Departing Teacher: Shawn Costantino

Upper School Performing Arts Chair Shawn Costantino will depart after 14 years of teaching instrumental music to become the founding Head of Arts at Ransom Everglades School in Miami. Costantino directed all of the bands, jazz combos and smaller audition-only jazz groups at the Upper School. He said his favorite part of working at the school was collaborating with talented students and traveling across the world to share music.

“I love how engaged [students] are and how much they truly love to learn, grow and be excellent,” Costantino said. “My favorite memories are of some of the tours that I have taken the bands on. My favorite tours were to Argentina and Italy, but all of the trips were so unbelievable.”

Aerin Duke ’23, who  was in Costantino’s Wind Ensemble course, said Costantino was able to design creative assignments for students and make the most of the virtual format this year.

“Though [Wind Ensemble class] was on Zoom, Mr. Costantino made it fun with jokes and a lighthearted spirit,” Duke said. “He completely met the challenge of keeping us all engaged throughout the [class].”

Costantino made the most of online learning

Studio Jazz Band member Neha Tummala ’23 said Costantino helped her feel more comfortable during an unusual year.

“As a musician who is new to the jazz program, he has been nothing but warm and welcoming to me,” Tummala said. “Despite the difficult circumstances of remote learning, Mr. Costantino has made this year a meaningful experience, which I am so grateful for. I will absolutely miss having him as a teacher and mentor.”

When asked whether he had any other thoughts to share as he leaves, Costantino expressed gratitude toward various community members.

“I’d like to add a special note of thanks to all of my colleagues over the years,” Costantino said.

“This school has amazing teachers, coaches and staff. From the President of [Harvard-Westlake] to everyone on the maintenance team, there are simply amazing human beings at this school, all of whom I will miss dearly.”