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By Darcy DeGuise
Special to The PREVIEW
As a fairly fresh transplant to our quaint, little town, it is no surprise to me that people love it here. We have mountains to hike and ski and rivers to cruise, but our most valuable resource is the people who make our community successful: the people who run our restaurants and who patrol our ski area, the people who strive to find ways to build our future with clean energy, and the people who invest in our most valuable and beneficial resource, our children.
Malinda Fultz, the newest member of the Pagosa Springs Middle School faculty, is such a person.
No stranger to town, Malinda is a third-generation Pagosan. Having graduated from the high school in 2007, Malinda now teaches in the building directly across a parking lot from where her grandparents first learned.
She joined the middle school staff only a couple of weeks before the start of this school year, and certainly experienced a kind of deja vu when she walked into the band room, still covered from corner to corner in orange carpeting.
It seems apropos that Malinda now teaches in the very room where she first discovered her life’s calling.
The Fultz family has always had an affinity for music: Malinda’s mom played piano and Malinda even dappled in guitar before gravitating to the saxophone in fifth grade. But it was her grandmother’s collection of ’50s and ’60s rock n’ roll that solidified Malinda’s desire to become a musician.
Throughout high school, she grew her “musical chops” by involving herself in both high school musicals and Curtains Up, Pagosa (formerly Music Boosters) productions such as “Seussical: The Musical” and “Peter Pan.”
It was at Fort Lewis College where she was prompted by one of her professors to pursue teaching, where all the years of appreciation and performing music gelled.
Today, Malinda keeps herself busy as a member of the community choir and the community band, as well as the Southwest Civic Winds, a community ensemble based in Durango. She teaches a mix of instrumental and general music at the middle school and her goal is to add a middle school Americana class and a choir class to her resume in the future. Her eager ebullience is palpable when she talks about her goals as a teacher.
“Giving kids an opportunity to be inspired and to inspire through music,” is what she says her job is all about.