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Jim McDaniel - Class of 2019

Jim McDaniel was born on August 7, 1951, in San Marcos, Texas, the son of Hayden and Janet McDaniel and younger brother of Ann McDaniel Ellis. His father, Hayden, a veteran of World War II, became a vocational education teacher and later Vocational Administrator whom Jim would hold as his mentor and guide in life, especially his professional career. Jim’s dad influenced him significantly in many ways, but the story of the discovery at the age of eight of his dad’s old trumpet up in his grandparents’ attic is most telling. As Jim opened that battered case containing a beautiful instrument, in truth, the same trumpet that Hayden had played in the Mighty Stockdale High School Brahma Band, Jim knew that one day he would play and perform on this instrument as his chosen profession.
Since his father was a teacher trying to improve the family’s lot, the family moved quite a bit. After four years in Odessa, the family moved to Grand Prairie, where Jim started the sixth grade. The following year Jim started playing in his first organized band. He sat first chair that year and it was at this time that Jim began to take lessons from Mr. Gadaush from the Dallas Symphony.
In the fall of 1966, the family moved to Hurst so that Jim could attend L.D. Bell High School and play in Jerry Longwell’s band. If you ask Jim today, he will say it was due to the great learning experiences he received in high school, and Jerry Longwell and Roger Winslow’s influences that he attributes his dedication, successful teaching style, and desire for excellence.
On to college in 1969, Jim was recruited by Professor James A. Jacobsen, band director from Texas Christian University. Prof was a “Bigger than Life” guy with a John Wayne persona and the voice of God. Jim was awarded a trumpet scholarship in return for playing in all TCU bands and working as band manager. That same fall he met his lifelong friend (now of 50 years), Bill Collins, who was the other trumpet player given a scholarship that year to TCU. The most important thing that came out of his TCU experience was meeting Susan Russell, the love of his life, in the spring of 1970. In August of 1974, Jim and Susan were married at Robert Carr Chapel on the TCU campus.
During his time at TCU Jim began playing professionally: orchestral literature under the baton of Fritz Berens and later performing with Schola Cantorum of Texas, the Brazos Valley Symphony, and Oratorio groups in the Fort Worth area. However, his talents were not limited to symphonic literature as he also played for various big band orchestras such as the Miss Fort Worth Pageant, Six Flags Over Texas, and many church orchestra and solo jobs, and was also in
The Sound Experience, a rock band which traveled the states.
In the spring of 1974, Jim was voted by his fellow band members the Outstanding Bandsman. Jim graduated with his bachelor’s degree and went back as graduate assistant under Professor Jacobsen. While working on his master’s degree in music education, Jim taught marching band, jazz band, and symphonic band. Over the years, Jim and Prof developed a very close relationship which Jim considers one of the best things that could have happened to him and to this day considers Prof a second father.
In the fall of 1977, Jim went to his first public school band directing job as assistant to the director of bands at Skyline High School. During this time he met a young student that has remained like a son to him. Bill Centera not only was in Jim’s band at Skyline but later did his student teaching with Jim at Martin High School in Arlington. This led later to Jim’s hiring Bill Centera as the head band director in Carrollton/Farmers Branch, where Jim was now the Director of Fine Arts. Bill worked with Jim for sixteen years of his career with Jim being his Director of Fine Arts.
Backing up to the fall of 1980, Jim was named as assistant director for James Bowie High School in Arlington, where he was responsible for the jazz program, marching band, and second (symphonic) band. His bands were successful at UIL and other events during his tenure at Bowie. During his two-year tenure at Bowie High School, he had the opportunity to go to one of the middle schools that fed Bowie where Barbara Lambrecht was the band director. Jim has always said Barbara is one of the very finest teachers he has even been around.
In the fall of 1982, Jim opened the brand-new Martin High School in Arlington, Texas, where he would spend eight years as Director of Bands. In February of that first year, his jazz band won the prestigious University of Texas at Arlington Jazz Festival, culminating in an invitation to perform at the world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. During his many years of service as a high school band director, his marching bands were selected three times to the Texas State Marching Contest, and his symphonic bands were consistent Sweepstakes winners in UIL, as well as at numerous competitions in Texas, Florida, Colorado, and Oklahoma. Jim was blessed with wonderful assistants, one being Dr. Brian Lamb, who is now the Director of the School of Music for The University of Central Oklahoma. In 1984, Jim and Susan were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Heather Jo. Heather was not only the apple of her daddy’s eye but was the darling of the Martin Band. She was the best three-year-old drum major the band ever had.
