Call it an early homecoming.
The Malta Bend Board of Education approved at its meeting Thursday, Sept. 13, the re-hiring of long-time music teacher and fixture of the area music scene Michael Williams.
Williams taught music at Malta Bend for nine years before taking a position in the Slater school district in 2005.
After retiring recently from Slater, he decided to offer his services to his old school.
"I really hated leaving two years ago," he said, noting that it was no secret the reason for his departure was a lack of insurance benefits at Malta Bend. "I enjoyed Slater but I missed here. I love Malta Bend."
Williams said he especially missed teaching elementary students and enjoyed watching them grow and develop musically through the years.
He said he planned to take students to area music competitions but also wants to reinstate local traditions, including periodic school concerts and talent shows.
"I really am jazzed about the possibilities," he said.
The board readily accepted his offer and several board members praised Williams for his earlier work and influence.
"The kids like him," said Doreena Forqueran. "I can personally vouch for him."
She noted that her daughter had taken lessons from Williams at an early age.
Board President Art Madden said hiring Williams should send a message to students and parents in the district about the direction the administration and board are taking.
"We've just hired someone who really cares about students," he said.
Superintendent Melissa Vesser also had praise for Linda Goodman, an aide at the school who pitched in to keep the music program going after the departure of Band Director James Duncan last year.
"Linda has done a fabulous job," she said. "I would like to commend her for her hard work in the music room."
Goodman will remain employed but will have her duties adjusted, Vesser said.
Williams taught in Kansas City, Kan., for 20 years and a year in Blue Springs, earning his master's degree in 1980.
He sings and plays clarinet, cello and bells. He is a long-time member of the Marshall Municipal Band, the Marshall Philharmonic and area church choirs. He is a co-director of summer musical productions in the Marshall school district and assists with Missouri Valley College productions.
He is currently part of Goforth, a local gospel band.
Contact Eric Crump at