Interview: Miss Nancy Taylor

Miss Taylor, music teacher from River Oaks Elementry in Houston, Texas
An Interview with Miss Nancy Taylor

Former Music Teacher at River Oaks Elementary School
By Lucy Goodrich and Olivia Taylor

Miss Taylor, tell us about where you grew up, what schools you attended and what you did after high school?

“My family moved to Texas from Tennessee in 1935, and to Houston in 1939. I attended West University Elementary School, Pershing Junior High School and San Jacinto High School. I graduated from The University of Houston in 1952 majoring in music with a minor in education. My first teaching assignment was in Pearland, Texas, 3rd through the 12th grade music, which was an experience in itself. In my second year I was assigned to teach at River Oaks Elementary School. That was in 1953. My years at River Oaks Elementary School were the most productive, precious years of my teaching career. I loved the school, I loved the students, and I loved the teachers. Miss Todd was the ultimate principal. The River Oaks children were superbly talented students. The chorus groups presented programs, which were well received, and we were asked to perform before Texas and National Music Educators, as well as The Houston Grand Opera production of Puccini’s La Bohème.”

(Miss Taylor’s 1962 chorus group which performed before the Houston Grand Opera can be seen in Class Photos.)

Some of us saw you in Once Upon a Mattress; please tell us about that chapter in your life.

“At that time, I was teaching at River Oaks. I had seen the play in New York and I was cast in the Houston production at Theater, Inc. I enjoyed a lot of success with that show. I had been in other musical productions in Houston prior to Mattress. After that, I lived in New York and studied theater.”

Can you share with us recollections of the teachers at River Oaks Elementary:

“Principal Helen Todd: Miss Todd was a devoted principal, and I recall that without fail she stood in the front hall of the school welcoming each day each student, by name, and at the close of the school day, she bid them good afternoon. She was always there. She followed each student’s progress to make sure they reached their true potential. She was respected and loved by the teachers, the parents and the children.

Nancy ‘stopped the show’ in a 2004 Houston Musical,
click here to read more in a Houston Chronicle article