Chappel receives Lead Guitar’s teaching excellence award

Jaclyn Chappel, band director and music teacher, teaches a class at Apache Junction High School. (Submitted photo)

Jaclyn Chappel, band director and music teacher at Apache Junction High School, is one of four music teachers in Arizona to receive Lead Guitar’s teaching excellence award.

Lead Guitar is an organization that establishes permanent classical-guitar classes in public schools that have low access to the arts, according to a release.

“The Lead Guitar instructors co-teach with a school’s instructor and use a field-tested curriculum to teach students to play and to train teachers to teach classical guitar,” according to the release.

Lead Guitar teaching staff were asked to nominate K-12 educators they co-teach classes with for the teaching excellence award. They were asked to consider areas such as fluency in the Lead Guitar curriculum, effective communication with  instructors, mentorship in classroom management techniques and learning strategies, cooperative lesson-planning and any other criteria they felt to be significant, according to the release.

“Jaclyn understands the Lead Guitar curriculum as well as any teacher I have worked with,” Dr. Jonathan Crissman, who co-teaches with Ms. Chappel and nominated her for the award, wrote.

“She has bought into it 100 percent and, as a result, her students – even in a beginning class that has never touched the guitar before – have completed Method Book I, are in control of technique in both hands, and are on their way to becoming fine musicians,” he wrote.

The other Lead Guitar teaching excellence awards were given to Mike Baggesse, Sky Islands Public High School in Tucson, a charter school; Ruben Rivero, Baboquivari Middle High School in Topawa, on the Tohono O’odham Nation; and Eric Krell, Tortolita Middle School in Marana, in Marana Unified School District.

The Apache Junction Unified School District serves more than 3,600 students in a 217-square mile area that includes the city of Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, Peralta Trail, Queen Valley and the unincorporated areas of the Superstition Mountain foothills. For more information call 480-982-1110, or visit or

The Apache Junction Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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