunshine for the rest of us.
Julie McConnell is an exemplary music teacher and musician who helped us win The "Distinguished School Award" several years running.  In 2005 I nominated her for General Music Educator Award for San Diego County.  Julie went on to train other music teachers in our district in her techniques and curriculum.
For all the reasons mentioned above, I highly recommend Ms. Julie McConnell for any music position for which you are considering.  She would make a great asset to your staff or organization.

Elizabeth O'Toole

Principal, Paloma Elementary, Retired



To Whom it May Concern:


Please accept this letter of recommendation on behalf of Julie McConnell.  I have worked with Ms. McConnell for over 17 years in the San Marcos Unified School District in a number of capacities, and I am very familiar with all of her work during this time.


I am currently the Department Chair of the Electives/Arts Department at San Marcos Middle School, and it has been a privilege to work in a school that has such an outstanding band program.  The foundation of our program is the group of students that comes from Paloma Elementary who have been taught by Ms. McConnell from kindergarten through 5th grade.  The musical training, inspiration, and opportunity to learn and perform at a very high level is the reason that the Paloma students flock to our band program as 6th graders.  Not only that, many can read music and play an instrument already, due to the classroom program and the after school McConnell’s Music program offered at the school.  These students provide not only a strong knowledge base to the group at large, but they are strong role models for the students who attend SMMS that have not had this type of music education. 


When I taught at Paloma years before, Ms. McConnell was instrumental in the musicals and plays that my students performed. Another teacher and I wrote the plays, chose the songs, and then Ms. McConnell taught our students the songs and the staging of the performance.  This involved a great deal of collaboration with several teachers and their classes, as well as finding a way to coordinate with our busy schedules. Ms. McConnell was always positive, hard working, and flexible in making these performances happen.  These performances were the highlight of the students' year, and the quality of what they accomplished truly amazed all of the parents each year.  In a period of 10 years, we performed a 5th grade history cantata, a full musical production of James and the Giant Peach, a musical version of Tall Tales, and 5th grade promotion ceremony performances.  We rotated through these performances, and we always added something new and more sophisticated each time.  In short, we could not have done this without Ms. McConnell’s contribution. None of these performances existed at all before Julie came on board. It quickly became a community expectation that these performances would take place each year, and very few people can even remember the days when they were nonexistent.


Ms. McConnell has worked tirelessly for all of the years she has taught, including providing many volunteer hours, and music scholarships to the students through McConnell’s Music.  She strives to collaborate with the classroom teachers and assists in aligning the music curriculum with core curriculum.  She teaches students how to think for themselves, collaborate, and work toward goals as a group.  Everything that we are trying to achieve with the upcoming common core objectives is how she has always taught.  I am confident that she would be equally as effective in any teaching situation with any group of students.


In addition to Ms. McConnell’s outstanding qualities as an educator, I know her to be a person of unquestioned integrity and dedication to whatever organization in which she works.  I give her the highest recommendation.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require further information.




Valerie Reeves

Teacher / Department Chair, Electives/Arts - SMMS



To Whom It May Concern,


This is a letter of highest recommendation for Julie McConnell. I was fortunate to work directly with Ms. McConnell for four years at Carrillo Elementary School.  She is a dedicated and caring music teacher who encourages the best from her students. 


Ms. McConnell has a thorough knowledge of music curriculum. She uses the California State music standards as a framework for her lessons.  Music class was always the highlight of the week for my students. Students learned to sing, read music and play simple instruments. They also learned about music history. Each month Ms. McConnell introduced a new composer. Students were able to identify ten composers and their music by the end of each school year. 


In addition to working with Ms. McConnell as a fellow teacher, I worked with her as a parent.  My daughter, Elizabeth, was a member of her after-school choir club. Ms. McConnell’s choir class helped Elizabeth develop her self-esteem and self-confidence.  Her grades improved as a result. The evening performances were the highlight of the school year for both my daughter and my entire family.


Julie McConnell is a dedicated educator who motivates students to succeed.  Her educational knowledge, caring attitude and outstanding classroom management skills are a rare combination and highly valued.  Julie has an excellent rapport with students, staff and parents.  She is friendly, approachable and kind.  Ms. McConnell will make an excellent addition to any staff.




Patricia Meeker, M. Ed.

National Board Certificated Teacher 

760-290-2600 x 3101


Dear Prospective Employer,


I am writing to offer my strongest recommendation for Julie McConnell as a music educator.  I am writing as a parent of two children who have benefited from Julie’s phenomenal instructional ability at Paloma Elementary School in San Marcos, California, as well as in private music lessons. 


