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Teacher in the Spotlight: Liz Thurgood, Skyway Elementary

Liz Thurgood, Skyway Elementary


By Taylor Shillam

Liz Thurgood has been a teacher for 20 years. Now a music teacher for grades K-5 at Skyway Elementary School in Coeur d'Alene, the way she found herself in the position of teaching music just six years ago still stands out in her memory. 

“I had been teaching first grade. It was the week before teachers were to be back in their classrooms. I was all set up and ready to go,” Liz describes. “Our building music specialist told me of the music opening at Skyway. He knew me, and my passion for music, and he suggested I apply.” 

Liz says she was not interested in the position at the time. “He hounded me for two days, then the admin (one of whom I had worked with) got me on the phone for an interview,” she says. “We talked for a bit, then they told me the kids at Skyway ‘hate music.’" That's when the conversation changed. "Hearing that convinced me" to take the position, she says. "No child should hate music.” 

That sentiment has changed since Liz stepped into her position as music teacher. “I took the job and have not looked back," she smiles. "The kids at Skyway now love music!” 

Liz says the public may be surprised to learn that teaching is “harder than it looks,” but many aspects of the position bring her joy. 

As for what she enjoys most about teaching, she shares, “I love hearing kids tell me that they talk about what they did or heard in music at home." In her classroom, Liz also finds joy in the “aha” moments, the connections made, the joy of rhythms conquered, and the new instruments enjoyed by her students.

The life lessons Liz hopes to impart on her students mirrors her journey to the position she holds now — to her students, Liz emphasizes: “Travel, try new things, and get out of your comfort zone.” 

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