Jesse D. Espinosa

Jesse D. Espinosa | Director of Bands, Fine Arts Department Chair | Waltrip High School

Backed by more than two decades of expertise as a musician and educator, Jesse D. Espinosa has garnered an exceptional reputation as the head band director and chair of the Fine Arts Department at S.P. Waltrip High School in Houston, Texas since 2012. Specializing in music education, his current duties including teaching music and daily classes, and organizing ensembles, rehearsals and performances. Prior, he held the position of the assistant band director between 2003 and 2012. Notably, in 2020, Mr. Espinosa was named Waltrip High School Teacher of the Year and was a quarterfinalist for the Grammy Music Educator of the Year Award.

In the earlier years of his career, Mr. Espinosa had been assistant band director of Lamar High School from 2002 until 2003, as well as a member of the U.S. Army Band at Fort Knox, Kentucky from 1999 to 2002. From 1995 to 1999, he served in the U.S. Army Reserves as a unit supply and small weapons specialist. Influenced by his parents’ respect for education and by his high school band director, Mr. Espinosa desired to take on a career in which he could offer students the same inspiration he did. He went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in music performance from St. Thomas University in 2006 and later a Master of Education in educational administration from Lamar University in 2013.

Reflecting on his career thus far, Mr. Espinosa recalls some of his most fond memories include leading the band numerous times for the Downtown Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade since 2012 and performing at the U.S. Presidential Inauguration Celebration for Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., representing the state of Texas in 2013. In addition, he has been the recipient of numerous accolades, including the George N. Parks Leadership in Music Education Award in 2019 and Houston Independent School District April Teacher of the Month Award in 2018, among many others.

To remain abreast of his industry, Mr. Espinosa maintains membership with the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, Jazz Education Network, Texas Jazz Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, Association of Texas Professional Educators and Houston Federation of Teachers. Attributing his success to the values he picked up while in the military, he holds a 2002 U.S. Army Commendation Medal Award and a 1999 U.S. Army Achievement Medal Award. He adds that he is motivated every day to make things happen for his students.

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