Riverside-Brookfield High School music teacher Aubrey Prince is leaving to take a job at a high school in Oregon. Prince, who has directed the choirs at the high school for the past five years, submitted her resignation letter last week.
Prince will be a teacher and choir director at South Salem High School in Salem, Oregon, a school with a nationally recognized choir program. Prince saw the South Salem symphonic choir perform at a national choir directors conference in 2019, and when she found out that their choir director was leaving, she decided to apply for the job.
“This is like a huge choral program; it’s nationally known,” Prince said.
While the South Salem position is a plum one, Prince said her frustration with the RBHS administration and doubts about its commitment to music and the arts played a role in her decision to leave RBHS.
“I don’t think people apply for other jobs when they’re really happy with their current job,” Prince said.
Prince said she doesn’t feel that the fine arts are consistently supported and valued by the RBHS administration. She was concerned about inconsistent staffing levels.
“When I heard about the job, we were in the middle of sectioning and I continue to be discouraged with how the allotment of [full-time positions] have been reduced from the fine arts, not just with music,” Prince said. “I just need to be somewhere where I know I’m valued as an educator, but my program is valued.”
In addition to teaching, for the past two years Prince has served as the instructional coach, a position similar to a department chair, for the Fine Arts and Wellness Departments.
Prince also has directed the spring musical each year that she has been at RBHS. She has one more show to put on. Since school let out in May, Prince has been busy leading rehearsals for a special summer musical, “Mama Mia,” which will be performed this weekend before live audiences at the RBHS auditorium.
Show times are June 25 at 7 p.m., June 26 at 2 and 7 p.m. and June 27 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available on the RBHS website (rbhs208.net) or at the door.
“Even amidst all of this I’m still working to the last minute,” Prince
Now that Prince is leaving, her vacant position has been posted as 0.6 full-time equivalent — a part-time position.
RBHS Superintendent Kevin Skinkis acknowledged it will be difficult to find a replacement for Prince.
“Those will be very tough shoes to fill,” Skinkis said. “She’s been an excellent teacher, sponsor, director of our musicals, so we are definitely going to miss Aubrey.”
Juliet Boyd, whose daughter, Brooke Craig, is a madrigal singer, also expressed concern about the future of choral programs at the high school.
“Who are we going to get of any quality that can take over this program as a part-time position?” Boyd asked. “It’s such a concern for us parents who are out there.”
While looking forward to her job and relocating to the Pacific Northwest Prince said that she will miss many things at RBHS.
“I loved the kids and the families, that’s always the hardest part,” Prince said. “I didn’t make this decision lightly, because there are things I really love about RB and it’s the program and the kids and colleagues. It’s just really hard to make this job stable down the road.”