Position: Director of Instrumental Music
School: Hale Charter Academy
School District: Los Angeles Unified School District
City, State: Woodland Hills, California
About the Nominee: Dan Taguchi has been working tirelessly and selflessly in the Los Angeles Unified School District for over three decades to keep instrumental music programs alive. The miracle that Mr. Taguchi performs every day is to take hundreds of middle schoolers and inspire them to take up music as an elective, a life long hobby and possibly even a career. Imagine starting the school year with 150-200 unruly middle schoolers who have never picked up an instrument or read music, and by the end of the semester, having them confidently perform classical, jazz and ethnic songs. Mr. Taguchi is in charge of a jazz ensemble, as well as a concert band, wind ensemble, string ensemble and even a mariachi group. Some of these, the jazz band for example, are electives, so Mr. Taguchi and his booster parents raise money each year to attend various functions and trips, including the Monterey Jazz Festival - Mr. Taguchi is proud of saying that he has never charged a student for transportation to one of these events. In addition to directing the many music classes and programs at Hale, he also finds time to act as Music Director at the Union Church of Los Angeles, an inner city church serving the downtown area. Mr. Taguchi reminds us everyday that music is essential to understanding and experiencing a fulfilling life.