Behind the Apple -- Daniel Neikirk, Rollings Middle School of the Arts
“I didn’t want every day to be the same ... I didn’t want to work in a cubicle.”
So Daniel Neikirk, 30, of Summerville became a teacher. Far from a cubicle, Neikirk spends his days making music with his students. He is the band director and co-orchestra director at Rollings Middle School of the Arts.
Growing up in Western Pennsylvania, Neikirk earned a BSEd in music education and is currently working on his master’s in secondary ed administration at Charleston Southern.
Neikirk, whose dad is a college professor of political science, has been teaching for eight years. He began his career at New Brighton High School in Pennsylvania. From there he went to Woodland High in St. George, then he came to Dorchester District 2 serving three schools – River Oaks, Oakbrook Middle and FDHS.
When ARHS opened he went there for a year and then back to FDHS/River Oaks.
Finally he landed at Rollings where he has been for three years while still serving as assistant at FDHS. It’s a heavy load. Between July and November, he says, he works six days a week from 3 to 7 p.m. and on weekends until 11 p.m. when there is a game.
Oh, and he teaches during the day.
But, he says, “there is nothing more fun than teaching … not even white water rafting!”
Each of his classes is actually a small band. Each plays its own concerts which keeps his day varied and interesting.
In addition to teaching, he is the chair of the fine arts department, is often in charge of scheduling and covering evening events, and has taken on the school beautification club. He has been a finalist for school Teacher of the Year.
His worst experience, he recalls, was at a different district when students, who didn’t want to be in school, sprayed pepper spray in the halls so they could go home.
His best experience was at the same district where he had a student who never knew who her parents were, but while her peers were happy to sit back after high school and collect a check, she was determined to become a lawyer. “We all helped her achieve her goal,” says Neikirk. The student became a lawyer and still keeps in touch.
His professional goal, he says, is for “the kids I teach to keep making music.”
Neikirk says he plays “all” instruments although he majored in the euphonium.
He and his wife Amanda are parents to Aileen, who is a year and half, and Ari, a 5-year-old German Shepard.
He enjoys white water rafting and kayaking for which he travels to Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia. He used play rugby in Charleston to relax, and plays soccer with the Summerville Soccer Club. His spare time is filled with house renovations, reading, walks in the woods and playing with his daughter and dog.
He loves to cook and “yeah,” he says he’s pretty good at it.
He and his wife enjoy traveling and are looking forward to going to Italy over Spring Break with a group of students.
He used to sing in college with the singing group Newsong and toured the U.S., Canada and China. He’s a bass.
His life goal is simple – to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.