DIRECTORS

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Director of Percussion

Email Address Coming Soon

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Emerald Dance Co. Director

 
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Matthew Garrison
Director of Bands

 

A Texas native and Austinite, Mr. Garrison graduated from Cedar Park High School. He then received a degree in Music Education from Texas Tech University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. While at Texas Tech, he began advanced studies in wind-band conducting with Dr. Eric Allen and graduate studies in Wind Literature with Dr. Sarah McKoin. He also performed with the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps for three years. During his time with Carolina Crown, he was a part of two Jim Ott high brass awards and a John Brazale high visual award.

 

Mr. Garrison previously served five years as the Assistant Band Director at Lehman High School where he directed the Marching Band and Non Varsity Band, coordinated the leadership team, and founded the Jazz Band. Prior to Lehman, Mr. Garrison served as the Assistant Director of Bands at David Crockett High School from 2015-2017. While at Crockett, Mr. Garrison led the Marching Band, Symphonic Band, leadership team, and Colorguard.

 

Mr. Garrison served as an instructor and director for the Guardians Drum and Bugle Corps from 2013 to 2015. In their inaugural year, he served as the Brass and Visual Caption Heads. In 2014, he served as the Visual Caption Head before taking over as Assistant Director in 2015.

 

When he’s not teaching, Mr. Garrison serves as a music transcriptionist, visual designer, and drill writer. He also spends his time running, walking his dog Walter, and hiking and traveling with his wife Lauren. They have the goal of visiting every U.S. National Park.

Thomas Burnette
Assistant Director of Bands

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Mr. Burnette is in his 4th year of teaching and his first year at Connally High School. He is originally from San Antonio, Texas where he attended Winston Churchill High School. While at Churchill, he was an All-State musician in 2012 and 2013. After High School, Mr. Burnette attended the University of North Texas where he graduated with a Bachelors in Music Education in 2019. Mr. Burnette participated in the UNT Green Brigade marching band as well as the UNT university band, concert band, and many small ensembles. He also participated in the UNT Concert Choir and Grand Chorus. Mr. Burnette studied clarinet under the direction of Daryl Coad and Wind Conducting under Dennis Fischer and Nicholas Williams. 

During college, Mr. Burnette also was a field tech for the Wakeland High School marching band in Frisco, Texas and the Coppell High School Marching band in Coppell, Texas. Both programs were consistent Bands of America Finalists and participated in the UIL State Marching Contest while he was on staff.

Mr. Burnette previously served for three years as the Assistant Band Director at Chapa Middle School in Kyle, Texas. While at Chapa, he taught the Non-Varsity Band and all beginning Woodwind classes as well as leading an after school Jazz club and assisting with Marching Band rehearsal at Lehman High School. Mr. Burnette’s professional affiliations include the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association and the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity.

Mr. Burnette enjoys spending time outdoors hiking and camping with his wife, Savannah and 5-year-old pup Duncan, who is named after his favorite basketball player, Tim Duncan. Mr. Burnette is an avid sports fan, his favorite teams are the San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Browns and Austin FC.

 

Kristen Hutchins
Assistant Director of Bands

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Ms. Hutchins was born on the island of Oahu in Honolulu, HI but grew up in San Antonio, TX as the youngest of a set of twins. She went on to attend Claudia Taylor Johnson High School and was actively involved in sports and band, making Area on Eb Clarinet. In 2019 she marched her first season of DCI with the Guardians DBC on euphonium, and completed her age out in 2021 with The Academy. Additionally, she performed with Rhythmic Force Indoor Percussion in 2021 on rack/bells. 

In the fall of 2017 Ms. Hutchins started pursuing a degree in Music Education at Texas State University. During her time at Texas State, she was involved in ensembles such as the Bobcat Marching Band, Bobcat Basketball Band, the Texas State Clarinet Choir, Symphonic Winds, and Wind Symphony. She wrapped up her performing career on bass clarinet in the Texas State Wind Symphony, under the direction of Dr. Caroline Beatty. 

Ms. Hutchins has taught as a private lesson teacher in Hays CISD at both the middle and high school level. More recently  she taught as a marching technician at Liberty Hill High School in Liberty Hill, TX. During the spring semester of 2022, Ms. Hutchins completed student teaching in Leander ISD and graduated in May. 

When not teaching Ms. Hutchins enjoys activities such as rock climbing, paddle boarding, and knitting. She enjoys spending weekends in with her 2 cats, Appa and Cthulhu, and is currently making her way through the popular HBO series Westworld.

 

Lauren Gonzalez
Director of Percussion

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Ms. Gonzalez was born and raised in the Houston area and is the youngest sibling of four. She attended Alvin High School where she was involved in band: making Area in Percussion as well as section leader/Drum Captain. She also participated in sports, Hispanic American Leadership Organization, and was Vice President of the Senior class. 

