Union County has many outstanding educators, and one happens to teach music at Porter Ridge middle and high schools.
Ian Faires, the band director at those schools, works with nearly 500 students.
He has 15 years of music-teaching experience, 10 of those at the two Porter Ridge schools.
“They have a wonderful young man as a band director,” said business owner Brenda Dills. “He is truly an inspiration for his students and a great example for all the young men at Porter Ridge.”
Dills has owned and managed the Frazier/Dills convenience store and garden center at the intersection of Interstate 485 and Lawyers Road for the past 34 years. She knows Faires as a customer at her store and contacted the newspaper hoping to get him recognized for his work. She didn’t even know his last name; but from conversations they had, she said, she knew he had accomplished a lot.
“His band always places high in competitions,” she said.
Faires said the band will travel to Hawaii in December for the Pearl Harbor Commemoration Parade.
“One band from each ‘battleship’ state was selected to be a part of this parade, and our band, the Band of Pirates, was selected out of all of the bands in North Carolina,” Faires said. “We will be performing with bands from all over the United States and the Marine Band at a special commemoration parade that will happen on Dec. 7.”
Faires was named Porter Ridge High School Teacher of the Year for 2013-14. He serves as a sponsor for a Christian club on campus. He has been named to Who’s Who Among American Educators every year since 2005.
In his years of teaching, he estimates he has taught 10,000 students in Mooresville, Charlotte and Monroe.
“Some of the greatest contributions that I would consider in the education world would be preparing each one of my students to be successful either through music or the area in which they want to pursue,” Faires said. “Many of them are across America making a difference in the field in which they studied.
“To know that they were once a part of the family that I create in the classroom, and to see them meeting and exceeding goals they have set in their lives, makes me feel more successful than anything else.”
Faires, who also plays piano at Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church in Weddington, said he has been involved with music since he was 3 years old, singing in the church choir.
“I started playing piano at 6 years old,” he said. “And joined band in the percussion section at age 10, in fifth grade.”
Faires said he recognizes the value in being a teacher and role model.
“I constantly have striven to be a good model for citizenship in the world around me and can see that in the students that I teach as well as the ones I have taught,” Faires said. “Former and current students are always trying to make themselves better ,and I would like to think I have played a part in their life to encourage that mindset. It makes every day of teaching worthwhile and validates the art of what a teacher pursues to do.”
Kim Becknell Williams is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Kim? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.