QUINCY — A Quincy native is heading home for what he considers “a dream job” in Quincy Public Schools.
Todd Pettit will become co-director of music, working with Kathi Dooley in the 2019-20 school year, then taking over the role when Dooley retires June 30, 2020.
Pettit, 48, who has taught music and held school administration positions, is currently principal of Kreitner Elementary School serving pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade students in the Collinsville school district.
“Whenever I was asked what I wanted to do after being in the classroom, what my dream job would be, it would always have been to have a position such as this – to be a director of music and utilize my passion for music as well as my administrative and leadership skills,” Pettit said.
QPS interviewed five candidates for the job, then narrowed the list to three finalists before selecting Pettit, who was introduced at Wednesday’s School Board meeting.
Superintendent Roy Webb said Pettit stood out because of his broad mix of experience in music and educational leadership.
“He is excited to come back home to Quincy to take over one of our premiere organizations of our school,” Webb said. “He’ll work extremely well not only with the music department, but I think he’ll take a leadership role throughout the district and be a great asset to the entire community.”
Pettit starts work July 1.
“It’s my expectation that he’s going to take the lead, going to be the music director,” Webb said. “Mrs. Dooley will be there to guide him, mentor him and ensure that we keep all the great things that we’re doing and all the great traditions that we have in Quincy and the Quincy Music Department.”
Pettit said he expects to honor the program’s tradition while continuing forward momentum and allowing students and teachers the resources to achieve their highest musical potential.
“It’s such an honor for me not only to be in a leadership position of a curricular area of music that I find so much enjoyment and fulfillment in but also to take the helm of a position that has only been held by six people,” he said. “I would be the seventh director in a position first established in 1888. That’s amazing. That’s a legacy. It’s an honor and a privilege to carry on the tradition.”
Pettit emphasizes collaboration, bringing stakeholders together, empowering and supporting people and “leading from the middle” with them.
Always drawn to music, Pettit started piano lessons at age 9, was a well-rounded performer and accompanist at QHS and continued his involvement in music whether playing piano, working for churches, directing choirs and singing in choirs. Inspiration to teach came from giving piano lessons in high school and college and from some of his own teachers at QHS — Dan Sherman, Tom Burnett and Dooley.
Pettit, a 1989 graduate of Quincy High School, has maintained close ties with the community and Quincy Community Theater, where he has served as artist in residence and directed summer musicals.
After graduating from Quincy University with a bachelor’s degree in music education, Pettit moved to Indianapolis where he started work on a master’s in music, worked for arts organizations and then worked as a music education specialist for K-5 students in Metropolitan School District of Perry Township while also serving in leadership roles for the teacher’s association.
Pettit earned a master’s in school administration from Indiana University, then moved in 2000 to the Collinsville area, finishing a doctorate in school leadership with superintendent’s credentials in 2014 from St. Louis University.
In Collinsville, he taught music, spent three years as an assistant principal at the middle school and now is finishing his seventh year as principal at Kreitner. While at Kreitner, Pettit became very active with the Illinois Principals Association, serving in leadership roles and currently as a professional development academy presenter.
Known as the go-to principal for supporting music teachers, especially at the elementary level, in the Collinsville district, Pettit helped establish a fourth-grade districtwide musical in the district.
“At times I might run into a music class and sub if I need to do that or give guidance to or assist my music teacher. Every time that happens, I know why I wanted to be a music teacher. It’s just within me. It feels right,” he said. “I’m excited to come back to Quincy to not only utilize that teaching ability but also to be able to lead the music staff, to support them to realize their full potential.”