Barbara Ahl
Barbara Ahl
Barbara Ahl is teaching impact realization in her music classroom at Chatfield this year.

"If I can help one student realize the impact music can have in their life, I will consider myself a successful teacher," she said. "It is my goal to share my love for music with all my students and show them how music can fill their lives in ways nothing else can. As a music educator, I have the opportunity to teach a student to think, to feel, to communicate."

Ahl has joined the Chatfield faculty this fall and teaches sixth grade general and vocal music, seventh and eighth grade vocal, seventh grade general music and ninth through 12th grade vocal music.

Ahl graduated from Hector High School in Hector, Minn., "many years ago" and from Augsburg College in Minneapolis in 2002.

"I returned to earn my bachelor's degree in music education," Ahl explained. "I chose music education as a profession because I believe music is a very powerful influence in a person's life. I love music and believe that everyone should have the opportunity to learn about and experience music. I have always wanted to be a music teacher. I started out wanting to be a band director, but because of the experiences I've had as an adult, my focus changed to vocal music."

Before coming to Chatfield, Ahl held positions in two other districts.

"I taught in Evansville, Minn., for three years, then Menahga, Minn., for four years - I have taught all grade levels, including kindergarten through sixth grade general music, second through 12th grade vocal music, and fifth through 12th grade instrumental music. I have also taught music theory, music history and guitar classes. I was looking for a vocal music position, and thought Chatfield would be a good fit. The area is beautiful and the town seemed to be friendly and a great place to live."

She also shared she is excited to be a member of a staff that is student-centered and puts the students first, which she has felt since being at Chatfield.

"I have heard wonderful things about the students here at Chatfield - that they are great kids, eager to learn, and I am looking forward to working with them and helping them grow as individuals and as musicians," she continued. "School is an important place to learn to be a productive citizen, a respectable person, and a positive role model for others. Students should learn how to learn, as learning is a life-long process."

Ahl continued that she is excited to see what levels the students are at musically and looks forward to helping them progress and grow as musicians.

"I find contest time to be an exciting and very rewarding time of the year for the students and for myself," she added. "And I believe that teaching is a challenge in itself - challenges exist when dealing with an individual, but when you get a lot of people working together towards a common goal, it can be a greater challenge to see that each individual has an important and integral part of reaching that goal."

She has her own goals for her first year at Chatfield, including raising voices before the sun rises. "I am hoping to start a women's group and a men's group - both vocal ensembles that will meet before school once a week. I am also excited to see what kind of interest there is in the seventh and eighth grade vocal groups to possibly start an extra-curricular vocal ensemble that meets once a week before school."

Ahl currently resides in Chatfield and has three adult children. Her oldest daughter is living and working in Kansas City, Kansas, and has recently returned to college. She is studying human resources. Her middle daughter is living in New York Mills, Minn., and has returned to college at MSCTC in Wadena. She is studying massage therapy. Her son, the youngest, is in his fourth year at the University of Minnesota -Morris. Ahl shared he will be continuing his education next year at the U of M - Twin Cities Campus and studying astrophysics.

"I also have a dog, Brinkley, who is a 5-year-old peek-a-poo," Ahl concluded. "I enjoy walking my dog, reading, going to movies, playing the piano and spending time with my family."