Surprise Meet Your Neighbor: Amy Munro Lang-Crow
What is your title/occupation? As an educator I wear many hats. I have been the head spiritline coach and Professional Learning Community lead for performing arts. I am currently a dance teacher, head pom coach, fine arts instructional coordinator, peer mentor and district dance PLC lead.
What school or department do you work at? I work at Valley Vista High School in the fabulous Fine Arts department.
How long have you worked here? I am going into my 14th year.
What do you like most about your job? While I got into teaching dance for the love of dance, I soon discovered that I teach more than movement. What I like most about my job is what dance provides for the students. They learn to be confident, embrace their creativity, build their self-confidence and self-expression. Dance, with all of its inherent styles and spirit, encompasses the human experiences that will lead students to a deeper understanding of the other educational subjects. These ideals give me an internal motivation that propels me out of bed every morning in the hope that I can reach another child. Every day, I hope to give them the passion to discover and pursue the purposes of their heart.
What are you excited about on your campus/in your department and why? Who wouldn’t be excited about working at Valley Vista High School, an “Arizona Education Foundation A+ Award of Excellence” school? There are so many amazing administrators, faculty and staff at VVHS that work cohesively together and support one another that we consider ourselves a “Vamily.” Therefore, working with my “Vamily,” I am excited to see arts focus at Valley Vista and throughout the district. As well as, I will be able to work with a new dance teacher, Karlee Smithson (Brotherson), this year and look forward to growing the program, sharing ideas and being creative in our collaborative process throughout the year.
What do you like most about living here? I like that it has a small town feel but with big plans. I have lived in Surprise for the past 14 years and have seen continual growth in the schools. I have felt safe living in Surprise and the close connections I have made with others in my community make it feel like home. Lastly, the city has a beautiful view of the White Tank Mountains.
Favorite community cause and why? I have recently learned about the summer youth employment program. I appreciate that our community is working to help future generations gain work experience, access information and resources for jobs, acquire financial knowledge, and vocational skills to be successful in future careers.
When and why you moved here? It was as if all the stars aligned. I moved to Surprise to be one of the original teachers at Valley Vista High School. I was blessed in 2006 to start the dance and spiritline program. I interviewed a few days before I graduated from ASU and accepted the position a day before walking across the stage to collect my diploma.
Where you lived prior to moving? I was born in Michigan but went to high school at Red Mountain in Mesa. I was able to attend Arizona State University to acquire my bachelor’s of fine arts degree in dance education and spent four years in Tempe.
If you could pick another occupation, what would it be? Oh, it is a toss up. I highly considered becoming a lawyer. However, I secretly wanted to be a pop star.
What are your interests and hobbies? If I am not teaching, coaching or spending time with my son, I am at the gym. I still enjoy taking dance classes and will try new fitness classes on top of lifting. I love to read and would really like to have a library in my house one day. Lastly, I love to travel.
Who is in your family? My son Brayden is ten and is a Canyon Ridge Cougar.
Describe one of the happiest moments in your life: Besides the day my son was born because that seems like a given, I would say the 2016-2017 school year and pom line season. My pommies exceeded my expectations and I was able to watch years of building a program, hard work, dedication and goal setting all come to fruition when we won AIA State Championship and USA Nationals Championship in 2017. That same year I was given the Kathy Lindholm-Lane Dance Educator of the Year from Arizona Dance Education Organization, as well as, my Valley Vista family and Dysart Unified School District honored me with a Dysart Hero Award. I think that year will be forever embedded in my brain as to what it means to continue to do what you truly love.
What is your best and worst habit? I am not sure it is a habit so much as a personality trait, but I am a perfectionist or have obsessive compulsive disorder. I used to see it as a hindrance but I now feel it is what has made me proficient in the classroom.
What traits do you admire in others? I discuss integrity with my students and pommies often because I believe it covers so many character traits, such as honesty, loyalty and respect. With that said, I admire others who have a strong sense of integrity.
Who is a person that inspires you and why? My son. I can only hope to be as kind, inquisitive and passionate as he is. I believe it was Akiane Kramarik that stated, “If we experienced life through the eyes of a child, everything would be magical and extraordinary. Let our curiosity, adventure and wonder of life never end.”
What is your guiding philosophy? Trust the process and enjoy the journey.
What is your advice for today’s youth? Be confident in the decisions you make. Choose your words wisely. Reflect upon the positives and the negatives every day. Take responsibility for your choices, and honesty is still and always will be the best policy.