Meet the Directors
Director of Bands & Concert Ensembles
Rodney C. Schueller was appointed Director of Bands at West Aurora High School in the fall of 2012. His position includes serving as chief administrator of the Department of Bands, Conductor of the Wind Symphony and both Freshman Bands, and assisting with two other concert ensembles. He is also Director of Athletic Bands, overseeing the operation of the 315-member Blackhawk Marching Band and two 90-member Basketball Pep Bands. The West Aurora High School Bands encompass 14 ensembles with over 490 participating students. In addition to his duties at West Aurora High School, he is Music Director and Conductor of the 80-member Aurora American Legion Band.
Prior to his appointment at West Aurora, Dr. Schueller served on the faculties of Texas State University, Western Illinois University, and Northern Illinois University. In the spring of 2007, the Texas State University Student Foundation recognized Dr. Schueller as a Texas State University Distinguished Educator and he was named a VIP by the Western Illinois University Alumni Association in 2000. Additionally, he has been recognized as an influential educator by the West Aurora A+ Foundation on multiple occasions.
Ensembles under his leadership have received praise from composers Charles Booker, Steven Bryant, Mark Camphouse, Rob Deemer, Donald Grantham, Timothy Kramer, John Mackey, Timothy Mahr, Scott McAllister, Jonathan Newman, Jack Stamp, and Frank Ticheli among others. Dr. Schueller led the Texas State University Wind Ensemble in performances for the National Conference of the College Band Directors National Association in Seattle, Washington, and the Texas Music Educators Association Clinic and Convention in February and March of 2011. Additionally, the ensemble performed for the 2008 Southwestern Division Conference of the College Band Directors National Association in Kansas City, the 2007 Texas Music Educators Association Clinic and Convention, and the South Central Chapter Conference of the College Music Society in 2006. In a joint venture with the Bobcat Marching Band, the Texas State University Wind Ensemble released Fanfare!, a compact disc of live concert selections from 2008 and 2009. Under his leadership, the 2006 Bobcat Marching Band was selected for the first ever marching band video breakout session at the 2007 National Conference of the College Band Directors National Association in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Dr. Schueller earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Trumpet Performance and Music Education from the University of Iowa, a Master of Music degree in Wind Conducting from Indiana University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Wind Conducting from Michigan State University where he was the Kenneth G. Bloomquist Conducting Fellow. He studied wind conducting with Ray E. Cramer and John L. Whitwell, with additional studies in orchestral conducting with International Gustav Mahler Medal recipient James Dixon, a protégé of Dimitri Mitropoulos.
Dr. Schueller is a contributing author to seven volumes in the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series published by GIA, producing a total of fourteen teacher resource guides as well as work for the volume for solo instruments with band accompaniment. Additionally, he has published articles in the Bandmasters Review (the official publication of the Texas Bandmasters Association), The Instrumentalist, and the MBM Times. He co-presented a clinic session at the 2007 Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic with Frank Ticheli, and co-presented at the 2005 Texas Bandmasters Association Clinic and Convention. Dr. Schueller is active as an adjudicator, clinician, and guest conductor across the United States, having served as guest conductor for the JanFest Band Festival at the University of Georgia, Conductor-in-Residence at California State University-Northridge, and as guest conductor with the Fox Valley Concert Band as well as numerous Festival, Honor, and All-State bands. He is currently a member of the Illinois Music Education Association, the National Association for Music Education and holds honorary memberships in Kappa Kappa Psi, Tau Beta Sigma, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and Sigma Alpha Iota.
Associate Director of Bands
A native of Joliet, Illinois, Patty Sampson earned her undergraduate degree in music from DePaul University and Master’s degree in Music Education from Northwestern University. After graduating from DePaul, Miss Sampson began her teaching career at Jacobs HS in Algonquin, IL. Under her direction, the band tripled in size in five years and added three instrumental performing ensembles. After leaving Jacobs HS, Miss Sampson moved to Mundelein HS, where she taught concert bands, jazz bands, show choir combo and directed the pit orchestra for the musicals. Under Miss Sampson direction, the band doubled in size in six years and added two jazz ensembles. Additionally, the Mundelein Jazz Festival grew in size and stature under her leadership.
Currently in her twenty-first year of teaching and her tenth year at West Aurora HS, Miss Sampson is the primary conductor of the Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Band and the Before Noon Blues Band. Under Miss Sampson’s direction, one of her jazz bands has been named Honor Band at the Purdue Jazz Festival each of the last 6 years. Miss Sampson is a frequent adjudicator and clinician in the Chicagoland area.
Miss Sampson has been recognized in Who’s Who Among American Teachers five times, Most Inspirational Teacher at Eastern Illinois University and Western Illinois University, Phi Delta Kappa Teacher of the Year, Lake County and was a Grammy Nominee and Quarterfinalist in 2014.
Associate Director of Bands
John P. Sierakowski is Associate Director of Bands at West Aurora High School. He earned his Bachelor of Music Education from Illinois State University and a Master of Music in Education from Northern Illinois University.
As a public school band director, Mr. Sierakowski has taught at the middle school and high school levels in Illinois. His professional affiliations include Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and the National Association for Music Education. He has previously held office for the Fox Valley Music Festival. Mr. Sierakowski finds comfort in Illinois with his wife and three sons.