‘Something more to contribute’: Award-winning music leader Marcus Pimpleton announces he’s leaving Denny and Sealth

Our area’s most-renowned music educator has announced he’s leaving for a new career direction, in another school district. Multiple award winner Marcus Pimpleton has told the Denny International Middle School and Chief Sealth International High School communities about his departure; he’s staying with the summertime Seattle Public Schools-wide All-City Band program, but otherwise, he is moving into a school-administration role in the Bellevue district. With permission, we share his e-mail announcement in its entirety:

To my Denny and Chief Sealth Family,

It is with mixed emotions that I formally share the news that I will be leaving the Denny and Sealth community this fall to accept the position of Assistant Principal at Interlake High School in the Bellevue School District. I have had the privilege of working with the band students of Denny and Sealth for over 13 years now and it has been a source of great joy and the highlight of my life thus far. It is a tremendous understatement for me to say that this was a difficult process.

Denny and Sealth will forever hold a special place in my heart, both from my time as a student and as an educator. My time at Denny and Sealth has been full of amazing memories and milestones I shall not soon forget. I have been blessed to be a part of thousands of students making their way through the transformational power and discipline music. From the Denny Dolphin Marching Band’s first parade as the only middle school marching band in Seattle Public Schools, to the numerous middle and high school trips to places like New Orleans, New York, Washington D.C., Honolulu and Anaheim, it has been a tremendous ride. There have been amazing partnerships with local artists and community organizations as well as some pretty phenomenal concerts including the Music Night Out, Soul Jambalaya, and Band Jam. Together we have coordinated over 300 student musical performances in school and community events locally, regionally, and nationally – concrete opportunities for students to apply and demonstrate their learning in real and meaningful ways as opposed to a standardized test. It has been a tremendous blessing for me to have had this opportunity to live, learn, and serve in my community, and I pray for your continued musical success in the years ahead.

Over this past school year I have done a great deal of reflecting on the past and thinking about the future through the University of Washington’s Danforth Educational Leadership program and while I love engaging students in music making activities, I have come to believe that I have something more to contribute to the profession in developing the capacity of adults and of school systems for the improvement of the learning experience provided to our students most in need. The opportunity to learn and serve in a highly successful, highly diverse setting as a part of a strong and experienced leadership team like the one at Interlake High School is really the best thing for my career, professional learning, and goals. This new role will provide me with the next step and prepare me for more effective instructional leadership at home or in another high needs community down the road. I hope that through my example, my students will see learning as a lifelong pursuit and find the fortitude to pursue their calling and take the necessary risks in order to grow.

To my students, I want you to know that of the many aspects of this job that I will miss, the most difficult part will be leaving all of you. It has been fun watching you all as you came in, many times as tiny fourth graders to one of our spring break or summer music camps, and to watch your growth as musicians and leaders as you approached your departure for college. While I would have loved nothing more than to continue working with all of you, I believe that every student, in every school deserves access to rich and engaging teachers and curriculum and that it takes high quality school leaders to ensure that happens. I want to learn what it takes to be the type of leader that can help to ensure that all students have access to the high level instruction and experiences that put them on the path for successes in school, college, and life. This is a necessary step for me to do that. I will miss working with you all during the school year, but am excited to share that I have been invited to continue as the Director and Program Administrator for the Seattle All-City Marching Band. Next year we will be celebrating our 65th anniversary and it will be my 25th year as a part of that program. I would love to see many of you participating next summer.

Until we meet again,
Marcus J. Pimpleton

As mentioned in his announcement, Pimpleton himself is an alumnus of both Sealth and Denny. We will be following up with Denny and Sealth principals to ask about plans for who will be leading the programs he’s leaving. (Photo by WSB’s Patrick Sand, taken during last Friday’s Band Jam at SWAC)

13 Replies to "'Something more to contribute': Award-winning music leader Marcus Pimpleton announces he's leaving Denny and Sealth"

  • PG July 29, 2015 (10:44 am)

    Best of luck Marcus! Thanks for all your hard work.

  • miws July 29, 2015 (10:58 am)

    Best of luck to you, Marcus.



  • Trickycoolj July 29, 2015 (11:11 am)

    Aw my heart breaks for the music students, it sounds like Mr. Pimpleton is an amazing director and having been a student in the same situation it’s so hard to continue under a new director, especially in the last year of junior high or high school. So don’t lose sight of your progress during this transition and make sure you can be involved in the selection process of a new music teacher.

  • Alan July 29, 2015 (1:03 pm)

    This is a loss for Seattle. It is too bad that they didn’t find a way to keep him in the district, if not at Denny/Sealth.

    This is most certainly a positive for Marcus. Having spent most of his years in SPS, primarily at Denny/Sealth, getting some experience in another district is a good thing. For some reason, a person from outside always has an edge.

    I had one child learn with Marcus and another learn from him. I hope that Marcus returns soon.

  • Scott July 29, 2015 (1:28 pm)

    Congratulations Marcus and best of luck with your new gig. Your leadership style has been impressive to watch during the past 3 years my daughter has been at Denny and we’re grateful for your efforts. You’ll certainly be dearly missed at Denny/Sealth, but I understand and agree that you likely have more to contribute in a position with increased leadership exposure. I look forward to watching you work your magic with the ACB in summers to come.

  • treble July 29, 2015 (2:31 pm)

    Seattle Schools better be recruiting heavily to ensure the music programs at Denny and Sealth do not suffer without a certificated music teacher. If I know them, SPS will have a long-term sub for months.

  • Nikki July 29, 2015 (2:53 pm)

    Good Luck Marcus ! You will be missed and thanks for all your hard work.

  • Kadoo July 29, 2015 (6:13 pm)

    Congratulations and best wishes, Marcus! Yours will be impossible shoes to fill, but pursuing a new challenge sounds exciting. I will miss seeing you walk with ACB at the WS parade.

  • Alan July 29, 2015 (7:17 pm)

    @Kadoo – I don’t think you read it through. He will still be continuing with ACB.

  • Scott July 29, 2015 (7:52 pm)

    Kadoo – Good news – he is continuing as Director & Program Administrator of ACB during the summer(s).

  • anders2 July 30, 2015 (2:31 am)

    I congratulate Mr. Pimpleton on his great new adventure!However, yet another great teacher leaves the Seattle district…. This is tragic. I teach in a Seattle school as well, and our building has lost 11 teachers to other schools in the last 12 months…. 2 opted for early retirement, but all have left for reasons tied to the constant disrespect from the school leaders and the administration at Seattle Public Schools…. In a state where the salaries are pretty equal from district to district, teachers consider attributes other than pay to determine where they will teach… It makes it a whole lot easier to take your experience and skills to another school district when you know you will be welcomed, and treated with respect.

  • Norma July 30, 2015 (8:56 am)

    I have never met Mr. Pimpleton but have followed the articles on the blog. It’s obvious that he had a special talent for sharing his wonderful musical experience with the students and inspiring them to grow and love the art. Thank you Mr. Pimpleton for what you brought to our community. We are all better for having you in out music programs. Best wishes in your new job. Bellevue is lucky to get you.

  • Janis July 30, 2015 (12:01 pm)

    this a huge loss for our schools and our music program. I am already hearing grumbling about how Mr. P makes music easy to love and is the reason for going to Chief Sealth in my household. I sincerely hope they find someone as tremendous but Marcus leaves pretty big shoes to fill. He will be sadly missed but very excited he will continue with ACB.

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