- Mollie Ward
- Laura Stehn
- Mark Piwetz
Mollie Ward spent her entire childhood performing for family &
friends, and being told to sit down & hush. Fortunately, she
found a career that put those experiences to good use. As she
explained to her mother, "Teaching middle school band is the the
best; they're so weird that they make me seem normal."
After growing up on a farm in southeast Arkansas and performing
as a member of both the Arkansas All-State Band and Choir, Mollie
fled to the Ozarks to attend the University of Arkansas where she
majored first in zoology. Upon realizing that the only classes
that were any fun at all were her music classes, she came to her
senses and became a Music Education major, but still manages to
put those zoology (& cattle management) skills to work in the
After four glorious years in Fayetteville, Mollie married her
husband Rob, in 1990, and promptly moved to West
Point, NY, where he had a job playing percussion in the Army
band. She taught at two middle schools in the Hudson Valley,
Monroe-Woodbury and Brewster, which is where she learned the
proper usage and pronunciation of "fuggiddaboudit".
In the 1994, the Wards moved to Austin; Rob went to grad school
for architecture while Mollie was the middle school
director/asst. high school director two years each at Hutto (yes,
she has hippo earrings) & Manor. In 1998, the Wards moved to
beautiful Denver, Colorado, where Mollie taught band AND
orchestra in Parker, CO and had their delightful daughter
Miranda in 2003. However, it was very apparent that Colorado has
many great things, including lifelong friends & amazing scenery,
but a strong basis for band programs was not one of them.
So, the Wards packed up once more in May of 2005 to return to the
Austin that they had loved so much, where the bands are great,
and everything is warm - the weather, the people, and the pico de
She believes that Canyon Vista is truly one of the greatest
blessings in her life, because she gets to work with incredible
students, amazing parents, and the best co-directors on the face
of the planet. She can't help smiling as she's driving in for
those pre-dawn sectionals, because, at that quiet time of day,
she knows that THIS is where she's supposed to be.
She is mildly insane, but in a good way, and believes that life
is best when you work hard & play hard She believes that life is
too short not to attempt your dreams.
Laura Stehn is the "greenest" of the Canyon Vista Band crew, and is so excited to be here. Laura grew up from humble yet inspiring surroundings in the "busiest little town in central Texas". She spent most of her time from 5th grade on up in the band hall, practicing, performing in the school bands, and figuring out ways to cut class to spend even MORE time in the band hall. She quickly realized that if she were ever going to have gainful employment in the future, she better figure out a way to do it - in the band hall. Thus, a love for music and education blossomed under the guidance of her teachers and family.
Laura was accepted into the University of North Texas, College of Music in the fall of 2003, where she was a member of the Concert Band, the Brass Band, the 8 o'clock steel drum band, the Green Brigade Marching Band, and the Trumpet Choir and was also an active member of Sigma Alpha Iota national music fraternity for women. While she was at UNT, she met the love of her life, Andrew, in the most likely of places: marching band practice. They got engaged on the Riverwalk during the Texas Music Educator's Association (TMEA) convention in San Antonio and are married, happily ever after now two wonderful years!
After student teaching in Sanger, TX and graduating in spring of 2008 with a Bachelors in Music Education, Laura moved back to the Austin area to accept a teaching position at Lago Vista ISD, where she spent four years, two of which she taught with her husband.
Laura happily accepted the opportunity to teach at Canyon Vista this past May and is enjoying every minute of getting to know her new staff, students, and parents. When she is not living out her life's ambition of being a permanent band hall fixture, she's out playing discgolf with Andrew and their dog, "Money", or puttering around their new house in Round Rock, making it a home. It doesn't get much better than this!
Although still not the most talented and intelligent of the band
directors, Mark Piwetz is once again the most handsome (since he
is currently the only male). He is, however, the oldest (VERY
much the oldest) and the widest(although not quite as wide).
(I prefer to think of myself as distinguished, experienced, and
He was born in Houston , Texas, and attended a one room, red
brick school house at Spring Woods in the Spring Branch ISD
where he played trombone in the band with Jack Green, Director
of Bands at Westwood High School. (Yes, Gregorian Chant was still
the most popular form of music of the day.)
He was drum major and a member of the All-State Band on trombone
while in high school.
Following his graduation, he attended Southwestern University in
Georgetown, Texas. For two years he was a Chemistry/Education
double major with a Math /Physics double minor. Realizing that he
was not on the verge of discovering how to turn lead into gold,
he changed his major to Music Education and received his
Bachelor's degree from Southwestern in 1980.
While at Southwestern, he met the love and light of his life,
Eddy, who in a moment of weakness agreed to be his wife. They are
now in their 32nd blissful year of matrimony.
After student teaching at the then existent Round Rock
Middle School, he was hired as a band director at the then brand
new middle school, Chisholm Trail. Following his tenure at
Chisholm Trail, he was named Director of Bands at Grisham Middle
School, where he remained for 4 years.
He was a founding director at McNeil High School upon its opening
in 1991, and was named the Director of Bands there in 1996. In
2001 he resigned his post at McNeil to seek a position that would
allow him more time to spend with his family. That family has now
grown to include two sons (Jacob - a graduate of Sam Houston State
with a degree in education and a focus in American History,
and Logan - currently a senior at the University of Texas at
Arlington majoring in Cultural Anthropology), and a very large copper-colored
truck. He is an avid outdoorsman and tinkerer, and firmly believes
that he has the very best job, family, and co-workers on the
Wave a stick, drive a big truck, collect the big bucks.......
Life is good!