Both of my children have always spoken very highly of the music program in which she teaches at Paloma, and over the years I have often been pleasantly surprised in non-academic contexts by their knowledge of composers and their works – clearly knowledge that they learned from Julie and that they found intriguing.  My daughter was involved with the McConnell All-Star Singers after school for several years – it was one of her absolute favorite activities!  During practices and performances, Julie was professional yet personable, firm with the students yet approachable and supportive, and always had the children deliver beautiful performances. 


Finally, both of my children have taken private piano lessons from Julie for the past four years – in her classroom, at our home and/or at Julie’s home music studio.  They both love these lessons, and they have made tremendous progress in learning how to play the piano.  Both of my children have given public performances, encouraged by Julie.  The lessons in our home have given me a chance to observe Julie’s teaching style, which is patient, firm, supportive and very effective.


In summary, I offer my absolutely highest recommendation for Julie.  She is an incredible teacher, a wonderful person, and would be a phenomenal addition to your teaching staff.  Please do not hesitate to contact me for additional information.




Raymond Clark

Professor of Physiology and Anatomy - Palomar College



To Whom It May Concern:


Please accept this letter of recommendation on behalf of Julie McConnell. I have had the privilege of working with Ms. McConnell during my teaching career at Paloma Elementary School in the San Marcos Unified School District. During this time, I was fortunate to witness her outstanding musical teaching ability in a number of different capacities.


Ms. McConnell was a key element in the musicals the 4th and 5th grade students in my village performed. She was the musical director for a historical cantata called America Sings, James and the Giant Peach, and Tall Tales. These musicals were the highlight of the year for not only the students in the performances, but also the people attending. The quality of what the musicals were was due to the positive, hard working attitude of Ms. McConnell. My teammate, Valerie Reeves, and I were able to create sophisticated 1-hour productions because of the collaborative and dedicated assistance of Ms. McConnell.


Ms. McConnell not only worked with my village, she also enhanced the educational experience of students at every grade level on a weekly basis. Her music program at Paloma was the best I have ever seen at an elementary school level. Weekly lessons included music history (composers), how to read music, proper breathing techniques, how to work as a group, playing musical instruments, singing, and listening to the masters. In addition, Ms. McConnell's instruction allowed students to think for themselves while working collaboratively to reach both group and individual goals. Those goals might be a presentation at Friday Flag Salute or an evening performance for parents.


I also have experienced the outcome of students that have been fortunate enough to have had Ms. McConnell as their music teacher for several years at Paloma. Typically, those students apply for band at San Marcos Middle School. It is without question that the foundation of the beginning band program comes from the musical training at an advanced level from not only the daily music instruction created by Julie, but also by the students that attend the after school music program provided by she and her husband, Bryan McConnell, through their private music studio, McConnell's Music. These students are the role models for all other SMMS band students because of their musical knowledge base.


Both of my grandsons, Christopher and Zachery Alvillar have been fortunate to be a part of her music programs. Christopher was a student at Paloma Elementary from kindergarten through the 5th grade. He experienced her magic, not only on a weekly basis through 5th grade, but he also participated in musicals - James and the Giant Peach and Tall Tales. Zachery, on the other hand, had Ms. McConnell as a piano teacher for two years. The knowledge-base, self-discipline, and love of music she offered him has allowed Zachery to not only be able to play the piano, but he is currently playing the oboe in advanced band and the bass in jazz band, of which he studies private bass lessons with Bryan McConnell, who provides the same high standard of excellence in music education as Julie. Both Christopher and Zachery acknowledge both of their influence in their future as musicians.


Please do no hesitate to contact me if you require further information.




Susan Alvillar

Teacher / Department Chair, English/Mathmatics - SMMS



To Whom It May Concern;


My name is Marla Rosenthal and I am writing on behalf of Ms. Julie McConnell. I had the opportunity to work alongside Ms. McConnell at Paloma Elementary School for nine years. Ms. McConnell provided my students with an incredible experience in singing, instruments, music and music history.


My students learned about the greats in musical history, the variety of types of music both here in the United States and worldwide, and how to read music. Julie was a team player working together with the grade levels to coordinate music selections to match with different academic standards that were being taught. These songs would then be incorporated into a musical program performed by our students for their parents and led by Ms. McConnell. These performances were always well rehearsed, often with Julie coming in when she was not scheduled to be at school to provide an extra rehearsal, and well-received by everyone in attendance.


Ms. McConnell was always thoroughly prepared when my students arrived for class and always acted with the utmost respect when dealing with a child or adult. My students always loved going to her music classes and were disappointed if they missed one.


Julie McConnell would be a great asset to any school music program. She is a willing team player and a self-starter. Her knowledge of music and singing is vast, and will bring a newfound love of music to all who have the privilege of being in her presence.


If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.




Marla Rosenthal

Discovery Elementary School, Teacher


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