 

After high school, Ms. Gonzalez attended Texas State University and recently received her degree in Music Education with a concentration in Percussion. While at Texas State, she participated in various ensembles such as Bobcat Marching Band, Percussion Ensemble, Steel Drum Band, Concert Band, Symphonic Winds, and Wind Symphony. During this time, Ms. Gonzalez also performed with Guardians DBC and Vigilante Indoor Percussion.

 

Ms. Gonzalez was a Front Ensemble technician at Alvin High School in the Summer of 2019 and at Akins Early College High School since the Fall of 2019. She has also taught private lessons for Middle School and High School students in Wimberley ISD and Austin ISD while completing her Student Teaching in Hays CISD.

 

Outside of teaching, Ms. Gonzalez enjoys watching and playing sports, and spending time with family, friends, and Riko (her pup).

 

Alejandro Garcia
Colorguard Director

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Mr Alejandro Garcia is currently the Director of Colorguards at John B. Connally High School in Austin, TX.

 

Mr Garcia is a California native coming from the city of El Monte. He has been involved with the colorguard arts since 1997.  He attended El Monte High School in El Monte , CA and then moved to Tucson, AZ in 2001 to finish his high school career at Desert View High School in Tucson, AZ.  He attended Pima Community College working towards his degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Dance Studies.  He then transferred to the University of Arizona education component.

Mr Garcia worked very hard to continue furthering his education in the colorguard arts, aging out with the Mandarins in 2005.  He has also performed with many winterguards in the state of Arizona over his career.  He is one of the original founding members of the independent world guard, Fenix Independent World. 

Mr Garcia resided in the city of Phoenix, AZ where his career took him into the restaurant scene in management.  Mr Garcia then moved into the casino industry being a part of the opening team to the Desert Diamond Casino in Glendale, AZ.  At the casino he managed their food & beverage dept and then was promoted manager of their retail department.    

Mr Garcia has over 10 years of performance/teaching experience in the colorguard arts.  He started teaching colorguard right after his drum corps age out year.  He has always had a thirst for knowledge which has pushed him to learn from the best.  Even after 10 years of teaching he continues to develop more of these relationships with the community to make him an even stronger educator in the arts.  With his hard work and dedication he has earned championship titles in the state of Arizona with WGAZ and ABODA.  With these titles Mr Garcia then became an ABODA judge including a judge in the WGAZ circuit.

Mr Garcia continues to strive for greatness in everything he does. He teaches his students to value themselves as individuals and how to be proud of their accomplishments.  His students are pushed to know the value of teamwork and dedication.  Mr Garcia is very excited to be a part of this amazing community and looks forward to making the Connally Band shine with greatness.

 

Erika Agrait
Emerald Dance Co. Instructor

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Mrs. Erika Agrait was born in Houston, Texas and grew up in Round Rock, where she found her love of dance & drill team.  Mrs. Agrait was the Captain of her middle school dance team, the C.D. Fulkes Steppers and Major of her high school dance team, the Round Rock High School Dragonettes.  As a high school senior, she was selected as 1 of 20 dancers to perform with the band in their Dance Guard.  She also served as the middle school mentor & choreographer for the CDF Steppers.

 

After high school, Mrs. Agrait attended Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Dance.  She performed 4 years as a Texas State Strutter and led the team as  Lieutenant for her Junior & Senior years.  Mrs. Agrait performed in the Macy's Day Thanksgiving Parade as a sophomore Strutter.  She earned academic athletic scholarships throughout her college career and was awarded several Strutter scholarships.  Mrs. Agrait was a Phenoix-founder of the Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority and also earned Who's Who Among Colleges & Universities.  

 

Over the past decade, Mrs. Agrait directed many award-winning & nationally recognized dance teams in Texas including the North Shore Senior High Scarlets in Houston, the Holmes High School Goldenbelles in San Antonio and the Tigerettes at East Austin College Prep.   Her teams have won many various awards for choreography, technique, precision & performance.  Many of her former dancers have become successful of the world of dance. 

 

Currently, Mrs. Agrait directs the Connally High School Stars dance team.  This is her 2nd year with the team and she is eager to watch them progress as competitive dancers.  The Stars earned the "Most Spirited Team" of season from HTE Dance Co. this summer and 2nd Runner Up Dance Team last competition.  Mrs. Agrait also teaches all of the Dance I-IV classes at Connally High School and has over 100 students in her program.

 

Mrs. Agrait is a proud Army wife and mother of 2.  Her husband is a Captain in the US Army and her two children attend schools in Georgetown, Texas where they reside.  She is excited to be a part of the CHS band family this year and looks forward to an awesome performance season!