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Pilot Point ISD Instructional Band Staff

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


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, 10 year old little girl named Lily,  6 and a half year old Andrew and a 5 month old Golden Retriever puppy names Lucy!

Mrs. Leah Cobb –Assistant Director -  Middle School / High School - 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!)

Ms. Brenna Gournay –Assistant Band Director - Pilot Point Middle / High School


Ms. Gournay is in her 2nd year teaching and 1st year at Pilot Point. She attended North Forney High School where she served as a section leader for 3 years and participated in the NTCA circuit with the award winning North Forney Indoor Percussion Ensemble in 2017 and 2018. She received her Bachelors in Music Education in 2022 from Texas A&M University-Commerce. During her time in Commerce she performed in the Pride Marching Band where she served as a section leader and received the Most Outstanding Front Ensemble Member Award. She performed in percussion ensembles, Panimation, and symphonic band, and the Academy Drum and Bugle Corps in 2021. Ms. Gournay spent a lot of time teaching during her undergrad at Caddo Mills High School, and Commerce High School where the band went to state for the first time in 31 years. 


Ms. Gournay completed her student teaching at Cooper Junior High and Wylie High School. After graduation, she began her career at Mineola ISD as the Director of Percussion. During her time at Mineola the drumline won many caption awards, performed exhibition at the Area Marching Contest, helped students receive Superior ratings to make it to the State Solo and Ensemble Contest, and won Honor Band. She holds membership with the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, Percussive Arts Society, and the Association of Texas Small School Bands.


Ms. Gournay lives with her dog, Layla, and in her free time enjoys reading and kayaking.

Ms. Mariam Masri -Colorguard Director - Pilot Point High School

Ms. Masri is in her 7 th year of teaching colorguard and 1 st year at Pilot Point. As a proud Texas native, she is from The Colony, Texas and is a graduate in 2013 from The Colony High School. She later attended Collin College graduating in 2020 with an Associate of Liberal Arts, and holds a Bachelor of Science emphasizing in Youth Advocacy and Educational Studies from Texas Christian University, Class of 2023. Riff Ram Bah Zoo, Go Frogs! While attending TCU she was an active member in the Horned Frog Marching Band’s Colorguard.

In 2017, Ms. Masri started working with the Griffin Guard as Assistant Director. During that time she also was attending Collin College. In 2019, she started working as a paraprofessional in special education at Ethridge Elementary in Lewisville ISD for two years. While at Ethridge she started the Eagle Cadets. They were an after school winterguard club for 4 th and 5 th graders. While attending TCU Ms. Masri was also the Colorguard Director at two local high schools in Fort Worth, Western Hills High School and South Hills High School. Her responsibilities while leading these programs included designing shows, write/teach choreography, and teach basic skills/technique on flags, rifle, sabre, and dance/movement.

When Ms. Masri is not teaching colorguard she works as a Registered Behavioral Technician at an applied behavioral analyst clinic. She teaches children ages 3-8 years old that are nonverbal with an autism diagnosis various skills such as: functional communication skills, adaptive life skills, and social/emotional skills. During her free time she loves to attend guard
clinics and traveling to different beaches. Her current goals are to see all of the beaches in the USA and to perform at WGI.

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