This week’s Hometown Hero, presented by Hendrick Southpoint, is Ann Daaleman.

Daaleman is stepping down after a long career as the orchestra teacher at Phillips Middle School, but that description is just the tip of the iceberg.

“She never stopped learning,” said Jamezetta Bedford. “She was always getting better and better as an instructor. So she’s a model for our other teachers.”

Bedford is an Orange County Commissioner, but previously served as a school board member and has seen firsthand Daaleman’s commitment to providing students with an opportunity for music education.

“Ann took it upon herself to get donations of instruments, get refurbished instruments, get local music shops to offer really cheap and donate some rentals for the year,” Bedford said. “It’s a lot of extra work for teachers, but they did it.”

James Barrett is another former school board member who has seen Daaleman’s work with her students.

“She’s creating lifelong skills and lifelong interests in music and learning that is just phenomenal,” he said.

In addition to her work in the classroom, Daaleman created a mentorship program at Phillips where students who graduated could come back and teach those that were still there.

Jack Welsby took orchestra at Phillips, became a mentor in high school and now studies music in college.

“Personally, Ms. Daaleman has been the best teacher I’ve ever had,” Welsby said. “She is an inspiration to me and has led me, and I know many others, to love and pursue music further. She’s really just been the most caring teacher that I’ve ever had just by her general kindness, but also the amount of effort that she puts into every one of her students to allow each student to really get out as much as they can.” does not charge subscription fees. You can support local journalism and our mission to serve the community. Contribute today – every single dollar matters.

Listen to this week’s three-part Hometown Hero segment, where Aaron Keck interviewed James Barrett, Jamezetta Bedford, Jack Welsby, Kaleigh Vogan, Margaret Samuels and Tania Tremi about their memories of Ann Daaleman at Phillips Middle School.

Featured image via Manifold Recording