President-Elect nominations close during the First General Session, Thursday, February 9, 8:30 a.m., in Lila Cockrell Theater. If there is only one candidate for this office, the vote will occur during the First General Session. If there are multiple candidates, the election will be by electronic ballot on February 9. (Active members would receive an email with a link to their individual ballot).
Divisional Vice-Presidents will be elected at their Division’s Business Meeting, Thursday, February 9, at 5:15 p.m.: Vocal (Grand Hyatt Texas Ballroom); Elementary (Hemisfair Ballroom); Orchestra (CC 214 AB).
President: Robert Horton
Present Position: Coordinator of Fine Arts, Conroe ISD (2015–present).
Previous Positions: HS Choir Director, The Woodlands HS, Conroe ISD (2004–2015); 9–10 HS Choir Director, McCullough Campus, Conroe ISD (2001–2004). JH Choir Director, McCullough JH, Conroe ISD (1996–2001); JH Choir Director, York JH, Conroe ISD (1992–1996); Elementary music and Intermediate Choir Klein ISD (1990–1992).
Education: Bachelor of Music Education, Sam Houston State University (1990); Master of Music, Sam Houston State University (2005); Doctor of Education-Educational Leadership, Sam Houston State University (2012).
TMEA Offices and Positions Held: Vocal Vice-President (2015–present); Region 9 Vocal Chair (2004–2006, 2011–2013); Vocal Division Convention Volunteer (2001–2014); Area D Chair (2007, 2008).
Other Offices and Positions Held: President, Texas Choral Directors Association (2007–2009) Adjunct Instructor, Sam Houston State University (2012–2014).
Professional Affiliations: TMEA, TCDA, ACDA, TMAC, TMAA, ATPE.
Honors/Accomplishments: McCullough JH Teacher of the Year 2000; TMEA Convention Invited Performing Choir (1996, 1998, 2013). SWACDA Invited Performing Choir (2014); Winner and Featured Performing Choir American Classic Madrigal Festival (2011–2012, 2014–2015).
Personal Information: I have devoted my life to teaching, serving others, and education through music. My wife Connie and I are active in the music and fine arts ministry of The Woodlands United Methodist Church, where I have served as Music Associate for 18 years. Connie has taught choirs invited to sing at three TMEA conventions (Mitchell Intermediate in 2005, 2008; McCullough JH, 2013), has served as Region 9 MS Vocal Coordinator, and is currently MS/JH Vice-President of TCDA. Our children have also been heavily involved in music. Andrea (23) is a senior vocal performance major at Baylor, where she has been a four-year member of the A Cappella choir and performed at TMEA and ACDA conventions. Ben (19) is a sophomore choral music education major at Texas Tech and hopes to teach elementary music and choir.
Statement: I completed 25 years of teaching in Texas and am now Coordinator of Fine Arts in Conroe ISD. I have taught vocal and choral music at the elementary, junior high, and high school levels. At every level, I have sought opportunities to serve my colleagues and our students. I served two terms as junior high Vocal Coordinator and two terms as high school Vocal Chair in Region 9, and have twice been Area D Chair. At the TMEA convention, I have worked as Vocal Division Clinic Coordinator, equipment manager, performing venue manager, and All-State Mixed Choir organizer. In addition to these elected and appointed offices, I served as an All-State section leader, clinician, ballot counter, and, often, riser mover. For the past two years, I have had the privilege to be the TMEA Vice-President and State Vocal Chair.
Over the past 20 years, I have led three choirs selected to perform at the TMEA convention. Additionally, our chamber choir has twice won the Madrigal festival, and the Varsity Treble Choir I directed with my associate, Lynn Bull, was selected to perform at SWACDA convention. As a high school choral director, I helped 96 students become All-State Choir members. I have also been invited to be a Region conductor or UIL judge in 20 Regions of Texas.
My leadership experience in choral music has reached across the state, having served Texas Choral Directors Association as Middle School/Junior High Vice-President and as President. Further, I served as a site chair for Southwest Division and National ACDA conventions. Because of these varied experiences, I understand the logistics necessary to make TMEA function well so that it best serves the students and teachers involved in the audition processes and convention performances. Each division has its unique needs, and TMEA needs a leader who can serve every division with passion and dedication.
So, why elect Bob Horton? Because of my experience in TMEA leadership? Because of success as a choral director? Because of my understanding of convention logistics? All these are valuable assets for a State Vocal Chair. But why President-Elect? In my new role, as a Fine Arts Coordinator, I have gained valuable insight into the needs of each area of Texas music. My job responsibilities as a coordinator take me to elementary, middle school, and high school classrooms, concerts, and even to marching band contests! The numerous Executive Board meetings I have attended have given me a wide perspective, outside my own discipline and area of the state.
