Music Educator Makes Learning Magical
Greg Sneed ’07, a middle school vice principal in the Perth Amboy School District in New Jersey, says his challenging childhood life experiences were a blessing in disguise. The Lebanon Valley College music education alumnus chose a career in education to help local youth overcome obstacles similar to those he faced as an adolescent, including family changes and a lack of stability.
“Seeing myself in the students is the substance behind my passion for education,” Sneed said. “Like my upbringing, many of the students come from single-family households and have had adverse childhood experiences.”
Sneed believes listening to his students and allowing them to express what they encounter in and out of school is necessary for their overall success. He reaches out to them with resourcefulness and empathy to show he cares and believes they can succeed.
“I help them to look beneath the surface and analyze the core of what is happening,” he said. “Too often, when facing adversity, my students forget their strengths and do not give themselves affirmation for what they contribute and endure daily.”
“We share the same ambition to succeed and support our families in the best ways. How that occurs is the main challenge that my students face,” Sneed said. “Like them, going to college and having a career was a personal aspiration.”
Sneed discovered LVC and an interest in music through his high school band director, Willy Carmona ’98, in his junior year of high school.
“Willy shared his experiences as a musician and student,” Sneed said. “I sat in with the LVC touring jazz band at the time and immediately developed a rapport with the director, Mr. Tom Strohman ’75.”
He felt genuinely prepared for his student teaching and his career path because of how his professors approached student learning with a hands-on, practical approach.
“The professors were true educators in every sense of the word,” Sneed said. “They knew their profession and how to teach effectively.”
After graduating from LVC, Sneed taught in the Newark Public Schools in New Jersey for nine years and then in neighboring East Orange. At the same time, he completed his graduate studies in educational administration and supervision at Montclair State University, paving the way for his current leadership role.
“As an educator, the greatest honor is to be given the responsibility to encourage young people to open their minds, gain knowledge, have patience, and to be understanding,” Sneed said. “This crucial foundation in their development is what makes learning magical, and more importantly, brings positive wonder into the world that is life-changing.”