2017 Education Hero!

Each year, the Ojai Education Foundation recognizes an individual for his / her outstanding service to public education. For the 2017 - 2018 school year, OEF is pleased to recognize Bill Wagner with this distinct honor!

Bill has served as the Director of the Music Department at Nordhoff High School for 30 years. Bill began teaching in Ojai in 1988, starting with only 10 students in the band and eight in the Choir. Today, the music department is recognized as one of the most musical and well-rounded small high school programs across the nation, supporting over 100 students per year!

A graduate from Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, Bill currently teaches Symphonic Band, String Orchestra, Gold 'n Blue Choir, Chamber Choir, Marching Band and Jazz Band at Nordhoff and Advanced Band at Matilija Junior High School. His students regularly earn top honors at regional and national festivals during their yearly spring tours, having performed in Vancouver, Canada, New Orleans, and four trips to New York City, including three Carnegie Hall performances, and an amazing 10-day tour of Austria and Germany!

The Nordhoff Music Department is also well known for producing quality musical theater. With the help of MAESTRO and a core group of outstanding production staff, the department continues to produce yearly musical theater successes. Bill has now directed from the pit for 25 musicals.  His love of sports also led him to help coach softball and the JV girls basketball team for seven years.

Bill describes his love of music this way,

"To watch the epiphany that comes from a depth of understanding and musical maturity is why I love to teach. After 30 years of  teaching, it is rewarding to have former students say you positively impacted their lives."


Bill was founding director of the Ojai Summer Band, Director of Ojai Camerata, Principal Trumpet with the Ojai Brass Quintet and Conejo Valley Symphony, Music Director at Holy Cross Lutheran Church and has sung with the Ventura and Los Robles Master Chorales. He is an active trumpet player, clinician and adjudicator throughout Southern California.

Bill is married to Anna Cho Wagner and together they are proud parents of six-year old Charlotte.

The Ojai Education Foundation is proud to honor Bill Wagner as our "Education Hero of the Year"!  Thank you Bill for sharing your extraordinary gifts of music and creativity with our youth and community of the Ojai Valley!