Position: Band Director
School: Wylie High School
School District: Wylie ISD
City, State: Wylie, Texas
About the Nominee: Russell Ratterree was nominated by the parent of a former student who wishes to remain anonymous. The night before they made the nomination, this parent watched their child perform in a college ensemble. They were amazed that his high school drum director, Mr. Ratterree, drove through Dallas traffic with his own young son to see the performance. They shouldn't have been amazed at all. For many years, Mr. Ratterree has poured endless amounts of time, energy, and teaching into all of his students. It began when his nominator's oldest son was in sixth grade and just starting to learn percussion. Mr. Ratterree came to the intermediate and junior high schools to teach percussion while also teaching the high school students. He did so much more than teach. Over the years, he has stretched students beyond what they thought they could do, but never beyond what they actually could do. His nominator says that on a personal level, they have witnessed Mr. Ratterree's investment in two of their own children. He encouraged one to pursue his passion of teaching percussion to others. He continues to reach out to him to give advice and support him in all areas of his life. Mr. Ratteree encouraged his nominator's other son, an introvert, to have confidence in his leadership abilities, both in band and in other areas of his life.
Mr. Ratterree doesn't simply teach students about music and how to play. He also teaches students to serve, give and lead. He reaches students that don't have parents actively involved in their lives. Mr. Ratteree includes and unites students, and he helps them to persevere to attain a common goal. He is a true gem and someone that all parents want investing in their student's life. Because of Mr. Ratterree, hundreds of students are more confident, know they are valued, and know they have something to offer the world they live in.