Jon Sever, Bloomingdale High School’s music department head and band director for the last 19 years, is leaving Bloomingdale for a position with the Hillsborough County School District. Sever will be supervising all of the music in Hillsborough County for grades six through 12 as the supervisor of secondary music for Hillsborough County schools.
Sever announced his departure at the school on February 9, calling all current band and guard members to the auditorium to share his promotion. Understandably, his announcement was met with mixed emotions — lots of tears and gratefulness.
Bloomingdale Principal Dr. Marcos Rodriguez said Sever is an incredible band director for many reasons.
“He takes the time to get to know his students and families, which allows him to create long-lasting relationships with anyone in the program. His passion and love for music are infectious,” Dr. Rodriguez said.
Passion is what led Sever to become a high school music director.
“I always ask the kids what their relationship is with music. It is very much like a relationship with a human being. Are you friends? Are you more than friends? Do you use music? Are you deeply committed? My relationship with music is a deep commitment,” Sever said.
His commitment developed early in his life. He says he struggled in high school and music saved him. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in music and master’s in music education from Florida State University.
“I know what I wanted to do in college, and to be honest, if I couldn’t find a high school job, I wasn’t just going to take a job because my heart wasn’t going to be in it,” Sever said.
Passion and dedication are cornerstones for Bloomingdale High School’s band. The Bloomingdale High School Rajun’ Bull Band has had straight ‘Superior’ ratings at Marching Band Music Performance Assessments (MPAs) since the school opened in 1987.
Ted Hope was the first band director at the school. He left Bloomingdale after 17 years to take the position of supervisor of secondary music for Hillsborough County schools — the very position that Sever is taking after being the Bloomingdale’s band director for 19 years.
“Jon was hired at Bloomingdale High School because we shared similar philosophies. Kids always came first, and eventually everything else lines up accordingly,” Hope said.
If asked what he will miss most after taking his new position, there is no hesitation from Sever: “The kids, 100 percent.”
Sue Burkett, Hillsborough County chief of schools and Bloomingdale principal from 2013-20, said Sever “gets it.” He gets kids and the structure needed to lead within music education.
“There is no way that Bloomingdale can absorb the impact of Jon Sever in that building and with the band. The good thing is, he will still be working with music education for the district, and I highly doubt he will allow his successor to be anything but superior,” Burkett said.