Eric Jimenez M. Ed – Director of Bands
Music educator and educational leader, Jimenez established several outstanding band programs throughout the Houston Independent School District. During his tenure at schools such as Sharpstown MS, Hamilton MS, Waltrip HS, & Davis HS, Jimenez’ band programs increased in student participation, instrument inventory, received several first division UIL ratings and most outstanding band awards at numerous festivals. He was awarded Hamilton Middle School’s Teacher of the Year in 2012, LULAC Educator of the Year in 2015 and awarded the Grammy educational award for the his work at Jeff Davis HS. Most recently he served as an assistant principal at Frank Black MS. He continues to be an active clinician, mentor and consultant for arts educational programs. Jimenez is an alumn of Prairie View A&M University and Lamar University. He also serves as a member of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity Inc and Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity.
Stephen Becker- Associate Director of Bands
A native Missourian, Mr. Becker came to Houston with 22 years of teaching experience. His musical groups have toured nationally and internationally and have received outstanding ratings and awards at various festivals and competitions. In his tenure at Reagan High School, now Heights High School, Mr. Becker has worked in sustaining the music programs as co-band director, choir director, jazz band director and has overseen the mariachi program as the growth and transformation took place at Heights High School. He has been instrumental in keeping the musical groups visible and actively performing within the community. Under his leadership the Heights High School Jazz Band has received consistent division I ratings at jazz festivals and competitions. In his leisure, Mr. Becker enjoys traveling and experiencing the cuisine and culture of different places.
Justin McLean- Associate Director of Bands & Percussion Director
Justin McLean, educator-artist-musician, is the new Associate Band Director and Director of Percussion for Heights High School.
Mr. McLean holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education (Instrumental) from Prairie View A&M University with an all-level teaching certification. During his tenure at Prairie View A&M University, he was involved in various ensembles which included the marimba ensemble, percussion ensemble, student musician for various groups on campus and a student conductor.
Mr. McLean has had the pleasure of educating and training young musicians as the Director of Bands at Hamilton Middle School for the past 6 years. Under his direction he has been able to maintain a fully comprehensive program that pushes quality students to surrounding high school and has been awarded many accolades for musical excellence. The Symphonic Band has been a consistent division 2 rated band on the varsity level and his Fusion Rhythms Jazz band is highly decorated as well.
His love for music expands beyond the classroom as well as he is an artist that writes and creates his own music in the Christian/gospel genre. Recently Mr. Mclean performed as a featured artist at the prestigious SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX. He is also devoted as Music Director in his local church.
Mr. Mclean’s goal as an educator can be summed up in this statement,” passionately committed to developing great musicians with a heart for service and leadership.”
He looks forward to instilling these core values into the Height percussion program.
Matt Caballero- Color Guard Instructor
Matt Caballero, from Leander, TX and graduate of University of Houston. Currently works for Harris County Engineering Department within the Design Services division. Mr. Caballero is very interested the design and use of products, cities, clothing, dance and even visual art. Most recently he won a 1st place competition for the future of transportation, held at University of Houston. His work has been exhibited in cities like New York, Philadelphia and Miami. Mr. Caballero has been involved in the color guard profession since high school at Leander in 2003. Mr. Caballero served as the color guard director for Somerset high school 2008-2009 and took a teaching apprenticeship the following year. During the fall of 2015 Mr. Caballero was a member of UH Spirit of Houston color guard and was involved in some teaching and leadership roles.
Mr. Caballero is continuously involved with the community and professional organizations. He is a part of the American Institute of Architects, the Architectural League of New York and a board member on the UH LGBT Advisory Board. Mr. Caballero has volunteered with UH Alumni Association, Houston Pride, AIA Houston, Citizen Schools and Houston Food Bank, among others. He takes pride in the work he does, whatever it may be, and always try to find an angle for community involvement.
Joining the staff at Heights HS, he hopes to bring skills and leadership that will create a thriving program.
