Director of Music and Performing Arts Mike Howard and Henry Middle School Head Band Director Robert Herrings were both inducted into the American Bandmasters Association (ABA) during the 2024 American Bandmasters Association Convention, held March 6-10 in Washington D.C.

Membership into the American Bandmasters Association is extended to the leaders of the wind band movement and is considered to be the highest honor given within the wind studies realm. Membership is extended through invitation to conductors, teachers or directors considered to be exemplary professionals within the field.

“It is no surprise that LISD music educators Mike Howard and Robert Herring are the recipients of this distinguished honor. They both lead with excellence and inspire a passion for excellence in their students,” Superintendent Bruce Gearing, Ed.D., said. “Mike’s presence and investment in LISD has had a tremendous impact on the success of our music and performing arts programs. Robert’s joy and passion for music education has led to exciting opportunities and numerous accomplishments for the Henry band program.”

Howard was a music educator for 18 years before becoming the director of music and performing arts in LISD. Thirteen of those years were spent at Vandegrift High School, where Howard was a founding director of Vandegrift’s music programs, first directing the Vandegrift Wind Ensemble and then becoming the head band director in 2014. Howard’s bands have received many high honors and awards under his leadership, and the dozens of LISD band and music programs he now oversees have continued to demonstrate high levels of success.

Since 2004, Herrings has been a music educator at Henry Middle School, where he now conducts the Honors Band and assists with the Symphonic Band and Concert Band. The Henry Honors Band was named Texas Music Educators Association Class CCC Honor Band in 2010, 2014, 2018 and 2023, and has been invited to perform at multiple clinics throughout the country. Under Herrings’s leadership, the Henry band program has received a variety of awards over the past two decades, including the John Philip Sousa Foundation Sudler Silver Cup Award and Outstanding Band Program Award from the American School Band Directors Association.

“We are blessed to have Mike and Robert’s talent and leadership within LISD, and they are both so deserving of the prestigious honor of being inducted into the American Bandmasters Association,” LISD Senior Executive Director of Campus Activities Jody Hormann said. “I look forward to seeing the ways in which the LISD music programs will continue to grow and thrive under their exceptional leadership.”

During their time at the ABA Convention, Howard had the unique opportunity to conduct the United States Navy Band, while Herrings had the honor of conducting the United States Army Band.