Community

Robin Bond, teacher | Best of Whidbey 2008

Kindergarten students at Crescent Harbor Elementary recently spent their music class rehearsing for their graduation.

They learned “Bienvenidos,” “Today is a Special Occasion” and “Wheels on the Bus.” Following the rehearsal, the young musicians examined the cello and learned what it’s like to hold the impressively bulky stringed instrument.

Robin Bond’s teaching skills have made an impression on the community as she was voted “Best Teacher” they year by the readers of the Whidbey News-Times. In second was Earl Blevens while Mike Black and Susan Briddell tied for third.

Bond has been teaching music at Crescent Harbor Elementary School for 16 years and has spent 28 years total in education.

Being a teacher was something Bond was destined to do ever since she was as old as her present students.

“I wanted to be a teacher since the second grade,” Bond said during an interview in her classroom.

She enjoys teaching younger students because it gives her a chance to introduce them to music as an early age.

“My thinking is if you don’t get music early and it’s not as ingrained in you, then it’s not as strong,” Bond said.

She came to Whidbey Island in 1990 from New Jersey. She decided to move here after a number of earlier visits persuaded her there was no better place to call home.

Her classroom is located in a simple portable building on the campus. Its one distinguishing feature is the minimal number of desks. She said the students need space to move around and play instruments. Her love of music is infectious, and she’s guided hundreds of students on the path to a lifetime of musical enjoyment.

Bond recalled an incident during her first year of teaching while living in Brick Township, N.J. Three difficult students were part of a class she escorted to New York City to see a musical production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” She said the trip went so well that one student’s mother bought her a scarf. Bond said she wore the scarf for 28 years until it disappeared recently at Crescent Harbor (if there’s a strange scarf in your house, please bring it back).

She kept track of those three “difficult” students. One became a neurosurgeon, the other performs in a philharmonic orchestra and the third is a jazz musician. She keeps those successes in mind, and never gives up on a student because of that early experience.

As a student, she attended Trenton State College, Westminster Choir College and Lesley College. Prior to becoming a teacher she was a professional musician and had performed with the great Leonard Bernstein. But she said teaching is her first priority.

“People are good at different things and I think this is my calling,” Bond said.

Outside of school, she is an active member at Church on the Rock. She participates in the choir, the youth group and Bible studies. She also teamed up with fellow teachers at Crescent Harbor Elementary and walked in the Relay for Life, which took place in early June.

But her two main loves are teaching and music, and her ability to combine both effectively has benefitted Whidbey Island students for many years. And the community appreciates it.

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