Music Department Chair Jeanie Oxler is in her 19th year at TJC, and enjoys every minute of teaching, whether inside or outside the classroom.
It is difficult to image the gifted singer and dedicated professor had a very humble upbringing in the Texas Hill Country, but Jeanie Oxler would not change the journey that eventually led her to a successful career as a music professor and department chair at Tyler Junior College.
Growing up the youngest of seven children in Bandera, Texas, Oxler took piano lessons to fulfill her mother’s desire to have a concert pianist in the family. As a child, she began singing with her father who took her to churches, nursing homes, resorts and other places to perform. For 10 summers during high school and college, she performed at a dude ranch resort singing anything from pop and 50s and 60s music to country & western and cowboy musicals.
After high school, Oxler attended Texas Tech on a piano scholarship, but soon decided to change her major to voice. She was dealt a surprising blow when she was told she was not good enough to obtain a degree in voice and would never be able to teach music. Determined to realize her goal, she transferred to Hardin Simmons University where she received her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance. She went on to earn her master’s degree from Indiana University, one of the top five music schools in the nation.
Jeanie Oxler is pictured at her piano in Wise Cultural Arts.
Oxler credits her mother for encouraging her to become the first person in her family to receive a college education, but also credits her mother for things she learned outside of the classroom. “Mom made sure I had money to go out to eat with friends to learn social etiquette in addition to what I was learning in school,” she said. “Education was always something she pushed. There is so much more to learn in college than what is in the classroom.”
“Everything I have experienced growing up and all through college has made me who I am today and helps me to teach my students. I am able to understand what it’s like to struggle because I struggled. I know what it’s like to be far away from home when attending college.”
“I love the community of TJC and the students we teach. I love the ability of taking somebody with very little experience -- like I had -- and seeing what they can become,” she added.
Students have recognized Oxler’s passion for teaching and expressed their thanks. Former student Brittany Roberts-Thompson said, “My vocal ability has grown more than I ever thought it could. I never thought my range could develop the way it has. I have you to thank for the knowledge and confidence I needed to accomplish that.”
Another student, Jeanette Peterson, added, “Not only have you made me a better singer, but a better person.”
TJC’s President for Branch Locations and District Provost Dr. Juan E. Mejia presents Jeanie Oxler with the the Watson W. Wise Foundation Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence award in 2018.
In addition to her duties as department chair, Oxler teaches voice, ear-training, honors music appreciation and Italian diction. Earlier this year, she was awarded The Watson W. Wise Foundation Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence. The TJC Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence program enables professors to nominate and reward their peers who demonstrate outstanding work as educators.
TJC’s President for Branch Locations and District Provost Dr. Juan E. Mejia said, “Chair and Professor Oxler is known throughout our institution for her leadership, for being an expert in her academic field, and for her commitment to student success, and the entire College community joins in celebrating her being recognized.”
“Jeanie Oxler is a distinguished musician who brings stellar leadership skills to her role as the Department Chair for Music,” said Dr. Linda Gary, dean of the School of Humanities, Communications and Fine Arts. “Creative, insightful, and spirited, she is a consummate professional in all situations and with all people. We are fortunate to have someone of Jeanie Oxler’s caliber at Tyler Junior College.”
Oxler enjoys spending time with her husband Matt and their four children: Anastasia, Gabriel, Maggie and Austin. They are very active in the Catholic Church where she serves as minister of music.
Oxler feels this is a great time to work at TJC. “The leadership and the growth in thinking make it a fun place to be right now,” she said.