I am seeking the opportunity to serve you, my colleagues, because I like people, and I like to work. I have the full support of family and coworkers in this endeavor. I want to see the All-State process continue to be a pinnacle musical experience for the over 60,000 students who pursue it each year. The unparalleled quality of the performances and clinics in the Band, Orchestra, Vocal, Elementary, and College Divisions must continue. Students and teachers in every division of TMEA deserve a leader who can see the big picture and who has experience leading through times of change. I want to work with the middle school directors to ensure that the thousands of students who begin their musical careers have the best possible experience, as well as to plan relevant professional development opportunities. The TMEA convention is unique in the world of music, and I want to raise the high standards of excellence we have created in Texas. I would like to serve as your President-Elect.
Vocal Vice-President: Derrick Brookins and Jed Ragsdale
Present Position: Director of Choral Activities, Plano Senior HS, Plano ISD (2003–Present).
Previous Positions: Assistant Choir Director, Travis JH (1995–1996), Irving ISD; Lead Choir Director, T.H. Williams HS (1996–2003), Plano ISD.
Education: Bachelor of Music Education, University of North Texas; Master of Education with Secondary Administration, Concordia University (Texas).
TMEA Service and Positions Held: Convention Vocal Division Clinician & Volunteer Coordinator (2014–2015); Convention Ballroom A Choral Concert Coordinator (2011–2013); Ways and Means Committee (2010); All-State Men’s Choir Organizer (2007–2008); All-State Mixed Choir Section Leader (2006); Area C Vocal Chair (2005); Region 25 Vocal Chair (1999–2001); Region 24 Vocal Chair (1998–1999); Region Choir Organizer (2012–2014); Region & Area Audition Site Host; Vocal Division Facilities Team (2013–2015); Region Choir Guest Clinician (various Region MS and HS choirs throughout Texas).
Other Offices and Positions Held: Adjunct Professor of Music, UT/Dallas (2013–2016); Director of Music, St. James Episcopal Church, Dallas (2007–present); Southwest ACDA Convention Planning Committee (2004); Southwest ACDA Multicultural/Ethnic Music Chair (2003–2004); Co-editor of Common Times magazine for Southwest ACDA(2003–2005); UIL Concert & Sightreading Contest Host.
Professional Affiliations: TMEA, TMAA, ACDA, SWACDA, TCDA, American Choristers Guild.
Honors/Accomplishments: TMEA Invited Performing Choir Conductor–Plano Senior A Cappella Women (2009, 2017); Missouri All-State Mixed Choir Conductor (2014); National ACDA Invited Performing Choir Conductor–Plano Senior A Cappella Men’s Choir (2017), A Cappella Mixed Choir (2013), A Cappella Women’s Choir (2007), National MENC Invited Performing Choir–Plano Senior A Cappella Mixed (2005); TCDA Convention Choral Clinic Presenter (1999, 2001, 2005, 2016); 13-year member of the Moses Hogan Chorale; Teacher Of The Year Award–T.H. Williams HS (2000); Teacher Of The Year Award–Plano SHS (2008); Plano ISD Teacher of Excellence Award (2008); Plano ISD Diversity in Leadership Award (2014); Plano ISD Educational Foundation Award (2012); American Choristers Guild, Convention Clinician (2015).
Statement: It is with great humility and excitement that I accept your nomination and ask for your vote to be our next TMEA Vocal Vice-President. I have enjoyed serving the TMEA Vocal Division in various leadership roles for the past 16 years. My personal motto has always been: A life given to music is a life given to service.
Serving the TMEA Vocal Division membership has afforded me the opportunity to meet and work alongside our state and nation’s leading choral educators. I share the joys of our successes and our continual search for new ideas and fresh approaches to enhance the growth and further development for our choral students and our membership.
As a teacher and director, I have seen and experienced the amazing effect of choral music education in the lives of our students and the global community. I am keenly aware of the necessity for the TMEA Vocal Division to vigilantly remain at the forefront of choral music education for Texas secondary schools and throughout the U.S. I will continue working to ensure that choral music of the highest quality is selected for the Texas All-State Choirs and that the choir members are given the chance to work with our nation’s leading conductors. I will engage more actively among our middle school choral programs, whose work is the backbone of our organization. I will work in partnership with our state’s universities and colleges to motivate and encourage more choral music education enrollment, thus enlarging our organization’s membership. I believe that time invested in our choral students is an investment into our future.
