I had a lot of fun interviewing this couple on the phone. Their passion for what they do was great to hear!
Chandler couple followed their dreams to Grand Canyon University
Published in SanTan Sun News March 1, 2014 issue
A true love story blossomed as two passionate former Arizona State University students followed their dreams, eventually landing jobs at the same school, Grand Canyon University, and settling in Chandler.
“Instead of working at a restaurant or flipping burgers, I wanted to spend my time to further my career in teaching music,” Paul says.
He was doing just that when he met his bride to be, Jacque.
Jacque, who earned a geography degree from Arizona State University before obtaining a master’s degree in education, was also at McClintock High teaching the dance team. One day after rehearsal, Jacque stopped by Paul’s offi ce to ask him out to lunch, but he was not there.
“Our first date was Sept. 1, 2000, at the Chili’s on the corner of Apache and Mill Avenue and it started from there,” Paul says.
Jacque says they joke that they met at band camp.
“I was finishing my undergrad and he was starting his master’s degree,” Jacque says. “It was a good thing for us.”
As he finished his master’s degree, he spent six to 12 hours at a time practicing.
“When I started thinking of her more than my passion, (I thought) maybe this is the one,” he says.
Paul soon set aside time for practicing and Jacque.
“I asked her to marry me,” he says.
During the years, their careers and family grew as they had one son.
“When I graduated, a high school got a hold of me and asked if I would come and coach with a dance team,” Jacque says. “It was a great experience. My first coaching position was his first instructor position.”
Paul first taught at Hamilton High School and then transferred to Perry High School once it opened.
“Our goal was both of us were going to be at Perry High School,” he says. “We wanted to be in the same spot, either in the West Valley or East Valley.”
Unfortunately the plans did not pan out the way they hoped. Jacque was hired by Basha High School to work with the dance team. The couple was still happy because they were now teaching in the same school district.
Paul and Jacque’s careers intermingle
“I always wanted to teach college,” Paul explains.
However, he wanted to gain experience at the high school level before he began teaching college.
“When the position opened, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t selfish.”
He took the position, instrumental professor of music and director of the Thundering Herd Pep Band. He also conducts the wind ensemble, Thunder Big Band, percussion studio and music education classes at the university.
Paul soon learned that the dance instructor at Grand Canyon University was possibly leaving, which provided the chance for the couple to teach at the same school.
He says his wife says “I’m all in, let’s do it.”
“Things were happening that we were supposed to do,” Jacque says. “It makes sense that we are both at Grand Canyon and do what we both love to do together.”
Paul says they felt accepting positions at Grand Canyon University was the right direction.
“We really felt like this was the direction that God wanted us to go,” Paul says.
She took the dance coach position in September 2013, which she explains as a really big task due to the three rehearsals a week, as well as games.
In addition to being the coach, she also works with the dance education program. Jacque says she started supervising the dance student teachers by evaluating them and supporting them out in the fi eld.
“I have six of them this semester,” she says of the student teachers.
Jacque is also the sponsor for the National Honors Society for Professional Dance Art.
Although she wears many hats, she says none of it feels like a job.
The couple work together creating performances for Grand Canyon University basketball games. Paul does the music, while Jacque choreographs routines for the dance team.
Paul says the university’s administration wanted the atmosphere to change at the basketball games. Paul selects music that will keep the crowd entertained with the hopes of keeping them there until the end of the game.
“The faster the tune is, the more energy it has,” Paul says.
At the beginning of the game, Jacque says they decide on what songs will be used, as well as what choreography she has prepared with her dancers for each song.
The challenging aspect for the couple is choosing a tempo the dancers can perform to.
Jacque says she can be pretty straightforward with Paul when the song will not work.
“We are both really respectful of each other,” she says.
Paul says he and his wife constantly communicate about the songs’ tempo. The couple loves to work together.
“Right now I’m loving the fact that it is something that my family does all together,” Jacque says. “Our job happens during the weekend and at night and it happens all the time.”
Their 7-year-old son is the ball boy for the basketball team, therefore involving him as well.
“It’s something we can all do together,” Jacque says of the basketball games. “All three of us are really in it.”
The next basketball is 7 p.m. Saturday, March 1, against Chicago State. Tickets are $5 for general public seating and $15 for a family four pack, which includes popcorn and drinks.