Boltz is partnering with the CSU Music Department's teacher prep program to send all up and coming Music teachers through Boltz's Music Lab. This gives aspiring teachers the opportunity to work and learn hand in hand with Phuong Nguyen, Melissa Claeys and Chris Thompson. Collaboration with CSU has existed for years in the teacher prep program, and this gives yet another opportunity for CSU music students to learn from the best of the best.
Melissa Claeys has been teaching for 21 years, and has been the Orchestra Director at Boltz Middle School since 2014. Prior to this position, her career has spanned all three levels of instrumental music. She has directed groups at the elementary, middle school and high school level. At all levels, her groups have a history of receiving Superior ratings at festivals and achieving prestigious honors and championship awards at both the State and National level. Mrs. Claeys received her Bachelor of Music Education and Performance degrees from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO in 2003. She graduated Summa Cum Laude and received the Educator of the Year Award in Music. In 2008 she received a Master’s Degree in Integrated Arts Education from the University of Montana. Earning this degree allowed her to become more educated in other passions of hers as a performing arts educator which includes dance, drama and music collectively.
Not only is Mrs. Claeys a music teacher, but she is a dance instructor as well, currently teaching one of the few middle school dance programs in Poudre School District. Currently, she is also the choreographer for the Boltz Middle School Musical Theater program.
Aside from teaching music, Melissa Claeys’ other passions revolve around being a wife to her husband Jason, and mom to her three children, Emmalene (10), Annaliese (7) and Remington (4). As a family, they enjoy spending time outside on their boat up at Horsetooth Reservoir, scuba diving and just living life to the fullest—together.
Mr. Dai-Phuong Nguyen received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Colorado State University and learned from such greats as Dr. Charles Lawson, Dr. Gary Moody, and Dr. J. Steven Moore. He also received his Masters of Music in Conducting at Colorado State University, studying with Peter Sommer, Wes Kenney, and Dr. J. Steven Moore. While at CSU, Phuong was awarded the David Paul Knight Scholarship for Jazz, the Award of Highest Distinction at the CSU Research and Creativity Symposium, and was a Senior Honors Recital recipient. Phuong currently plays saxophone and performs with the Fort Collins Wind Symphony, Twelve Cents for Marvin, Choice City Seven, the Fort Collins Jazz Friends as well as a slew of side projects. With more than 20 years of experience performing in Colorado rock/jazz/ska/reggae bands, he has performed with famous rock bands, Vietnamese pop stars, and has even starred in a few short films! Aside from guest-conducting clinics and teaching at Boltz Middle School (the best middle school in the world!), Mr. Nguyen also teaches private lessons and coaches students in the Youth Music Collective, a group of high school rock musicians from all over Fort Collins. Phuong currently lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with his beautiful wife Nicole Wilshusen and two lovely daughters, Claire and Ella. He likes to hike, ride motorcycles, snowboard, play basketball, and watch cheesy action movies. Oh, and he's a huge Star Wars nerd.
Mr. Chris Thompson received his Bachelor in Music Education from Colorado State University, and his Masters of Music in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University. He is the new Choir and Drama Teacher at Boltz Middle School in Fort Collins. Prior to being at Boltz, Chris taught at the Vail Mountain School, Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village, CO., Haltom High School in Birdville, TX., Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, MD, and most recently Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins. He has been active in the Colorado Ambassadors of Music and has sung with Alpine Chorale, St. Martin’s Chamber Choir, NoCo Singers and is regularly involved in music at church. Chris lives in Fort Collins with his wife Elissa, son Henry, daughter Isla and their dogs and cat. The family enjoys the outdoors, visiting family across the country, and running.