Carly Addison, an Irving native and Irving High School orchestra teacher, has dedicated herself to nurturing young musical talent. Now entering her eighth year of teaching, she reflects on her path to becoming an educator, which was shaped by the influential teachers she encountered during her own education.
Addison's passion for teaching music was ignited by her elementary school music teacher, Linda Hoffman, at Townley Elementary School. Hoffman's dedication to her students left a lasting impression on Addison, who still maintains contact with her. Addison fondly remembers how Hoffman invested in her students, inspiring her to follow a similar path.
As Addison progressed through Lamar Middle School and Nimitz High School, she continued to encounter exceptional teachers who went the extra mile to support her. Adrian Demian, her sixth-grade orchestra teacher at Lamar, played a pivotal role in her journey. Demian's passion for music and care for his students showed Addison the potential for building meaningful relationships while teaching music.
At Nimitz High School, Jonathan Wilson, Addison's theater teacher, displayed a remarkable ability to recognize each student's talents and motivate them to excel. Richard McKean, her theater tech teacher, provided Addison with valuable private voice lessons to prepare for scholarship auditions, showcasing the dedication of her educators.
Addison's experience with these inspirational teachers solidified her desire to become a fine arts teacher in Irving ISD, setting her on a clear path.
As a National Merit Finalist, Addison pursued her dream by studying Instrumental Music Education at Harding University, starting her teaching journey at a school affiliated with the university as a freshman. This early experience allowed her to refine her teaching skills and pedagogy, providing a solid foundation for her future career.
After a year of teaching in Arkansas, Addison returned to her hometown and Irving ISD, first at Austin Middle School and then Irving High School.
“My time at Austin was the greatest four years ever,” says Addison. “If it were not for how awesome those kids were, I never would have interviewed to move up to Irving High School. I only wanted to go because of the students. The ones who were sixth graders when I first started at Austin are now seniors at Irving High.”
Addison credits her principal at the time, Toscha Reeves, for believing in her and her students, enabling them to achieve remarkable success in music competitions and events.
While at Austin, Addison's students demonstrated exceptional teamwork by designing a prosthetic for a classmate who wanted to play the cello, emphasizing the incredible potential of young students when given the opportunity to shine.
Now, as members of the Irving High School Orchestra, Addison's students have had the privilege of performing at various venues, including the Dallas Zoo, San Antonio, Irving ISD's State of the District event, and even the Texas State Capitol in Austin, with more performances on the horizon.
Addison is determined to keep the program thriving for years to come, providing her students with opportunities to explore different venues and visit colleges and universities, just as her teachers did for her.
“Here in Irving ISD, teachers have the incredible opportunity to change kids’ lives. I do not say that to minimize what other districts or other teachers are doing. For a lot of our students, especially those who are economically disadvantaged, they really rely on us as teachers to show them how to get where they want to go,” says Addison. “That is why I have told my students from day one, ‘I will give you the tools you need to be successful if you are willing to receive them and use them.’”