Staff Spotlight: Phillip Sylvester


A new orchestra teacher has been welcomed into the Chelsea School District. Replacing Jed Fritzemeier as the CHS orchestra director is Phillip Sylvester. Sylvester previously taught at Rochester middle school as a long term substitute and has gained conducting experience through multiple orchestra programs outside of different school districts.

Mr. Sylvester is adjusting to teaching in Chelsea and says he finds it “very exciting to move from [teaching at] the high school straight to [teaching] fifth graders” and that “it’s been extremely helpful to have Mr. Peters” to help him out. He says that “positive encouragement” is an important aspect of his teaching style for all the grades. Sylvester expressed that he “plans to continue to build on the success of Chelsea’s orchestra program for a long time.” Mr. Sylvester has also taken on the Chelsea House Orchestra (CHO) and is very excited about the opportunity.

Outside of school he enjoys rock climbing and eating at Zou Zou’s. He has also tried the new bike trails and thinks that they’re awesome. Sylvester says that his perception of Chelsea so far is very positive and that we have “an absolutely beautiful community of people who are very welcoming and care about each other.”

Mr. Sylvester’s words of advice for CHS students is “there’s always going to be time to watch TV, but don’t waste your time in high school doing things you’re not completely passionate about.” Mr. Sylvester says he himself explored many career options before deciding on teaching, including computer programming, music composition, and violin performance.

When asked about his life before teaching, Sylvester recalls that “I went to Blue Lake International and that’s when I decided I wanted to teach, because of the people that I met and the experiences I had.” Sylvester hopes to continue spreading positive music experiences like the ones he has fond memories of.

A few concert orchestra students describe Mr. Sylvester as “really enthusiastic, funny, and not too strict of a teacher.” Mr. Sylvester says “I hope to get to know the students much better, whether or not they’re in the orchestra program. I hope they’ll come to meet me at some point because I can try to learn names through the yearbook, but I want to also build relationships based on interactions.”