Jul 19, 2023

Poudrier fills Deming High band director role

Bernie Chavez dipped into his scrapbook from his state championship years as band director and pulled out a gem named Katie Poudrier. The Deming High School Athletic/Activities Director held Poudrier in high regard and he was searching for the school’s new band director at the school.

Poudrier is a 2013 DHS graduate who was an all-state selection three straight years and a member of the Southwest Honor Band. Upon graduating from high school, she earned just about every scholarship and grant associated with music.

She studied music education at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces and began teaching music at West Palm Beach, Fla. in 2018. West Palm Beach has 250 high schools.

Poudrier ran the gamut when it comes to music education in Florida, beginning at the elementary level, moving into middle school and eventually to the high school level.

In 2022, Poudrier returned to Deming to visit family and landed a job at Ruben S. Torres Elementary School in a general classroom setting.

During her stint at RST, the DHS band director’s position was vacated by Johnny Lang. Lang moved into the Red Mountain Middle School music department to fill in for Sam Villarreal, who left the school district.

Chavez had approached Poudrier about the job opening and suggested she give it a look.

“I wasn’t sure about it,” she said. “Being a band director requires a long-term commitment. I wasn’t sure I was ready for that.”

Poudrier actually packed her bags and left for Florida, where she had another position offered. She drove 300 miles before her car broke down.

“I opened my phone and saw at least five messages on social media asking me to give the Deming job a shot,” she said. “I sat and just didn’t feel right about leaving.”

Poudrier saw her situation as an omen and returned to Deming, hoping the job was not filled. It wasn’t.

She took it.

“A commitment to a band program like the one here in Deming is important, whether it be three or five years, because leaving these programs is what destroys them,” Poudrier stated. “Before I said yes, I wanted to be sure I would commit to the program they way is deserves.”

Poudrier was impressed with the music department facilities. She grew up in the former DHS music room and quipped, “I don’t miss the musty smell. The space here is amazing and beautiful. I am privileged to be here.”

Poudrier was eventually hired by DHS Principal Gaspar Lozano.

This year’s marching program is titled “Origami.” Poudrier is working with what she called her dream students.

“You are always looking for that ideal student,” she said. “What you really want is to bring out the best version in a student. I want kids who love music and aren’t afraid of disappointing me. … Just love music.”

Poudrier sees her students asking to go the extra mile in the band room, offering to clean instruments and arranging music on their own time.

The marching band is at 61 and throughout the school district there are 90 to 100. The assistant band director is Virginia Chavez, who also teaches music at Deming Intermediate School.

Dustin Armendariz is working with the percussion group at DHS and Allen Ortiz is in charge of color guard.

Billy Armendariz can be reached at [email protected]