Jill Westermeyer

Band director leaves mark after 13 years at M.A.

Jill Westermeyer, who has been a member of the Minnehaha faculty for 13 years, will be leaving to help her mother with health issues. Her mother splits her time between Tacoma, Wash., and Kona, Hawaii, as 10 years ago her mother and father bought a coffee farm in Kona as a passion project.

Jill Westermeyer photographed at a concert by Reid Westrem.
Jill Westermeyer photographed at a concert by Reid Westrem.

“Mrs. Westermeyer has a great sense of high standards when it comes to her students,” said teacher and theater director Nicholas Freeman, “Holding her students to those standards and not making them unreachable, she pushes everyone including her colleagues to excellence by asking tough questions in a nice, respectful way.”

Westermeyer said that leaving won’t be easy.

“I will miss that faculty here, it’s a wonderful group of people, [who are] much more supportive than any place I’ve ever been,” said Westermeyer. “The students I’ll miss because of the creativity that everybody has here, the desire to learn. Being smart is cool here, and I love that.”

Westermeyer said her fondest memories were of the pops concerts, where members of the band and orchestra play pieces of music from a variety of time periods, ethnic backgrounds and genres, “I find out that students have talents that I never knew that they had […] so that’s kind of been fun to see a different side of the students.”

“I’ve gone on three tours with [Westermeyer], Europe, New York and D.C.,” said Freeman “she’s got a great sense of artistic vision as well as knowledge of her art form […] she’s just a great person to hang out with and have fun with. She’s an open book […] there’s no masking who she is, she’s just a great person, and I’ll miss going on those tours with her.”

Westermeyer’s main focus for the time being is to help out her mother, but she’s recently started doing volunteer work for Lutheran Social Services, helping people from Bhutan learn English and help them to pass the United States citizenship exam.

Jill Westermeyer may be leaving for unfortunate reasons, but she has left a permanent mark on both the Minnehaha Academy students and faculty, and will be dearly missed by many.

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