If elected, I will passionately accept my role as mentor, advocate, and representative for all Texas choir directors—small school or large, rural or urban. As the Vocal Vice-President, I will use my professional resources to continue selecting life-changing, renowned conductors for our students, while implementing interesting and inspiring learning sessions for our teachers. My service to the TMEA Vocal Division has given me an intimate, hands-on experience and understanding of the complexities of planning a successful convention and managing the All-State audition process, which is essential for the Vocal Vice-President. With a fervent zeal, I will continue to give back to this amazing organization that has given so much to me. I ask for your vote.
Present Position: Choir Director, Tomball Memorial HS, Tomball ISD (2016–present).
Previous Position: Head Choir Director, Cy-Fair HS, CF ISD (2005–2016); Assistant Choir Director, Jersey Village HS, CFISD (2004–2005); Assistant Choir Director, Langham Creek HS, CFISD (1998–2004).
Education: Bachelor of Music, Southwestern Univ (1998); Master of Education with Principal Certification, Lamar University (2009).
TMEA Offices and Positions Held: Vocal Division Clinic and Convention Coordinator (2016–present); Area F Chair (present); Area E Chair (2014–2015); TMEA Facilities Manager (2012–13); Region 27 Vocal Chair (2006–2008); All-State Choir Section Leader (2006); Region Weekend Organizer; Region Weekend Host; auditions host; TMEA Ways and Means Committee; TMEA Facilities Team Member.
Other Offices and Positions Held: TCDA Ways and Means Committee; TCDA Hospitality Chair; Youth Choir Director, Church of St. John the Divine; Trinity Vineyard Church Homegroup Leader (2006–present).
Professional Affiliations: TMEA, TCDA, ACDA, ATPE.
Honors/Accomplishments: TMEA Invited Performing Choir-2004; Region Choir Clinician; Bobcat Leadership Award, Cy-Fair High School.
Personal Information: I’m married to the most wonderful, patient, and caring person in the world—Vanessa Ragsdale, and I’m the father of two incredible children, Avery and Aidan. Being successful in both my professional life and personal life is very important to me. I’ve also loved being involved in Trinity Vineyard Church since its beginning stages 12 years ago. The church, my family, and I have grown so much during this time.
Statement: With the blessing of my family and students, I humbly seek the position of Vice-President of the Vocal Division. During the 19 years I’ve been fortunate to work in this profession, I’ve continuously served behind the scenes for the All-State process and TMEA Clinic/Convention, whether it was producing practice tracks for honor choir, writing the sightreading exercises for pre-Area auditions, cleaning up water bottles and various articles of clothing after Region Weekend, or serving in the other capacities listed above. People notice the work ethic I possess, that I often don’t stop until the task is completed or the solution is found, so I’m frequently asked to serve on their team. I strive to help make things better, smoother, more efficient, as well as look for ways to get as many people involved as possible. I understand I may not always have the answers, but I’m not afraid to ask questions or create dialogue to seek the best answer. There is always room for improvement—just as, after that “perfect” performance at UIL or TMEA, we listen to the recording and find the one or more things we could have done better.
If honored with this position, I would examine ways to enhance the educational experience for all students in the All-State and All-Region process at all levels, as well as enhance the TMEA convention experience for students and members, veteran and new. The All-State process is daunting for so many, and I wish to find ways to make it a more encouraging and inviting process to increase the level of participation and competition, which is still a system to improve our students’ overall musicianship. The population is growing, which means choral programs across the state are growing and TMEA membership is growing. How do we, as an entity, evolve with the everchanging landscape and accommodate this growth? There are ideas to be shared, if anything, to create thought and dialogue in your Regions and see how we can better reach our students, as well as fellow directors who may feel isolated. Regarding the convention, as the current Vocal Division Convention and Clinic Coordinator, I experienced firsthand a renewed energy and spirit with the opening of new facilities and amenities. I wish to maintain this excitement and further engage our membership by seeking ways to provide more opportunities to serve the organization that has given each and every one of us so much. They say it takes a village, but for TMEA, it takes the strongest of teams. With your consideration, I hope to lead this team to help the Texas Music Educators Association not only maintain a standard of excellence in the world of choral music, but also exceed our own expectations of what TMEA can be.
Orchestra Vice-President: Brian Coatney
Present Position: HS Orchestra Director, Plano Senior HS, Plano ISD (2007–present).
Previous Position: HS Orchestra Director, Klein HS, Klein ISD (2003–2007).
Education: Bachelor of Music Education, Northwestern State Univ (2001); Master of Music, James Madison Univ (2003).
TMEA Offices and Positions Held: Region 25 Orchestra Chair (2003–2006); Region 25 Vice President (2004–2006); Region 24 Treasurer (present); served on numerous committees.
