Niagara Gazette — The lively beat of the jazz band filled the halls of Niagara Falls High School recently as music teacher Jack Prybylski prepared students for tonight’s spring concert, Prybylski’s last show of his career.
Prybylski has dedicated just over 30 years to teaching music in the district. Longtime colleagues say his contagious passion for music and his natural ability to connect with students will be greatly missed.
“Jack always finds ways to get the kids fired up about what they’re doing,” said James Spanbauer, the current principal of LaSalle Middle School who worked with Prybylski at NFHS for 13 years. “Along with being a gifted teacher he’s also a very gifted musician. His love for music inspires kids to explore their own passions and motivates them to perform at a high level.”
Prybylski began his teaching career in 1983 at Maple Avenue Elementary School. Since then he has worked throughout the district at Kalfas Elementary, 60th Street Elementary, GJ Mann Elementary, Gaskill Junior High, and LaSalle Senior High.
When Niagara Falls High School opened in 2000, Prybylski joined teams with longtime friend Paul Wos who was then the music director at the old NFHS to pioneer the music program. Over the course of 12 years the two worked side-by-side in their shared office as they lead the symphonic, jazz, marching, and pep bands.
Fueled by their shared love for music the two emphasized the importance of commitment and proficiency in playing an instrument with students but also taught the importance of enjoying the music they’re creating. This philosophy allowed Prybylski to create and maintain strong relationships with students throughout the years.
“To describe Jack in four words, he is professional, personable, cooperative, and understanding. When he works with students he puts himself in their positions and looks at things through their eyes to see what types of things they’re going through and get a better understanding of them. This is an important way to be as a teacher and I think that’s why Jack has always bonded with his students,” said Wos.