November Employee of the Month


Lizett Garcia, Staff Writer

She is a beloved teacher at KHS and the hardworking head orchestra director. Sherry Paetznick Wilkins is also the November Employee of the Month.

Paetznick is honored to have been chosen as the Employee of the Month, and she is very grateful for her coworkers who have helped her achieve this accomplishment.

“There are so many hardworking teachers here who go so far above and beyond to be there for and help their students succeed,” Paetznick said, “I am constantly amazed at how my coworkers work so hard to make school a fun and safe place for students to learn.”

Several teachers are proud of the time they spent at KHS and Paetznick is no exception. As orchestra director, Paetznick is most proud of the way the orchestra is continually growing in both size and quality.

“Last year, for the first time in the history of KHS, the orchestra sent three performing groups to the UIL Concert and Sightreading Evaluation, and all three groups earned Sweepstakes ratings, which is the top rating a performing group can achieve,” Paetznick said. “ I am extremely proud of these students for their accomplishment last year and hope to continue that tradition into this year and the future.”

One of the most difficult parts of Paetznick’s job is scheduling future events while being able to fit them into the schedule of both the students and the school.

“I’m scheduling the accompanist for Solo & Ensemble in January, getting transportation as needed for those events, preplanning music for Black History Month and UIL, while working on the spring trip, our first ever banquet, and scheduling food trucks for the May concert,” Paetznick said. “It’s surreal to be in the now and planning so many events that are so far out at the same time.”

Paetznick also has a music career outside of teaching orchestra at KHS.

“I play in the Longview Symphony and occasionally sub in the Marshall Symphony. I am a member of the Longview String Quartet, and we play gigs like weddings several times a month,” Paetznick said. “I’ve also started teaching private lessons again after giving it up for a few years.”

Paetznick grew up and went to school in Kilgore after moving here from Stephenville. Throughout high school, she participated in a variety of activities such as the Reflector staff and the French Club. She was in the NHS and graduated third in her class. Throughout this time, the

most influential people in her life were her parents – and they still are up to this day.

“They gave me a great, stable, and moral upbringing with varied experiences and taught me to have common sense,” Paetznick said. “I had a wonderful childhood, and the lessons they taught me have helped me be successful in my adult life.”

Many people have a quote or guiding thought that they live by and for Paetznick it is “if something is worth doing, then do it well.”

“My dad drilled this into me, that every task or job, no matter how small, is worth doing right,” Paetznick said.

In ten years, Paetznick sees herself continuing to teach orchestra at KHS or retired and teaching private lessons from a music studio that she hopes to open someday. Either way, Paetznick will still be doing what she loves most: teaching music.

“It was a long road to get here from 15 years of teaching elementary to moving over to secondary to teach orchestra, but here I am finally following the dream I chickened out of in college.”