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Two distinguished educators join Harford County Public Schools Hall of Fame during Fall 2018 induction
Sheldon Bair grew up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Susquehanna Township High School. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Elizabethtown College in 1976. After graduating from college, he made the move south to Harford County to accept a position teaching orchestra at Bel Air Middle School, Homestead Elementary School, and William Paca Elementary School.
Mr. Bair was the first in his family to graduate college and credits his high school band director, Mr. Russ Schneck, along with other teachers and conductors in high school, for having an impact in this area of his life. While in college, Conductor Otis Kitchen had the most influence on Mr. Bair.
Once teaching for Harford County Public Schools (HCPS), Mr. Bair continued his education by earning a master’s degree from Towson University in 1984. Further study included the Vienna Conservatory, Westminster Choir College, and orchestral conducting with Maestro Leonid Grin.
In addition to Bel Air Middle, Homestead Elementary, and William Paca Elementary, Mr. Bair also taught at C. Milton Wright High, Bel Air Middle, Bel Air High, Hickory Elementary, and Southampton Middle schools during his 40-year career with HCPS. As the HCPS orchestra program grew, Mr. Bair eventually taught only at the secondary level, and the last 10 years of his career in the classroom were at Southampton Middle School alone. In addition to teaching orchestra for grades 4-12, throughout the years he also taught 8
grade chorus, percussion lessons, and high school guitar and piano labs.
In partnership with C. Milton Wright High School Band Director Scott Sharnetzka, Mr. Bair began area band and orchestra days at which elementary, middle, and high school musicians in the district gathered for a day of rehearsal culminating with an evening concert. The yearly event was hugely successful and added value to the county’s music program.
Mr. Bair was instrumental in developing the orchestra program for the Southampton and C. Milton Wright area, growing the string program numbers from about 35 students in 1980 to well over 200 students when he left C. Milton Wright High School in 2006. He was a member of several school and county committees and served as department chair at Southampton Middle for seven years. As the music department chair, Mr. Bair successfully maintained the number of students in band, chorus, and orchestra at more than 50 percent of the student population.
Mr. Bair is proud to have been a member of what was one of the best and most balanced of high school music programs.
“The 1990’s and early 2000’s were truly a wonderful time to be teaching at C. Milton Wright High School,” said Mr. Bair. “It was rare to have such a balanced department, a department in which the band, orchestra, and chorus programs were truly considered to be on an equal – and excellent – footing!”
Mr. Bair’s passion for music and his dedication to his students was always at the forefront of his teaching career. He is fulfilled by the number of former students who have gone on to be music teachers, music therapists, performers, and music appreciators.
Throughout his career, Mr. Bair received many awards and accolades. In 2000, he was bestowed the Paderewski Award for Contributions to Society and Culture at the Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C. Harford County and the state of Maryland both recognized him for founding and conducting the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra (SSO), which celebrated its 40
season last year. And in 2011, Mr. Bair was honored to be a guest speaker at the Malcolm Arnold Festival in Northampton, UK.
In 2016, Mr. Bair retired after 40 years in the classroom with HCPS. In retirement, he enjoys traveling with his wife Barbara of 30 years, as well as cooking and reading.
Music continues to be a major part of his life. He is music director of the adult SSO and is also an adjunct instructor at Harford Community College and Community College of Baltimore County. He also works with school and youth orchestras, including summer music camps. Mr. Bair is a published composer and arranger and is a current member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
Mr. Bair was nominated for induction into the Hall of Fame by Bonnie Dubel, with endorsements from Bruce Kovacs, William Ekey, and Donald Raff.
Stephen L. Hagenbuch
Stephen Hagenbuch was born in Cumberland, Maryland, and attended Mt. Savage High School in Mt. Savage, MD. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, with concentrations in Biology and Psychology, from Frostburg State College. He then earned a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from the University of Maryland. Mr. Hagenbuch received a certificate in Computer Education from Johns Hopkins University and took additional graduate classes at Towson State College, the University of Connecticut, and Johns Hopkins University.
