Pilot Point ISD Instructional Band Staff

Mr. Daniel Balkema – Director of Bands - Pilot Point High School dbalkema@pilotpointisd.com - Office: 940-686-8740 x. 231

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Mr. Balkema is in his 19th year of teaching and 10th year at Pilot Point High School.  He is a graduate from the University of North Texas in 2003, with a Bachelors degree in Music Education, and holds a Master’s degree in Music Education from the University of Hawaii, all with an emphasis in Instrumental Music.  While at UNT, he was a member of the Marching Green Brigade, and a member of the Concert Band, Symphonic Band and Brass Band. Mr. Balkema is a Brass specialist with Trumpet being his primary instrument. While at UH, he was an active member in Music Education research for the University. His Master’s Thesis involved “Parental Involvement and the Success and Motivation of Texas Band Programs.”

After Graduating from UNT in 2003, Mr. Balkema was hired for the Midland Independent School District as the assistant band director for Lee Senior High School.  Mr. Balkema's many responsibilities included teaching marching band, brass sectionals, assisting the concert and symphonic bands, teaching beginner brass classes at the junior high’s, and teaching the entire jazz program.  His bands have made Consistent UIL Sweepstakes and he attended the State Marching Competition with the Lee Senior High School Band two years in a row while in Midland. While Mr. Balkema was an assistant at Lee Senior High School, the Lee Senior High School Band was nominated as The “Texas Exemplary Band Program” by the Texas BandMasters Association. 

In 2007, Mr. Balkema moved back to the Dallas area and was hired by the Dallas Independent School District teaching at George W. Truett Elementary School. During his 6 year tenure at Truett E.S., his responsibilities included teaching the entire music program including beginner band, choir, guitar, and general music and was the fine arts department head.

Mr. Balkema currently holds a Professional Certification through the State of Texas and is certified to teach All-Level Kindergarten through 12th grade music.  He is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, Texas Music Adjucators Association - UIL Marching Judge,  National Association of Music Education, International Trumpet Guild, and has been nominated three times for the "Who's Who Among American Teachers" award. He currently resides in McKinney, TX with his wife Liz, 9 year old little girl named Lily, and 5 and a half year old Andrew.

Mrs. Leah Cobb –Assistant Director -  Middle School / High School lcobb@pilotpointisd.com - Office: 940-686-8730 x. 415

Mrs. Cobb is in her 13th year of teaching and 7th year in Pilot Point. She grew up in Azle, Tx, where she was active in band, choir, and athletics. She attended the Texas State Marching Contest and Texas State Solo & Ensemble Contest as a member of the Azle Band. She graduated from Azle High School in 2004, and went on to receive a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2008. While at OU she performed in the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Woodwind Ensembles, Flute Choir, and University Chorus. She also worked as a Woodwind Instructor for the New Horizon's Band, worked as a Music Instructor at the Camp Heart O' Hills Salvation Army Music Conservatory, and taught private flute lessons.

 

Mrs. Cobb completed her student teaching at Sanger ISD in 2008. After graduation, she began her teaching career in Celina, where she was the Assistant Director of Bands for 7 years. Her woodwind students consistently place in the All-Region & All-Area Bands, as well as receiving Superior and Outstanding Ratings at the Texas State Solo & Ensemble Contest. Mrs. Cobb also enjoys judging Middle School Solo & Ensemble Contests and teaching flute sectionals at the Princeton Sounds of Summer Band Camp.  Mrs. Cobb currently serves as the ATSSB Region 2 Middle School Representative for our Region.

Mrs. Cobb and her husband, Ryan, and son, Grayson, love to spend lots of time outdoors with their three golden retrievers, and watching college football (Boomer Sooner!)

Mr. DJ Handy –Assistant Director - Pilot Point High School / Middle School 

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David (D.J.) Handy is in his 2nd year of teaching. He currently serves as the Percussion Director for Pilot Point ISD. Mr. Handy holds a  Bachelor of Music Education, a Master of Music in Music Education, and a Master of Music in  Percussion Performance from the University of Oklahoma. He studied percussion under the guidance of Dr. Lance Drege, Dr. Andrew Richardson, and Dr. Ricardo Coelho de Souza. He studied music education with Dr. Michael Raiber, Dr. Charles Ciorba, Dr. Charlene Dell, and Dr. Christopher Baumgartner.

During his time as an undergraduate, Mr. Handy taught at several different middle and high schools in Norman, Oklahoma. He taught private lessons to middle school, high school, and undergraduate percussion students. While pursuing his Bachelor, he performed in the University of Oklahoma Pride of Oklahoma snare line and performed with several different ensembles including the OU Wind Symphony, OU Symphony Band, OU Symphony Orchestra, OU Jazz Band, OU Trombone Choir, OU Horn Ensemble, and other small chamber ensembles. Mr. Handy started his graduate career at the University of Oklahoma in the fall of 2017 and graduated in December of 2019. During his time as a graduate student, he served as the instructor of record for the undergraduate music education course, “Percussion Techniques”, and the undergraduate non-major course, “Beginning Drumset”. Mr. Handy directed the OU Percussion Ensemble, led the percussion section for the OU Wind Symphony, and served as the logistician for the OU Symphony Orchestra while aiding in their Houston tour.

Mr. Handy performed with all of the aforementioned ensembles along with serving as the principal percussionist for the Vitam Musica Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Mr. Dylan Madoux, North American Saxophone Alliance Conference, the Oklahoma City Community Orchestra under the direction of Mr. Jamie Whitmarsh, and performed with the OU Graduate Percussion ensemble at the Percussion Arts Society International Convention chamber ensemble competition. After graduating in December, he served as the long-term substitute band director for the Classen School of Advanced Studies High School in Oklahoma City while teaching music theory at the El Sistema Fine Arts Program. Mr. Handy spent a year serving as the Assistant Percussion Director at Rockwall ISD in Texas working with Mr. Russell Lancaster, Mr. Brandon Downs, and others. Mr. Handy comes from Stephenville ISD where he served his first year of teaching as their Percussion Director.

Ms. Peyton McClendon –Colorguard Director - Pilot Point High School / Middle School 

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Ms. McClendon is starting her first year of teaching at Pilot Point Middle School as the 8th grade science teacher. She grew up in Mount Pleasant,Tx, where she participated in band and later on color guard. She attended various Marching contest as well as winter guard competitions. She also competed at the winter guard competitions performing solos and a duet. She went on to further her education by attending Northeast Texas Community College, where she was a part of the Honor program and later received an Associates degree in Arts. She later transferred to Texas A&M University Commerce to continue her education to receive her bachelors degree. While joined the Lions Dance Team and was a member for two years. In her final year she was a team member as well as the  SAAC representative for the team. She graduated with her bachelors degree in teaching 4th-8th grade science with Magna Cum Laude statues.

 

Ms. McClendon completed her student teaching at Commerce Middle School in 2021-2022. While going through college she worked as a dance teacher, a substitute teacher, and later on at an after school program. She enjoys music, drawing, reading, dance and colotguard.