The Natrona County School district recently announced that Steve Grussendorf, the Choral Director for Natrona County High School, has been named one of the 2021 Outstanding Music Educators of the Year by the Wyoming Music Educators Association.  

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Each and every year, the WMEA honors music educators who serve their students, schools, and communities in an exemplary way.

Mr. Grussendorf, known affectionally as simply ‘G’ to his students, began his music education career in 1985. He spent his first four years teaching at a number of various elementary schools in the Natrona County School District, before finding his “forever teaching home” at Natrona County High School in the fall of 1996.

Grussendorf first fell in love with music, and with the idea of teaching music, as a young man. He said that he was inspired to pursue a career in music education because of his own music educators that taught him. He also recalled being encouraged by conducting his peers in choir class. Teachers allowed him to conduct at times which instilled a love that would eventually lead to a career.

Grussendorf has taken his choirs all across the country to perform, including New York City, where his students performed at Carnegie Hall and were able to experience the beauty of Broadway.

Speaking of Broadway, Grussendorf has also helped direct various NCHS musicals, including The Wizard of Oz and Beauty in the Beast.

Grussendorf has been directing the NCHS choir for nearly 25 years. The impact he has made on his students is indelible. With his trademark humor and his desire to see students push themselves to discover greatness, he has been named as many NCHS alumni’s favorite teachers.

His passion for teaching is evident. So is his passion for positivity. Grussendorf said that he believes positivity and commitment towards that passion should fill the hallways of all schools.

Knowing that it was Grussendorf’s teachers that first ignited that passion in him, many students have told him that they, too, would like to be a teacher someday. Grussendorf uses that opportunity to ask them a question.

“I ask them, ‘is there anything you could think of that you could do, besides teaching, that would make you happier?’” Grussendorf said. “If they can think of something, I tell them to do that. If they cannot, then I tell them to be a teacher. Because I think schools should be filled with people [who are] passionate about teaching.”

Grussendorf is passionate about teaching, which is one of the many reasons he was selected to be one of the Outstanding Music Educators of the year.

“You never expect it,” Grussendorf said of the decision. “We have so many music educators who do great work, and I thought [the Association] should have picked one of them. In a way, it validates what you do, knowing that your colleagues noticed.”

His colleagues, his peers, and 25 years’ worth of students have definitely noticed the impact he has made and the lives he has changed by using music to make magic at Natrona County High School.

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