Shelly Carrol- Woodwind/Jazz Instructor
Saxophonist, hails from family of gospel singers and musicians in Houston, Texas. It was there that the music bug bit him at an early age and landed him in the famed Boys Choir of Houston. After picking up the saxophone, he was able to study with the legendary Texas Tenor greats Arnett Cobb and Don Wilkerson. At the time he didn’t know how revered these gentlemen were around the globe. They simply lived in his neighborhood. Shelley attended the city’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and was a standout in the city’s Summer Jazz Workshop Program. This is where he developed a true flair for the stage.
While attending the University of North Texas, Shelley earned a spot in the Grammy Nominated One O’clock Lab Band. There he recorded two critically acclaimed CD’s in 1990 – 91. During the same period, Mr. Carrol was invited to join the Duke Ellington Orchestra by trumpeter Barry Lee Hall. This would prove to be an enormous musical opportunity with worldwide exposure. Since joining the band, he has toured the U.S. and over 30 foreign countries. He has also recorded and or performed with Sheryl Crow, Maureen McGovern, Tony Bennet, Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Roger Waters and a host of others. Shelley evolved to record as a leader in 1997. He was able to feature members of the Duke Ellington Orchestra on his debut CD for Leaning House Records. His second CD, A Distant Star was released in the fall of 2001. The disc features pianist Bernard Wright, bassist Curtis Lundy, and drummer Sebastian Whittaker. This sophomore effort easily got get the critics and fans buzzing with excitement. Carrol’s latest release was recently recorded with his Monday night band. This group has been featured at The New Amsterdam Bar in Dallas for several years. Their CD entitled Gentle Friend is now available. Shelley also feels a need to share his musical gift with today’s youth. He currently teaches privately in the Dallas area and gives clinics whenever he can. He even has plans to develop a Summer Jazz Workshop in Dallas. He says”…music has to be shared to truly be enjoyed.” Anyone who listens to his Tenor saxophone would have to agree. Carrol was a 2006 finalist in the Texas Commission for the Arts “State Musician” recognition. He was also named the 2007 Sammons Center Jazz Artist of the Year. He is also a 2014 Dallas Observer nominee for Best Jazz Act. Shelley has been on tour with multi-platinum artist, Sheryl Crow. This has lead to many endorsements and various national TV appearances.
Alan Arce- Mariachi & Orchestra Director
Alan Arce is a musician, educator, and arranger who has performed extensively
in the U.S. and internationally in Ireland, Norway, and Mexico. In 2001, he performed at
the White House for the Cinco de Mayo celebration, accompanying singers Thalia and
Pablo Montero. Mr. Arce studied at the Berklee College of Music, the University of
Houston, and the University of Texas Pan-American. While at UTPA, he was appointed
assistant director of Mariachi Aztlan. During his time there, he performed and taught in
workshops at the Mariachi Spectacular of Albuquerque and the International Mariachi
Festival of National City, California. The group also won first place at the Mariachi
Vargas Extravaganza, and did a Christmas concert tour of various U.S. cities. In 2014
they collaborated with the Lyric Opera of Chicago in the “Canciones y Arias” concerts,
for which he arranged one of the songs. Later that summer they won first place at the
Mariachi Nationals in California, and then went on to record their latest album, in
California, for which he wrote an arrangement as well. Mr. Arce has also performed with
famous salsa singers Paquito Guzman and Brenda K. Starr, and with legendary cuatro
player Yomo Toro.
As an educator for HISD, Mr. Arce started a very successful violin program at
Davila Elementary in 2001, and he also taught violin at Crockett Elementary. He later
became the director of the mariachi program at MECA, where he was responsible for
overseeing mariachi programs at various schools, including HSPVA, where he directed
the Mariachi ensemble. He then became the general music director at MECA, and
introduced new classes such as a latin jazz class and a world music and improvisation
class for string players. Under his direction Mariachi MECA performed in Norway and
participated in the “Selena Vive” concert at the Reliant Stadium, accompanying singers
Ana Gabriel and Alicia Villareal. They also opened up for the world-renowned Mariachi
Vargas de Tecalitlan at the Wortham Theatre.
He later worked in Miami as a violinist on various Telemundo and Univision TV
shows as well as for concerts and recordings, collaborating with many famous latin