Goodbye, BJ!


As June approaches, students across the school look forward to a relief from the stress they’ve been straining under since September. But the end of the school year also marks the end of some people’s time at MCDS. And sadly, this May will be BJ Testler’s last month here at Country Day.

Billy Joe Teltsher (mostly known as BJ) has been with Miami Country Day School for 30 years. You see him all over school – participating in musical events, being a guest speaker for public speaking, or coaching the girls varsity softball team. Every year BJ has looked forward to seeing how everyone has progressed and changed over the summer, and catching up with his fellow faculty members. But all that will change next year.

BJ is now taking on an activity that he has long set on the back burner – he’s beginning his acting career! He has really thought about it the last few years while he works with Mr. Wicker and CME on musical performances. He has used those opportunities as practice and motivation for his acting career. B.J.’s first action is to find an agent who will really take care of him and set him on the right course, and find him good opportunities. Another course of action he is taking, is getting his body back into shape to be an actor, to help him against all the other competition out there.

Some students might not know BJ’s worst kept secret – he’s a closeted scifi nerd. BJ loves shows like Arrow and The Walking Dead and regularly reads X-Men comics. B.J. was 19 when he started coaching here at MCDS, and he began by coaching some of the kids he used to play with on the varsity football team. BJ said that the hardest part about the transition between being a student and then a faculty member was calling his old teachers by their first names.

After coaching here for many years and leading the teams to hundreds of wins, BJ was promoted to Assistant Athletic Director. But he wasn’t content to limit his expertise to the field. Five years ago, BJ started working with Mr. Wicker, CME, and the fledgling 21 Hearts 1 Beat in the music program. When asked what he would miss about Country Day, BJ was quick to say that he’d miss the music program the most – as well as his coworkers. “The students here amaze me. It’s wonderful to be around here. And everyone is so helpful – I’m just thankful I’ve been able to be here.”

Though BJ didn’t do much with the music program during his time as a student here, he’s become incredibly important to many of the students there. During their annual end of year concert, sophomore Rebecca Fulford tried to explain how much BJ had meant to her. “He has been not only a great musician but also a great friend,” she wrote. “I’ve known BJ for what feels like forever. He has been like a brother to me and it’s heartbreaking to see him leave. He is going to be pursuing his dreams of becoming an actor. I know how talented and funny he is, and I bet he will be great.” Unfortunately, Rebecca was too overcome with emotion, and another performer had to finish her speech. It was clear to everyone watching, however, that BJ had made a huge impact on her, and Mr. Wicker, who spoke about how close they had become during their time together in the music program and on their movie dates.

Though he’ll surely be remembered as a coach and a music teacher, BJ has also been a friend to hundreds of students who have passed through Country Day. Though his memorable appearances in sparkly dresses during CME performances may stop, the influence he’s had on the students who perform on that stage and play on the field may never end. And, thankfully, he won’t be gone for good – he plans to return and watch a few musical events, watch some baseball, softball, basketball, swim meets, water polo, football, and maybe a lacrosse game. Wherever he goes, we hope he knows that everyone on campus wishes him the best of luck.