Nate Sletten leads the band program at Earlham High School, and he has twice been nominated for a Grammy for Music Educator of the Year. This year, he was a semi-finalist, chosen in a group of 25 music educators from across the country. He did not win, but he’s done some amazing work building the band program in Earlham, in part by continuing to play in bands himself and letting students sit in with him.
He says he chooses to stay in a rural district because of the relationships he has the opportunity to build there.
"Making relationships with these students – that’s the most important thing," he says. "It’s really a family atmosphere. I think about some of my seniors this year. I have had them in class for 8 years. We’re getting to know their families and getting to know them as people. It’s a real joy to watch them grow up and watch them grow into human beings."
During this Talk of Iowa segment, Sletten talks with host Charity Nebbe.