Lynne Jackson was born in Battle Creek, Michigan in 1948, the first born child to William Henry and Virginia Lee Jackson. Lynne was surrounded by strong women including her Aunt Geraldine and her two grandmothers. Grandma Gladys ran an insurance agency in Battle Creek until the age of seventy-five and lived just short of her ninety-ninth birthday. Lynne likes to think that her grandmothers lovingly watch after her to this day.
Lynne started playing on her Conn Pan-American model cornet in the fifth grade in St. Joseph Michigan. Larry Ernst was her first teacher and after just two years, Dad moved the family to the little town of Buchanan, Michigan where Lynne became inspired by her band directors, Russell D. Reed and Dixie Detgen. Lynne is forever grateful to the little town of Buchanan as it was a great place to grow and learn from wonderful teachers, neighbors, and friends. There was a bevy of inspired musicians of that era in Buchanan to whom Russ taught winds, strings and music theory. He helped Lynne gain admission to his alma mater, the University of Michigan, where she began her adventures as a music education major.
As a freshman, Lynne was seated in the University of Michigan Symphony Band directed by Dr. William D. Revelli, where she remained until graduation. There are some great stories to share from that time! Guests of the Symphony Band included Alfred Reed, Vaclav Nelhybel, and Karel Husa. Lynne studied trumpet with Walter Chestnut, Leonard B. Smith and Clifford Lillya, who were all pretty terrific teachers, each in their own way. Lynne had no aspirations to be a professional trumpeter, as she had always wanted to become a teacher. The classes taught by Elizabeth A.H. Green were particularly meaningful and inspiring. “Ma Green” was a huge influence upon Lynne.
In 1970, Lynne’s first teaching job was in Niles, Michigan, as the Brandywine Junior High band director and high school flag corps instructor. She worked with Tom Wentworth and learned a lot. After one year she moved on to the River Valley Schools in Sawyer, Michigan, where she met Jeff Cole who became her colleague and consequently her oldest and dearest friend. To this day, Jeff is one of the strongest influences to Lynne’s happiness and well-being. Jeff encouraged Lynne to start her master’s degree at the Vandercook College of Music in Chicago. Together they studied with Hubert E. Nutt, Haskell Harr, Forrest Buchtel, John Beckerman, Daniel Tkach and Lynne’s favorite, Victor Zajec. Fun times were had and wonderful friendships were forged at Vandercook.
Lynne and Jeff attended the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic (as it was known at that time) each December in Chicago. After hearing the Texas-based Lake Highlands band from Richardson ISD under the direction of Eddie Green, they were convinced something “BIG” was goin’ on in Texas! On Labor Day 1977, Lynne’s phone rang and it was Dr. Michael Mamminga who offered her an opportunity to teach in Richardson. Two days later she loaded her Buick (after all, it was Michigan) with her clothes, her trumpet, and her Mr. Coffee and headed to Texas.
Lynne’s first teaching assignment in Richardson was as an assistant director to Billie Nero in the JJ Pearce cluster at Richardson North Junior High. There she started to learn the “Texas ways,” some good and some perhaps not so good. She met many dear friends, who later became very significant influences for her including, Claire Johnson, Malcolm Helm, Jim Irwin, Eddie Green, Joe Dixon, Bob Johnson, Robert Floyd, Jerry Brumbaugh and a nineteen-year-old named Frank Troyka.
1978 brought a new “sheriff” into town as Tom Bennett became the head director at JJ Pearce. A year later, Tom appointed Lynne as the head director at Parkhill Junior High, a new school in the Pearce area. As the years passed, Lynne fell in love with her Parkhill students and forged strong relationships with teachers and parents. Tom Bennett’s wife, Susie, a math teacher at Parkhill, became a dear friend. Matthew and Judy McInturf and Peter Warshaw joined the Pearce cluster along with Marion West and Steve Madsen. Many great times were had with this crew! Everyone was working hard and the Pearce area thrived.
Along with the move to Parkhill came the additional responsibility of becoming the Pearce flag corps instructor. The flag corps, as it was known at that time, started out being a tough “gig” for Lynne, but soon evolved into a rewarding experience that would result in a lifetime of friendship among the girls and for Lynne as well. These lovely women, now in their forties, remain one of the greatest highlights of her teaching career!
In 1986, Matthew McInturf, now the JJ Pearce head director, persuaded Lynne to come work alongside him and Peter Warshaw. This became one of the best decisions Lynne ever made! The mentorship and friendship of these two incredible men inspired growth for Lynne. Lynne considers her time with Matthew and Peter life changing as she experienced an elevated passion for teaching through the great literature that was taught and performed at Pearce during this era. Dear friends, Charlene Nelson, Jeff Bridges, Mike Kraman, Penny Peak and Amy Burgess joined the team as the tradition of excellence continued. Collectively, Lynne taught twenty-six years in the Pearce area, retiring from Richardson North Junior High in 2003.
But wait! She did not retire. A fantastic half-time position opened in Plano at Robinson Middle School. For six years, Lynne taught sixth-grade brass classes and worked closely with Kimberly Hernandez, a terrific teacher who soon became a dear friend. Four years in a first-year teacher, Ross Patterson, was hired to be the assistant band director. Lynne, who was now teaching instrument method classes at SMU, was inspired by Ross who wanted to know and learn everything. Her direction began to shift toward mentoring, thanks to Ross and his tremendous enthusiasm and influence.
Fast forward to 2016. Lynne has now taught at SMU for twelve years and has been teaching in the Berkner area of the Richardson ISD for the past seven years. The Berkner band program is able to serve as a “living laboratory” for SMU music education students. Lynne’s title is Mentor Teacher to the band staff and students of the Berkner cluster. The brilliant idea for this design was inspired in 2008 by Frank Troyka, at that time, Director of Bands at Berkner High School. Frank, Lynne and the very young Chris Pineda and Andrew Weak were able to see an opportunity within the challenges that faced the program. Together, the humble team of teachers at Berkner, Liberty Junior High, and Apollo Junior High has worked diligently to create a vertically aligned curriculum for their students through a horizontally aligned effort that includes intense overtones of sharing, camaraderie and love. Often, Lynne is told that she has the “dream job” and she most heartily agrees!
Lynne would like to thank “Team Berkner:” Frank Troyka, Chris Pineda, Christopher Bronson, David Becker, Andrew Weak, Jason Schayot, Anna Gulick, Steven Torrence, Kimberly McCutcheon, Michael Garcia, Loreal Riker, Emmy Ramos and Stephen Van Hooser. Also, many thanks go to Brian Merrill, Alan Wagner, Robin Moffett, Judy McInturf, Hermann Vogelstein, Pete Tolhuizen, Robert Straka, James Palmer, Lara Ogrizovich Cline and Seana Butler Massey. Lastly, she extends great appreciation to Barbara Lambrecht, Richard Crain, and the Texas Bandmaster's Association.
Lynne would also like to acknowledge her loving family. She is eternally grateful for them. To quote an Avett Brothers song, “Just remember there is nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.” Her deepest thanks go to Stephen and Carol, Connie and Ed, Laurie and Ron, Megan and Joe, Karin and Matt, Ryan, Kelsey, Lindsey and David, Katelyn, Connor, Nathan, and Gavin.
And finally, the greatest rewards for Lynne are all of the incredible students who are and have been such a special part of her life. She is so proud of them and would like to thank them for their gifts of inspiration and for keeping her young at heart! As for retirement, a friend once told Lynne that if she were to retire she had better have a hobby, to which she replied, “I do … teaching kids!”