In the fall of 1990, Jim went to Texas A&M University to help lay the groundwork for a music degree to be put in place at A&M. He got to work with TCU grad Colonel Ray Toler (Director of Bands) and Associate Director Major Jay Brewer. It was here that he met a young man named Kevin Sisk who became like an adopted son, and Kevin continues to be in Jim’s life today. Jim was blessed when Kevin and his wife, Kim, named their second son using James for his middle name. During this time Jim was responsible for starting the first Jazz Band for credit, teaching music theory, and co-directing the Texas A&M University Symphonic Band. Jim also got to work with the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band along with Colonel Toler and Major Brewer. During his three years at A&M, Jim continued playing trumpet and performed with the Brazos Valley Symphony, the Pete Rodriquez Big Band, at numerous churches, and he formed the Brazos Valley Quintet, which performed all over the area for weddings and other benefits.
In 1993, while Jim was playing trumpet on a cruise liner over spring break, he received a call from his wife saying that the superintendent for Bryan ISD wanted his resume. Upon his return from the ship, he went to a meeting but had no idea it was an interview for becoming the first Supervisor of Fine Arts for Bryan ISD. During Jim’s time there the music programs flourished and the numbers grew in all programs, including the number of All-State students.
In 1996, Jim was named Director of Fine Arts and later Executive Director of Fine Arts for Carrollton/Farmers Branch ISD in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. During his sixteen years there, several bands, orchestras, and choirs were selected as Honor groups to perform at TMEA. In 2012, Jim took the job as Director of Fine Arts for Frisco ISD, north of Dallas. During this time, he helped Frisco to grow the Fine Arts department by adding an Assistant Director of Fine Arts and two secretaries to the office staff. His final act after two years of service in Frisco was to get to conduct the Clark Middle School Band, under the direction of Mr. Ben Katz, at TMEA when they were selected as the 2C Middle School Honor Band for Texas.
Jim is an active clinician and judge for marching, jazz, and symphonic bands and holds membership in Phi Beta Mu, Texas Music Adjudicators Association, Texas Music Educators Association, and Texas Bandmasters Association. Jim has judged the honor bands for Texas, Colorado, and Oregon.
Jim has always said that it is impossible to become successful without good people around to guide the way. He considers an elite list of men who have guided and shaped his career as the superstars in his life. Those include: Hayden McDaniel—his father; Jerry Longwell and Roger Winslow—his high school band directors; Jim Jacobsen—TCU band director; John Whitwell, Richard Floyd, and Richard Crain—his mentors and friends. He considers these to be men of wisdom and persons of great character who have enriched his life in so many ways.
Under his watch hundreds of teachers and thousands of students have benefited from his knowledge and vision of the importance of the arts in education. He has mentored many student teachers, several who were former students who went on to be incredible band directors, fine arts administrators, musicians and all-around successful people in their chosen fields. Bill Centera, who was in Jim’s very first band, said of him, “Without Mr. McDaniel, I don’t think I would have made it through school. He not only served as my band teacher and mentor, but as the father figure I never had growing up. Jim took personal interest in me and I will never forget his care, encouragement and guidance that carried me through college and a thirty-plus-year career in music education. Jim was the father I never had.”
Jim has served as President of TMEA Regions V and VIII, was selected as Teacher of the Year at Martin High School in 1988, was inducted into the TCU Band Hall of Fame in 1996, received the Outstanding Alumni Award for TCU Band in 1997 and the Outstanding Jazz Educator Award from TCU in 1998, served as President of the Texas Music Administrators Conference (2009–2010), was named the Outstanding Administrator of the year for 2009–2010 by the Texas Music Administrators Conference, guest-conducted the Creekview Band (Director Preston Hazzard) at Midwest in 2011, and received Lifetime Administrator Achievement Award from the Texas Bandmasters Association in 2013.
His numerous awards and recognitions are evidence of a lifelong goal to “Make a Difference” for students and teachers. Although now retired from public school service, Jim is still “making a difference" by staying connected with teachers and students as Executive Secretary of UIL Region XXIV, as clinician and mentor in several school districts, and as Artistic Director of the Carrollton Wind Symphony, that performed in both 2010 and 2015 for the Texas Bandmasters Association Convention in San Antonio. Additionally, the CWS received the Sudler Silver Scroll, awarded by the Sousa Foundation in 2017, and performed this past December at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago.
Jim wants to thank Phi Beta Mu for this very humbling honor. He also wants to thank all the students, assistants, colleagues, secretaries, teachers, administrators, and friends with whom he has worked. Without the support from these special individuals, this honor would never have been possible.
His most important job, however, is that of husband to Susan, father to Heather, father-in-law to Ryne, and Poppy to grandkids Harper Jo Sandel and Avery Thomas Sandel.
And by the way, that trumpet that was found in the attic sixty years ago now sits proudly in a place of honor as a lamp on the coffee table next to his chair.

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