The Music Man: Who Is Synder, Anyway?

36 years at Sehome and Still Jammin’


Mariner pride for the whole family, Snyder with his wife and children at a parade that Sehome band participates in every year.

The teacher who has been here through it all, a drum roll please…Craig Snyder. He is the band director of Sehome. He teaches all the bands and many other classes. It is difficult to pin him down, as he is always in different classrooms, directing and inspiring students.

At the end of the school day, Snyder is often found in his office finishing up work. His surroundings decorated with family photos and souvenirs to remember old times, reveal how much he values every moment in his life.
Snyder seems to be one to live in the moment, getting involved with his students as much as he can. His positivity is contagious throughout his classroom. His passion for teaching has endured even though his career has spanned over 36 years at Sehome. This tenure gives Snyder the distinction as the longest teacher currently at Sehome (shared with Lonnie Schang the ceramics teacher at Sehome). Teaching roughly over 17,000 students during his career, Snyder has created an inspiring legacy.

Where it all began, Snyder smiles big for the camera in his early childhood years.

Snyder wasn’t always sure that he wanted to pursue music as his career. His beginnings brought him to three high schools around the US, two in Virginia an one in San Francisco, California. In San Francisco, Snyder was greatly influenced by a band director that inspired him to really dive into music.

During his senior year in high school, Snyder was offered a full ride music scholarship to Marshall University in West Virginia. Initially he thought he might major in music. One semester led to another and he decided to become a music teacher. “It was the perfect fit for me” he said. After college Snyder moved to the west coast and eventually made his way to Sehome. He was hired as the band director in 1983, but he is permitted to teach any class at Sehome.
Upon arrival at Sehome, most teachers were the original teachers at Sehome (the teachers that taught when Sehome first opened). the building was very new as it was founded in 1966. Snyder commented on how humbling it was to be the “shining star” of the district. As years passed Squalicum and Bellingham high school got new buildings, and it is now Sehome’s turn for a remodel. “It’s been a weird metamorphosis and It feels cool to be able to have gone through all the stages” Snyder said.

To Snyder, the students over the years are what makes Sehome truly special. He believes it is the strong point of Sehome. Sehome ranks as a very intelligent sc

Snyder strikes a pose back in high school with his Letterman jacket.

hool and excels in many ways. In fact, one year Sehome had more national merit scholars than any other school in the state. Snyder was teaching when the basketball team made state for about 20-22 years in a row, “it was the best high school basketball team I had ever seen” he said.

Even though many brilliant students and staff come and go every year at Sehome maintains an incredible identity. He described how it’s almost as if one generation passes the torch to another. “No matter what level there’s always a good Sehome entity” said Snyder.
Snyder carries his energy into every class he teaches, making any class enjoyable with his enthusiasm. He always wants to do what is best for the students and it shows, “He likes to go with the flow and listens to students suggestions, we play music that we enjoy and its fun” said Claire Alarid (11).  Snyder’s teaching philosophy is constantly changing with the times. There have been many physiological changes in teaching that Sehome has gone through and he has seen it all.
Snyder sums up his strategy of teaching as trying to have fun and always trying new things. “He’s really welcoming to everyone and tries to always make everyone feel included and involved”
Going on band trips every year is one of the most memorable parts of the year for Snyder and the students because there are so many people with such different characters and it is so different every time. “You get to hangout with people that keep you feeling young, i just wish old age didn’t come with it!” he said. Always being so involved with Sehome, he is able to truly connect with his students, especially because band is such an interactive class.

Snyder in his college years, decked out in his band uniform while at Marshall University.

For Snyder, the move is very bittersweet. The new school is unbelievable to Snyder but he feels like he went to Sehome, like it is his school. The original Sehome building is Snyder’s (and many other students’ and teachers’) home, but as we move into the new building, the things that truly make Sehome Sehome will all still be there. According to Snyder, Sehome’s traditions are well rooted and serve as the foundation to be carried on into the new school.