Joe began his career in a rural northeast Missouri school district called Green City R-1 Schools, with a K-12 population of 300 kids. His job included 5-12 band, an assortment of music classes, and elementary computers. He then moved to Texas while his wife got her graduate degree. He taught for 6 years in Texas including Bridgeport Independent School District and Lake Dallas Independent School District. Joe’s family moved back to Iowa to be close to family in 2007.
This is Joe’s eleventh year in West Des Moines. He has taught 5-12 band at different times during this period. The highlight was having a band perform at the 2011 Essentially Ellington Festival at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. Essentially Ellington only invites the best 15 bands each year and most are from fine arts schools.
Joe was diagnosed in late October, 2016 with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, which is the most common type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. By March of 2017, he had reached remission, but was re-diagnosed this summer. The cancer was no longer evident by late September this year, but it jumped to his nervous system and has since been more difficult to beat back. Once the lymphoma is at undetectable or greatly reduced levels, he will go through a stem-cell transplant at the University of Nebraska Omaha. Joe’s sister is a 100 percent match to be able to donate stem cells for the transplant. Seventy percent of people do not have a full match in their family, so this is very fortunate.
Joe lives in West Des Moines, with his wife, Jenny, and his son, Anderson, who is 7 and attends Jordan Creek Elementary.
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