Joshua Hawks is excited to join the Kennedale ISD Band family as Head Director at Kennedale Junior High. Mr. Hawks will be teaching the Honors Band, Concert Band, beginner woodwinds, and beginner low brass. Prior to teaching at Kennedale, he served as Head Director at Wills Point Junior High and Assistant Director at Wills Point High School, a perennial State Marching Contest Finalist. Mr. Hawks’ Junior High bands have consistently earned 1st Division ratings at UIL Concert & Sightreading Contests.
In addition to classroom teaching, Mr. Hawks was the Vice President of Bocal Majority double reed camps. He has presented double reed seminars for music educators at The Midwest Clinic, Texas Music Educators Association Convention, and International Double Reed Society. As a freelance oboist, he has appeared with the Mesquite Symphony, New Texas Symphony Orchestra, East Texas Symphony, and Lyric Stage.
Mr. Hawks is a graduate of Wylie High School in Wylie, Texas where he was Drum Major of “that Wylie Band”. In 2007, he graduated from Texas A&M University at Commerce with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education. While at TAMU-C, Mr. Hawks served as the Principal Oboist of the Wind Ensemble. He was also a member of the Drumline (Cymbal Line), Flute Choir, Clarinet Choir, and was Colorguard Director of the TAMU-C Pride Marching Band. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, ATSSB, TBA and TMEA.
Gilberto Diaz III
Gilberto Diaz III is blessed to begin his career as the Assistant Band Director at Kennedale Junior High in Kennedale, TX. Mr. Diaz’s responsibilities will include directing and teaching the Junior High Symphonic Band, various beginner brass classes, and assisting with the marching band at Kennedale High School.
Mr. Diaz received his Bachelor of Science in Music Education at Texas A&M University-Commerce graduating Summa Cum Laude in May of 2020. During his time at Commerce, he studied Horn under Michael Morrow and performed with the Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, and Brass Choir, serving as Principal Horn for multiple ensembles. As a student leader, he was appointed as a mellophone section leader and drum major in the Pride Marching Band during their Bands of America exhibition performances in San Antonio and Indianapolis. In his senior year, Mr. Diaz student taught in Highland Park ISD under Reagan Brumley and Lara Whitehouse.
As a Horn player, he served as a private lessons instructor in the East Texas Region. Moreover, he worked as a marching band technician for schools in Central Texas, East Texas, and the Dallas Metroplex. Mr. Diaz also worked as a brass instrument repairman at The Band Room in Harker Heights, Texas. To speak on music achieving one’s dreams, he was able to fulfill one as he marched with the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps as a mellophone member for the 2019 season.
Mr. Diaz is a native of Zamboanga City, Philippines, and grew up in the town of Copperas Cove, Texas. Mr. Diaz is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Classroom Teachers Association, National Association for Music Education, and the Capital Area Orff Chapter of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association. Moreover, he is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, National Honor Society; and the Zeta Kappa Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, National Honorary Band Fraternity.
2020-21 is Mr. Okay’s 29th year of teaching and 19th year as Director of Bands for KISD. The Wildcat Band has placed in the top 4A bands of the state during Mr. Oktay’s tenure. The Wildcat Marching Band has been a Texas State Marching Band Championships Qualifier seven times, a three time Finalist, with a highest finish of fifth place in 2014 and 2018. The band is a four time TMEA Honor Band State Qualifier ranking sixth in 2014. The Wildcat Band has won the UIL Sweepstakes Award eleven of the last twelve years. The Wildcat Band is a two time winner of the statewide concert band contest sponsored by the ATTSB, the Outstanding Performance Series Award. The KHS Wind Ensemble has been named a “National Winner” of the Mark of Excellence Award Competition sponsored by the Foundation for Music Education. Mr. Oktay holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of North Texas.
Mr. Oktay and his wife, Cherie reside in Arlington. The Oktays have two adult sons, Jordan and Ryan. When not at the band hall or with his family, Mr. Oktay can be found in the woods, either fishing or hunting.
Kelli Wilson is excited to join the Wildcat Band as the Assistant Band Director at Kennedale High School. Mrs. Wilson’s duties will include assisting the high school marching band, conducting the high school Symphonic Band, teaching various beginner classes, and assisting at the junior high school.
Prior to teaching in Kennedale, Mrs. Wilson served 7 years in various roles throughout Alvarado ISD, such as: Head Director of Alvarado Junior High School for the past two years and assistant at Alvarado High School. Under her direction, the Alvarado Junior High School Honor and Symphonic bands as well as the Alvarado High School Symphonic Band received multiple UIL Sweepstakes awards and first division ratings. She was also the beginning band clarinet and saxophone teacher at Alvarado Intermediate School and beginner low brass instructor at AJHS.
Mrs. Wilson is a 2010 graduate of Harlingen High School. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of North Texas where she graduated in 2014 with the distinction of Summa Cum Laude. While at UNT, she studied clarinet with Mrs. Deborah Fabian, participated in the Green Brigade Marching band, Concert Band, and Symphonic Band and was the conductor of the Secondary Band. Her professional affiliations include: Texas Music Educators Association, Association of Texas Small School Bands, and Mu Phi Epsilon.
When Mrs. Wilson is not at the band hall you may spot her running in the wild, kayaking, hiking a mountain, or spending time with her husband, adorable miniature poodles, and not so miniature husky-poo puppy.
Connor Bordelon-Ross (AKA B-Ross) is excited to join the Wildcat Band as the Assistant Band Director/Percussion Specialist for Kennedale HS. B-Ross’s duties will include assisting with the high school and junior high bands as well as teaching all percussion students from beginners to seniors.
Prior to teaching at Kennedale, B-Ross served 5 years as Assistant Band Director/Percussion Specialist for Bridge City ISD. He directed the Middle School Symphonic Band for 2 years, and the High School Concert Band for 3 years, earning multiple UIL Sweepstakes and first division ratings. He also coordinated percussion instruction across all grade levels from sixth through twelfth grade. His percussion students have earned numerous awards at the Gulf Coast Classic competition, UIL Solo & Ensemble, TMEA All-Region and All-Area, and ATSSB All-Region and All-Area auditions.
B-Ross is a 2011 graduate of B.F. Terry High School in Rosenberg, TX. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Lamar University where he graduated in 2016 with the distinction of Magna Cum Laude. While at Lamar, he performed in the Wind Ensemble, Showcase of Southeast Texas Marching Band, and various percussion ensembles. He served as section leader for the tenor line, snare line, and the Lamar University Drumline. He performed with the Wind Ensemble and Percussion Studio at the TMEA convention three times. He also performed at PASIC in 2015 in the University Drumline Competition as well as the University Percussion Ensemble Competition, winning first place in both. He is a member of TMEA, ATSSB, PAS, and Pi Kappa Lambda.
When B-Ross is not at the band hall you can find him playing video games with friends, hurting himself playing sports, or spending quality time at home with his wife and their dog, Raider the dorkie (dachshund-yorkie mix).