Dr. Maxwell McGee, IMSA Acting President
It is both with the most sincere, energetic enthusiasm and deepest regret that I am writing this letter of recommendation for Ms. Sarah Wiggins. Having served as a principal for six years and a superintendent/academy president for twenty-five, I have worked with dozens of vocal and instrumental music teachers. Without a doubt, Sarah as one of the very best. During our three years together at IMSA, I have seen her truly transform not just our music programs but IMSA’s culture. When I arrive at IMSA, vocal music was an institutional afterthought. When I hired Sarah, I had high expectations and higher hopes, but she has far surpassed these. Her extraordinary professional knowledge and ability, her exemplary passion and compassion for both our students and the arts, and her remarkable interpersonal and collaborative skills have made the fine arts and vocal music an integral, respected, and beloved element of IMSA.
Under her leadership, the entire music program has grown and flourished. Every year our choir has increased in numbers and their ability has improved exponentially. As President of the Academy, I have several demands on my time, but I never miss a vocal music concert. Moreover, I have heard her lead inspiring performances in Elgin for Martin Luther King Day, celebrated with the Madrigal dinners, seen visiting legislators spontaneously leap to their feet to applaud a song and been thrilled with feedback we receive from concerts our students gave at the Art Institute. In every instance, the audiences are always enthusiastically appreciative and want to hear more.
Sarah has excelled because she perfectly balances high standards and structure with warmth, nurturing and responsiveness. Students work hard for her because she works hard to understand and connect with each individual while simultaneously building a cohesive, caring ensemble. Moreover, she has become a respected faculty leader for her abilities to work with students who are gifted vocalists as well as with those who are raw beginners. She is able to personalize and differentiate her work yet can still blend these different voices into a melodious, harmonious choir.
Finally, Sarah has an incredible work ethic, is a model of both integrity and humility, and is also a lot of fun. She lifts us all, and she will be deeply missed. Clearly, Ms. Sarah Wiggins merits my strongest recommendation for a position in your district. As she has at IMSA, she will make countless contributions and bring out the best in her students and your staff.
Glenn W. “Max” McGee, President