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Thomas H. Waggoner - Class of 2018

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Thomas H. Waggoner graduated from Highland Park High School in Dallas in 1966 and was a member of the band and orchestra programs. He served as drum major of the Highlander Band during his junior and senior years and placed first chair in the trombone section of Texas Music Educators Association All-State Symphony Orchestra during his senior year.

Mr. Waggoner received his Bachelor of Music (Music Education) and Master of Music (Conducting Performance) degrees from The University of Texas at Austin. He intended to attend North Texas State University (University of North Texas), but at the last minute auditioned for Mr. Vincent R. DiNino, director of the Longhorn Band and accepted the invitation for membership. He became close friends with Mr. DiNino and was tagged as drum major of the Longhorn Band.

Upon completion of undergraduate studies in 1972, he was appointed as Director of Bands at William B. Travis High School in the Austin Independent School District (1972-1981) where his concert, marching, and jazz bands consistently earned regional and statewide recognitions at University Interscholastic League and festival events. Mr. Weldon Covington, former fine arts administrator for the Austin Independent School District, was an inspiration for Mr. Waggoner during his initial years at Travis High School. During these years Mr. Waggoner completed post-graduate studies in Educational Administration at Texas State University, receiving his Mid-Management Certification.

In 1981 Mr. Waggoner was hired as the first ever Associate Director of Bands at Southwest Texas State University, known today as Texas State University. During his six-year tenure at SWT he was the director of the Bobcat Marching Band and conductor of the Symphonic Band. Mr. John Stansberry, Director of Bands at SWT at the time, was his mentor during these years.

When Mr. Waggoner was offered position as Director of Bands at the University of Mississippi in 1987, he packed his bags and moved to Mississippi. In 1991 when his aging parents and sister experienced poor health, he decided it was time to return home to Texas to care for them. He left the University of Mississippi to become Administrative Supervisor of Fine Arts for the Austin Independent School District.

While serving Austin ISD, Mr. Waggoner become deeply interested in state law and rule and consequently applied and was hired for the position of Director of Fine Arts Education for the Texas Education Agency (TEA). He served in that position from 2000 until 2011. His responsibilities at TEA included the administration of all curricular and instructional aspects of the state's public school art, dance, music, and theatre programs, in grades K-12. Mr. Waggoner became well-known and respected not only for his knowledge of law and rule, but also as an advocate for all the fine arts, not only in the state of Texas, but across the nation.

Mr. Waggoner is a founding member of the national association of State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education as well as and the founder and president of the board for the Center for Educator Development in Fine Arts (CEDFA), which was established to support fine arts education in Texas schools.

In 1993 he founded the Austin Youth Orchestra program and served as coordinator of that highly successful organization for more than 20 years.

Following his tenure at the Texas Education Agency, Mr. Waggoner worked as Program Director of Fine Arts Education in the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin as well as serving as
Field Supervisor of Student Teaching for the Butler School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin.

Mr. Waggoner is the recipient of the 2004 Founders Award from the Texas Educational Theatre Association, Inc., the 2005 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Texas Music Educators Association, the 2005 Lifetime Administrator Achievement Award from the Texas Bandmasters Association, the 2010-2011 Outstanding Music Educator Award from the National Federation of State High School Associations, the 2011-2012 Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Dance Educators Association, the 2013 “Shining Star” Award from the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, and the 2017 “Dedicated Advocacy and Stewardship of Dance in Texas” Award from the National Dance Education Organization.

Mr. Waggoner has published articles in regional and national journals and is affiliated with many professional arts organizations, including the Texas Art Education Association, Texas Dance Educators Association, Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, Texas Choral Directors Association, Texas Orchestra Directors Association, Texas Educational Theatre Association, Phi Beta Mu International Bandmaster Fraternity, and Mu Omicron Honorary Orchestra Fraternity.

Mr. Waggoner has conducted All-State, All-Region, and Honor Bands in Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas and frequently serves as guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and speaker throughout the United States.

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