He acknowledged they are big shoes to fill, but Casey Ehrler sees it as an opportunity to continue on a successful program with a new set of eyes.

Ehrler is the new band director at Kyrene Altadeña Middle School and is taking over for his previous teacher and mentor Will Norris, who retired at the end of last school year.

This will be Ehrler’s first full-time teaching job, but Altadeña is not a new place to him. It is where he attended middle school before going to Desert Vista and Arizona State University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree.

But music wasn’t his first choice when he entered college.

“I didn’t plan on being a teacher until sophomore year,” Ehrler said. “It’s funny how the world turns. I would never have thought I would be in this position.”

Ehrler initially was signed up for aerospace engineering before having a change of heart. Since making the change he has been working with bands all over Ahwatukee Foothills, including with the marching band at Desert Vista.

He and Norris have been speaking and will continue to throughout the year or whenever he needs advice. Ehrler said his goal is to continue the success the program had achieved through his former mentor and make additions to it as well. He said he will be starting an after-school percussion club for the first time this year.

“One of the things I think teachers have to do when they first come in is make the program their own,” Ehrler said. “There is tradition and energy there. I want to take the best teachings he taught me and hopefully the combination will get fantastic results.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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