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 15th year of teaching and 6th 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, 5 year old little girl named Lily, 1 and a half year old Andrew, and dog Daphne.
Mrs. Leah Cobb –Assistant Director - Middle School / High School - Office: 940-686-8730 x. 415
Mrs. Cobb is in her 11th year of teaching and 4th year in Pilot Point. She grew up in Azle, Tx, just Northwest of Fort Worth, 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.
Her professional associations include the Texas Music Educators Association and the Association of Texas Small School Bands. Currently Mrs. Cobb and her husband, Ryan, reside in Pilot Point where they enjoy spending lots of time outdoors with their two golden retrievers, Belle and Lyric, watching college football (Boomer Sooner!), and working on projects around the house together.
Mr. Josh Donnelly –Assistant Director - Pilot Point High School / Middle School - Office: 940-686-8730 x. 415
Joshua Donnelly is in his 3rd year teaching and 3rd year in Pilot Point ISD. Mr. Donnelly graduated in the Class of 2016 at the University of Oklahoma, where he received a bachelors of music education from the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts. He grew up in Aledo, Texas and was actively involved in the band program at Aledo High School. Having performed at Texas State Marching Contest, Bands of America, Texas Percussive Arts Society Day of Percussion, and UIL State Solo and Ensemble, Mr. Donnelly then attended the University of Oklahoma in 2011. While studying in the OU Percussion Studio under Dr. Lance Drege, he also performed in the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Symphony Orchestra, the OU Steel Drum Band, and many chamber ensembles. His performances took him to venues such as the Oklahoma Music Educator’s Association, Oklahoma Percussive Arts Society Day of Percussion, the Cotton Bowl and the BCS Sugar Bowl.
During his studies, Mr. Donnelly was also involved in teaching at different programs in the Oklahoma City Metroplex. He spent two years as a front ensemble tech at Southmoore High School, where the band performed at the 6A State Marching Finals and Bands of America Grand Nationals. He also worked with Dr. Michael Raiber and Robyn Hilger at El Sistema Oklahoma, and after-school non-profit program developed to teach Oklahoma City students music education and orchestral performance.
He spent his final semester student teaching under Diane Ackmann at McLoud Public Schools in the spring of 2016, where he lead performances with the middle school and high school band, as well as the basketball pep band. He is a part of the Salyers Percussion Education Team, and is currently a member of the Texas Bandmasters Association, the Texas Music Educators Association, the Association of Texas Small School Bands, the Percussive Arts Society, and the National Association for Music Education. When Mr. Donnelly is not teaching, he and his wife, Courtney, reside in Denton, Texas with puppy and cat, Chester and Shea.
Mr. Howard Lewis –Retired / Part Time Director
Mr. Lewis is retired after 31years of teaching band. His years of experience, which include Strickland Middle School in Denton, Bussey and O’Banion M.S. in Garland, Ford M.S. in Allen, two years of private teaching with several All State Students, and Timpson H.S. and now, Pilot Point. Mr. Lewis has been helping out in Pilot Point for the last 6 years. When in High School, he was a member of the Longview Lobo Band under the direction of John (Pete) Kunkel. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Stephen F. Austin State University under Mel Montgomery, in Nacogdoches Texas. (That is where a lot of his accent comes from) Howard has almost all of his hours towards a Masters Degree from S.F.A. as well. In addition, Mr. Lewis is a charter member of the Association of Texas Small School Bands and a charter member of The National Association of Military Marching Bands. He is also a member of Texas Music Educators Association and the Texas Bandmasters Association.
He enjoys spending time with his band kids, old cars, a good joke, traveling to the Ozark Mountains, especially on his Harley Davidson, World War II aviation history, target shooting, and looking at performances of military bands, marching to precision military drill, playing traditional marches. (Somewhat of a lost art in bands today). Mr. Lewis believes that, as with all great accomplishments in humankind, that strengths and successes come with people who are united in spirit and purpose. When individuals “band” together and unite towards a goal, there is no limit as to what the human spirit can achieve. Music is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act or a circumstance, but a habit. That is part of what a band teaches, and he tries to instill this in all of his students. A goal is to be better than you ever thought you could be. Two favorite expressions are;
1.) To be on time is to be late, to be early is to be on time. 2.) Be Ready !!
Howard Lewis has always considered his students his strength, and reasons for existence, and has always thought of them as his family. Band Geeks are his Heroes.
We are very fortunate that Mr. Lewis has decided to help out the Pilot Point Band Program
Ms. Stephanie Aceves –Colorguard instructor - Pilot Point High School
Email - email@example.com
Stephanie Aceves is a graduate of Texas Woman’s University receiving her bachelor degree in Dance Education with an associate in Visual and Preforming Arts. This is Stephanie's eleventh year teaching and has been connected to Color Guard for over fourteen years. She started with The Colony High school marching band in 2006 as a member of the colorguard. After high School, Stephanie went on to perform with White Gold Independent A Class Winter Guard in 2011, White Gold Independent Open Class Winter Guard in 2012, The Troopers Drum and Bugle corps in 2013, and Black Gold Independent World Class Winter Guard 2013and 2014. She has been to WGI World Championships four times and has made finals once. Stephanie started teaching colorguard in 2008 at Griffin Middle schools. Since then she has worked at The Colony HS, Little Elm HS, Wakeland HS, Sanger HS, Reedy HS, Braswell HS, Pilot Point and Black Gold Independent winterguard.