Episode 14: Rachel Maxwell, Traughber Junior High, Oswego, IL


On this episode, I sit down with Rachel Maxwell, director of bands at Traughber Junior High in Oswego, Illinois. Rachel talks about teaching techniques, professional development, the rise of nerd culture, and why she feels that this might be a great time for women currently in and entering the profession. 

Rachel and I also found out that we had something in common: horses. Rachel is a bit of an equestrian, and I've heard about the movie "Seabiscuit," so it was nice to be on the same page.

I hope you enjoy listening as much as I did. Rachel has some great experience and advice that could help teachers of any experience and area.  If you want to hear more from Rachel, please check out her new site, http://thebandroomspage.com/.


Rachel J. Maxwell attended Illinois State University  and graduated in 1993 (Summa Cum Laude) with a Bachelor`s Degree in Music Education. She received a Master of Music Education degree from theUniversity of Illinois in 1997. In 2003 she completed a Master of Educational Leadership degree fromAurora University. Mrs. Maxwell has also completed additional coursework in team-building, leadership and working with diverse students. Mrs. Maxwell has taught band in the West Aurora School District (1993-95) and in the Oswego School District (1995-present).

Mrs. Maxwell currently serves as the Director of Bands  at Traughber Junior High School and as the Junior High Band Coordinator for the district. She has taught music education courses at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago and North Central College in Naperville, IL and has been invited to be a  guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator at a number of music camps and festivals including the Music for All National Summer Symposium, the NC All-State Middle School Band, ISYM at the Univ. of Illinois, Il State Univ. Junior High Camp and several IMEA District Level Festivals. She is also a part of the team from Oswego who commissioned and premiered Sheltering Sky (2012) by John Mackey , Sol ye Sombra (2014) by Donald Grantham and Atmosphere (2016) by Scott McAllister.

Under her direction the bands at Traughber JHS have received national acclaim and have performed at The Midwest Clinic (as a clinic presentation and rehearsal lab group), the Illinois Music Educators Association All State Conference (1999, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2017), the University of Illinois Super-state Festival and at the ASBDA National Convention. 

Rachel Maxwell is a member of the The National Association of Music Education, Illinois Music Educators Association, American School Band Directors Association, National Council of Supervisors of Music Education, and a number of honor societies. She is the recipient of the Who`s Who Among American Teachers Award, Who`s Who Among Emerging Leaders Award, Who`s Who In American Education Award, Who`s Who Among American Women Award,  ASBDA/UMI Outstanding Young Band Director Award-Junior High Division for the North Central Region of the United States, Chicago-land Outstanding Music Educator, National Band Association Citation of Excellence, and the National Recipient of the Jim Ott (Drum Corps International) Scholarship. She also serves on the advisory team for the  dynamic professional learning Facebook site Band Directors Group; A World-Wide Professional Learning Community.