In 1970, Mr. Hagenbuch and his wife Meredith moved to Harford County upon graduation. At that time, Harford County Public Schools offered the highest starting salary in the state, and his wife taught first grade at Old Post Elementary School. The first in his family to graduate from college, Mr. Hagenbuch worked for just one year for the Health Department before returning to his first love, teaching. The majority of his teaching experience was at Hillsdale Elementary School where, over the course of eight years, he taught fourth grade, sixth grade, non-graded primary, and the High Intensity Learning Systems Reading Lab.
In 1979, Mr. Hagenbuch was appointed assistant principal at Edgewood Elementary School where he also taught third grade. After one year, the primary building at that two-building school was closed and Mr. Hagenbuch was transferred to the assistant principal position at Hickory Elementary School where he also taught fifth grade. Again, just staying one year, he was returned to the classroom full-time at Meadowvale Elementary the next school-year due to budget cuts in administrative budget categories.
His stay at Meadowvale turned out to last just five months when he was returned to an assistant principal position in mid-year at William S. James Elementary. There, he also taught fourth grade.
In 1985, Mr. Hagenbuch was appointed principal of the Norrisville Elementary School where he also taught a reading group.
In 1990, he had the opportunity to lead the opening of the new Ring Factory Elementary School.
“Opening Ring Factory was obviously the highlight of my work in Harford County. Hundreds were interviewed, and as a staff came together they bonded and created a model school culture. Teachers quickly led the school community to be one of the highest achieving schools in the state!”
In addition, Mr. Hagenbuch recalled, “Staff members went on to positions of leadership and recognition. I wish everyone could have such a special time in their career as my time at Ring Factory. What wonderful kids and families!”
In 1998, Mr. Hagenbuch’s eighth stop and final assignment in Harford County was at Youth’s Benefit Elementary School.
In 2001, after 30 years in Harford County, Mr. Hagenbuch went on to serve as principal for Montgomery County Public Schools, followed by nearly eight years as assistant to the superintendent and principal in the South Eastern School District in Pennsylvania.
Throughout his career in Harford County, Mr. Hagenbuch led numerous initiatives including Second Grade Social Studies Revision Committee, Report Card Revision Committee, Gifted and Talented Summer programs, and Textbook Selection committees. A hallmark of his work was service to local, state and national professional associations. Mr. Hagenbuch served as membership chair, legislative chair, editor, and president of the Maryland Association of Elementary School Principals. In addition, he served as a member of the COMAR Review committee. He also served on the Nomination Committee and Teller’s Committee for the National Association of Elementary School Principals and on the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Professional Standards for Educational Leaders Review Committee.
Mr. Hagenbuch was a formal and an informal mentor for numerous principals and assistant principals and was nominated as National Distinguished Principal in both Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Mr. Hagenbauch and his wife are both retired and living in Ocean Pines, MD. Their son Chris is a principal and their daughter Alison is a speech language pathologist. Both have two children.
Mr. Hagenbauch was nominated for induction into the Hall of Fame by Joan Marcus with endorsements from Martha Elliot, David Cooper, Jaqueline Leach, and Patricia Skebeck.
Bel Air Elementary
Church Creek Elementary
Forest Hill Elementary
Forest Lakes Elementary
Fountain Green Elementary
George D. Lisby Elementary at Hillsdale
Hall's Cross Roads Elementary
Havre de Grace Elementary
Homestead / Wakefield Elementary
John Archer School
The Judy Center at Magnolia Elementary
North Bend Elementary
North Harford Elementary
Prospect Mill Elementary
Red Pump Elementary
Ring Factory Elementary
William Paca \ Old Post Road Elementary
William S. James Elementary
Youth's Benefit Elementary
Aberdeen Middle School
Bel Air Middle School
Edgewood Middle School
Fallston Middle School
Havre de Grace Middle School
Magnolia Middle School
North Harford Middle School
Patterson Mill Middle School
Southampton Middle School
Aberdeen High School
Bel Air High School
C. Milton Wright High School
Edgewood High School
Fallston High School
Harford Technical High School
Havre de Grace High School
Joppatowne High School
North Harford High School
Patterson Mill High School
Harford Technical High School
Fallston Middle School
Hall's Cross Roads Elementary School
Homestead/Wakefield Elementary School
Currently on display as a part of the Countywide Student Art Exhibit I at the A.A. Roberty Building. 102 S. Hickory Avenue, Bel Air, MD 21014