Assistant band director to become head director at new high school in Prosper ISD

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photo by Kate Haas

Assistant band director JP Wilson leads a symphonic band rehearsal during fourth period. He has been directing this ensemble for six of his seven years at the school. “I think I’m a much better teacher than before I got to Hebron, and I think my ears are better in terms of what I’m listening for,” Wilson said. “I’ve learned so much from Mr. Sealy. Watching him teach and listening to his ensembles, you just can’t help but get better."

Assistant band director JP Wilson has accepted the job of head band director at Rock Hill, a new high school opening next year in Prosper ISD. His position was announced to Prosper students and parents on Jan. 22 and to his current students a week prior. 

Rock Hill will have grades 9-12 attending in its first year and will be a 5A school. It is the second high school to open in Prosper ISD, and construction is projected to be completed in April. Wilson had been discussing the opportunity with head director Andy Sealy and his colleagues since they heard the school was opening. He was formally offered the job in late December. 

“It was definitely a hard decision,” Wilson said. “In all of my conversations with Mr. Sealy, it was like, ‘I’m not unhappy here.’ I love the kids, I love what we’ve established and I love what we do, but I think from a professional standpoint, at some point we all want to put our name on something and claim it and say that you did it. It’s kind of like a bird leaving the nest. ” 

Wilson is expecting to have 180-200 students in his band and has already begun preparations including hiring staff members, planning band camps and finalizing instrument inventory and a uniform design. 

“It’s kind of like Christmas,” Wilson said. “It’s cool to get to pick the uniform, pick instruments and do all of those things how you want it to be done from the beginning, but with picking all of those things then comes, ‘OK, now we’ve got to do inventory and get through all of these boxes.’” 

In his seven years at Hebron, Wilson has overseen multiple roles for the band: teaching marching fundamentals, leading the symphonic band class and conducting the school musical to name a few. 

“The really cool thing about what Mr. Wilson has done here, in my opinion, is that he has had his nose in everything effectively,” Sealy said. “I think the thing that’s going to be missed the most [about him] is the overall utilitarian value he has in every capacity of our program. He has a hand in the success of every element.”

A drum major himself in high school and college, Wilson also trains the drum major team every year and teaches leadership workshops at the school and TCU, his alma mater. Junior Delaney Dyer became a drum major this year and has been in the symphonic band under Wilson’s instruction for over two years. She said the lessons Wilson taught her about leadership will stick with her forever. 

“He’s taught me a lot of really cool things about what leadership looks like and how a modern perspective of leadership takes effect in a band setting,” Dyer said. “It’s different than anything I’ve ever thought of before. The thing he really simplifies it down to is the best kind of leadership is kindness to people. That was the biggest thing, because that’s something he displays to everyone every day.”

Dyer said the students will miss Wilson because he is understanding, easy to talk to and makes all of his students feel valuable. Sealy said he will be missed for his technical contributions to the staff and also as a friend. 

photo by Kate Haas

“We’ll miss all of his good technology skills that I’m bad at,” Sealy said. “We’ll miss him for how hard he works not only on the students’ behalf, but on behalf of the program and the brand: on behalf of “All in all the time.” We’re going to miss the friendships and the times we get to cut up and have fun that the students don’t ever get to see. They don’t get to witness those moments that we’re really working like that — just some in context probably — but not the real ones. We’re going to miss all of those relationships.” 

Wilson said he wants to create an environment at Rock Hill similar to Hebron’s in that it’s focused on the process rather than the end result. He wants to push his students and make sure they have memorable experiences. 

“The students mean everything,” Wilson said. “That’s why I do it. The kids mean a lot to us, and in particular as band directors, we see our students more than their parents do sometimes in the fall semester. We claim them because we see them so much, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love being there for the kids and watching them succeed in the things they do.”