Matthew Loeb

Officials at Riverside-Brookfield High School and Riverside Elementary School District 96 are discussing creating a joint orchestra teacher position that could help keep popular RBHS music teacher Matthew Loeb at the high school. 

Last month Loeb’s position at RBHS was reduced from full time to half time because of declining student enrollment in music classes.

District 96, which is the only RBHS feeder district with an orchestra program, is looking for a part-time elementary school orchestra teacher. District 96 students can learn to play an instrument beginning in fifth grade. RBHS Superintendent Kevin Skinkis said that he suggested the job share idea to District 96 Superintendent Martha Ryan-Toye. 

“There is an interesting opportunity here,” Ryan-Toye said. “We need a [one-third time] orchestra teacher for elementary. … It could be a perfect collaboration, and that’s what we’re trying to figure out.”

Now administrators from RBHS and District 96 are trying to make the logistics and technicalities work. RBHS Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Instruction Kylie Lindquist and District 96 Director of Teaching and Learning Angela Dolezal are expected to talk this week about the position.

“We’re trying to see if we can work out logistically, where maybe they would have a part-time teacher work at [District] 96 for half a day and then finish up at RB or vice versa,” Skinkis said.

If the districts can work something out, the orchestra teacher would likely remain a RBHS employee. Details such as exactly how the teacher would be paid and which district would pay benefits still need to be hashed out.

Loeb reportedly is interested in remaining at RBHS. Many music students and parents pleaded with the school board to keep his position full time before the board voted unanimously to reduce the position to part time earlier this year. 

Students say Loeb is an excellent teacher and that the RBHS orchestra program needs stability after having had four different orchestra teachers in the last four years.

Skinkis said that he hoped that a job-sharing arrangement could be finalized soon.

“We’d like to have this wrapped up by the end of April,” Skinkis said.