When Denison High School band students return to classes this fall they will be greeting with a new director, Melissa Lewis, who took over the position officially April 25.

Denison Independent School District’s newest music leader six years experience working as a arts educator. She started out teaching middle school band for the Calera Independent School District. She recently worked for a stint as associate director of bands at Lone Star High School in Frisco, and now she is taking over as director of bands for Denison ISD.

Lewis earned her bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of North Texas. She said what she brings to this area is her experience with a fast-growing district with a high-performing band program.

“Our show is called ‘A New Direction,’” Lewis said. “I think it will be a great way to showcase the staff coming in and the new students coming in. I think the community is really going to enjoy it.”

Lewis said everyone she has met so far has been very friendly. She said her first day on the job she had students lining up to meet her. She said she is very excited to meet all the students who return in the fall.

“In general, I think fine arts are such a great way to develop those soft skills that are so important,” Lewis said. “Fine arts, and especially band, teaches teamwork, responsibility and integrity. That is something I strive to see. I am a big proponent of student leadership at all levels. I like to put a lot on the students. I try to give them as much to do within the running of the band program as possible.”

She said she was inspired to teach music at an early age, and as a high school student her band director really pushed her towards that goal. She said it has been really neat to send drum majors off to UNT to study under her original band director.

Lewis and her husband will be moving to Denison in the near future. She said they are really looking forward to experiencing the parades as well as showcasing all the new things the bands will be doing.

One area Lewis said she really wants to grow is in the jazz band department and she has some modern ideas when it comes to band, especially marching band.

“I think the community will be happy to see a higher level of pageantry and showmanship in the marching band shows,” Lewis said.

Lewis describes her classes are fast paced and energetic. She wants the students to enjoy learning. She said everywhere she goes, she tries to incorporate the ideas she has picked up from other teachers, and her goal is to help grow the band program not only in numbers but in achievements as well.

Richard A. Todd is the Denison area reporter. He can be reached at RTodd@HeraldDemocrat.com.