Orchestra director Tom Schnabel is announcing his candidacy for the Jackson
Township seat on the Duneland School Board.
from Terre Haute South Vigo HS in 1980, then attended Ball State University
where he received his Bachelor’s degree in 1983. He taught orchestra briefly
at Willowcreek MS in Portage, until hiring into the Duneland Schools in
1985. During his career in the Duneland Schools, Schabel was twice honored
as Outstanding Music Alumni from BSU and later received the Lifetime
Achievement Award from the Indiana American String Teachers Association.
While teaching at CHS, Schnabel led his orchestras to the ISSMA State Finals
three times and once to a fourth-place finish. Schnabel retired in 2017,
after a 32-year career.
Schnabel is now a
sought-after guest conductor of middle school orchestra festivals around the
state as well as judge of music contests. As a cellist he often plays at
church and freelances in the region after many years with the Northwest
Indiana Symphony and the LaPorte County Symphony.
Schnabel has long
been active in the community, serving five years on the Youth for Christ
Board of Directors and four years on the Porter County Parks and Recreation
Board. He and his wife, Cindy, co-founded and co-directed Summer Symphony, a
summer orchestra for Porter County youth, and in 2017 he founded the
Northwest Indiana Rusty Strings, a non-audition adult group of local amateur
players which meets once a week. Schnabel also served six years as an
assistant coach of the Chesterton Middle School cross country team; and
another six years as assistant coach of the CHS girls golf team.
currently filling the Jackson Township seat on the Duneland School Board on
an interim basis.
he provides the School Board with a broad and valuable perspective, that of
a teacher who taught grades 5-12 and in multiple school buildings every year
of his career. Schnabel strives in particular to contribute to the School
Board as a team player and a consensus builder.
Schools have been good to me and my family,” Schnabel said in a statement
released today to the Chesterton Tribune. “We made our home here and
the schools have always been our home. So when several colleagues encouraged
me to apply for the interim position on the School Board, I was glad to help
out and hoped my experience and broad knowledge of the Duneland Schools
would be an asset. Now, in these challenging times, when difficult decisions
will need to be made, I am committed to doing my part to guide our education
community all the way through, and at the same time to maintain the
excellence which our schools are known for throughout the region.”
Schnabel has been
married 37 years to his wife, Cindy, a violinist, who was a highly respected
local orchestra director in her own right. Together they have been active at
Liberty Bible Church for 27 years, serving in the music ministry and leading
and participating in Bible studies as well as on various committees. They
have two adult children who are CHS graduates.