Other Offices and Positions Held: Director of the Houston Youth Symphony Sinfonietta Orchestra.
Professional Affiliations: TMEA, TMAA, Mu Omicron.
Honors/Accomplishments: Marjorie Keller Young Teacher of the Year Award (2008), TMEA Honor Full Orchestra (2009, 2012, 2015), clinician for several Region Orchestras, clinician for TMEA and TODA conventions, and “The Art of Teaching Orchestra” at SMU.
Personal Information: I was born in Arlington, Texas, where I began studying the cello privately at the age of five. I continued my music studies throughout high school, participating in orchestra as well as playing percussion in numerous ensembles. After graduating from high school, I pursued a music career at Northwestern State University where I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in music education. In 2003, I earned a master’s degree in orchestral conducting at James Madison University, where I had the opportunity to study with Dr. Robert McCashin. I joined the Klein HS fine arts program in 2003 where I had the fortunate opportunity to work with Keith Markuson. I am forever indebted to Keith and all of the Klein ISD music staff for the amazing things I learned and discovered at Klein. I joined the Plano SHS fine arts team in 2007 as the Director of Orchestral Studies. I am the proud son of Royce and Sylvia Coatney and brother of the amazing Jennifer Guffey. My father previously served as TMEA Orchestra Vice-President, and if I am elected, I look forward to benefiting from his expertise and insight. I feel unbelievably thankful for my upbringing and education. I am the person and educator I am today because of the incredible mentorship I received from so many.
Statement: I am humbled and honored to be nominated for TMEA Orchestra Vice-President and look forward to serving the membership of TMEA. I am extremely grateful for the past leadership and hope to continue moving the orchestra division forward as we deal with new challenges. Both the Honor Orchestra process and the TMEA All-State process are foundationally sound. My goal is to continue to make minor adjustments to these processes to keep them fair and consistent. I will also work diligently to introduce new clinicians and experts from across the U.S. to bring new perspectives and ideas.
One of the biggest challenges we face in the Orchestra Division is the rapid growth of programs and new teachers. I want to continue providing all orchestra students incredible opportunities that only a Texas music education can provide. In order to do this, we must be mentoring new teachers and revitalizing experienced teachers. We have too many teachers who are struggling and giving up on the profession due to burnout and frustration. I want to work with the TMEA Executive Board to make the TMEA mentor program stronger. We can do this by working with other organizations (TODA, TexASTA, Mu Omicron) to take advantage of as many resources as possible. I am excited about the challenges ahead and look forward to working with the TMEA Board and membership. I hope you will consider me for TMEA Orchestra Vice-President and appreciate your vote.
Elementary Vice-President: Casey Medlin
Present Position: Elementary Music Specialist, Brazos Bend ES, Fort Bend ISD (2015–present).
Previous Position: Elementary Music Specialist, Holley ES, Fort Bend ISD (2008–2015); Elementary Music Specialist, Winbourne ES, East Baton Rouge Parish School System (2007–2008).
Education: Bachelor of Music Education, Louisiana State Univ (2007); Orff Levels I–III (2011).
TMEA Offices and Positions Held: Region 13 Elementary Chair (2012–present); Elementary Division volunteer (2012–present); TMEA Election Committee (2016); TMEA Elementary Clinician Selecting Committee (2015).
Other Offices and Positions Held: Holley ES Specialist Team Lead (2011–2014).
Professional Affiliations: TMEA, TCDA, AOSA.
Personal Information: Though I’m not originally from Texas, I’ve made it my home. When I’m not catering to my spoiled dog, Grover, I can usually be found spending time with friends and family, attending concerts, traveling, reading, or binge-watching shows on Netflix.
Statement: As I stated earlier, I’m not originally from Texas. My first year teaching in Louisiana was a rough one and I knew if I really wanted to give teaching a try I would have to move. I had heard great things about Texas and their music educators association, and I knew that was where I needed to be. Luckily, I got a job and the rest, as they say, is history. TMEA has given me more than it knows. I wouldn’t be the educator or the person I am today without it. Friendships, a passion for teaching, an ever-growing teacher toolbox, professional development, mentorship, a voice for my profession when there wasn’t one—TMEA has given me all of these things. It would be my absolute pleasure to continue to give to others what TMEA has given to me. It’s for those reasons that I accept the nomination to serve as Elementary Vice-President.
My plan is to continue many of the wonderful things TMEA is known for—providing immediately useful professional development, showcasing the talent of our teachers and students, providing a mentor program to help those new to the profession, and being your voice on state issues. I’d also like to further the work of expanding our division. With the talent we all share, there is no reason we can’t make the Elementary Division of TMEA the premier elementary educators’ professional network in the country!