Manuel San Luis has directed band for 33 years. His career in Leander ISD began 22 years ago as an assistant band director at Leander Middle School, the sole middle school in the district at the time. When Cedar Park Middle School opened its doors in 1995, San Luis was hired as the head band director. Twenty-one years later, he still calls Cedar Park MS home.
“It’s very fulfilling for me to see the growth of the district, to see it progress in a very positive way,” San Luis said. “One of the reasons I’ve stayed this long is because I’ve seen the positive progress of this district.”
San Luis also counts himself fortunate to have seen his students progress from middle school to high school and in to professional roles outside of high school. As a middle school that leads only to Cedar Park High School, the responsibility of preparing his students for higher learning is one he takes seriously. And while his impact on his students has been a lasting one, San Luis also finds joy in mentoring his assistant band directors, four of which are now head directors in LISD.
The Cedar Park MS band’s mission is to give students the opportunity to feel success in instrumental music, while acquiring an education of social and life-skills. Most recently, the program has seen success by being recognized by the Texas Bandmasters Association as the state “Exemplary Middle School Band Program” of 2015. As for social and life-skills, San Luis strives to develop them every day in the classroom.
“The philosophy of my teaching is that I teach the person in the musician, not just the musician in the person,” San Luis said.