Highland Park Hires New, New Band Director

Pam Hyatt is out after just three weeks. Reagan Brumley is in, as of a special called meeting of the Highland Park school board this afternoon.

At said meeting, I asked Highland Park High School principal Walter Kelly what happened to Hyatt, who was named band director May 2 and resigned effective May 24.

“She decided to stay in China Spring ISD as director of bands,” Kelly said. Hyatt had been in the Park Cities, meeting with her new musicians and their parents. “For personal, family reasons, she decided it wasn’t the best choice for her at this time.”

I’ve left a message for Hyatt at China Spring High School.

Brumley, meanwhile, comes to Highland Park after working for three years at Berkner High School in Richardson ISD, where Kelly was previously employed as principal of Lake Highlands High School.

“We never worked directly together,” Kelly said. “Reagan has a great reputation, though, amongst band directors and in the fine arts community. I’d certainly heard of him, and I listened to and saw his bands perform over the years and really admired them.”

Brumley said he learned of the re-opening of the Highland Park position when Kelly called him early Monday morning. He was relieved to get a second shot at a job that he regretted not applying for the previous time it came open.

“I found myself wishing once the job closed here that I had applied for it,” Brumley said. “It was something I second-guessed and thought, ‘OK, I’m going to move on, because that ship has sailed.’ When Walter called me on Monday morning, I thought, ‘OK, here’s my chance to re-evaluate that decision.’ ”

Pick up next week’s edition of Park Cities People for more details.

21 thoughts on “Highland Park Hires New, New Band Director

  • May 27, 2011 at 4:02 pm
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    Real Answer: She met the nutty parents who have made the previous band directors life a nightmare, and decided to return to normalville.

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  • May 27, 2011 at 4:27 pm
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    A reader has asked why would Kelly have called Brumley on Monday morning if Hyatt resigned May 24, which was Tuesday. I don’t know exactly when Hyatt quit, but according to the paperwork for this afternoon’s meeting, her resignation was effective Tuesday.

    The same paperwork said the following teachers have resigned effective May 28, which would be tomorrow:

    Chad McCuthchen, HPHS, Spanish
    Sarah Barr, MIS, fifth-grade math
    Emily Lee, MIS, fifth-grade math
    Jennifer Melson, MIS, sixth-grade math
    Arley Ward, Bradfield, PPCD
    Meagan Andrews, Hyer, second grade
    Tara Teske, University Park, fourth grade
    Betsy Hardy, special programs, speech language pathologist

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  • May 27, 2011 at 5:09 pm
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    Didn’t the high school English teacher Mrs. Hinojosa quit? I heard her husband is moving to Atlanta….

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  • May 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm
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    Unfortunately, kmom, the rumor is that she is staying to torture another group of HS kids. She’s close to full retirement and needs one more year. Good luck to the kiddies in that class!

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  • May 27, 2011 at 7:13 pm
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    @kmom. I don’t think that list is complete either. Also doesn’t include retirees, like the principals. I heard some long-time high school science teacher was leaving, maybe a Ms. Cannon? Can’t remember the name. But the list is longer.

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  • May 27, 2011 at 7:44 pm
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    I’m not saying this is everyone leaving the district this spring. These are just the names on the paperwork for today’s meeting. The others you’re referencing were probably on the agenda for another school board meeting.

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  • May 27, 2011 at 9:05 pm
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    Yeah, three first grade Hyer teachers aren’t coming back. Seems like normal churn.

    Weird stuff with HS band. China Spring?

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  • May 28, 2011 at 3:57 am
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    I am from China Spring and would like to clear a few misconceptions up for those from Highland Park wondering what happened.

    #1 – She didn’t actually start the job as director at Highland Park yet, so therefore it was nothing about “nutty parents running her off” or anything like that. If she followed through and went to teach at HP, then it would have been starting in the summer/fall, and she would have finished out this year at China Spring first.

    #2 – The line about staying for “personal and family reasons” is the one that best explains it. From what I know, it boils down to that she couldn’t bear to leave and managed to work out something so she could stay. The students at CSHS were thrilled when they found out she was staying. She is a fantastic director and they are glad to have her back. Again, I don’t know much more details than this, but if you were there the day the announcement was made, you would understand.

    Highland Park, I wish you the best and hope the new director hired works out well for you.

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  • May 28, 2011 at 5:45 am
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    Of course she met the nutty, controlling parents and realized she had made a horrible mistake before she ever got here! Who would want to leave a situation where students were thrilled to hear of her decision to stay vs. walking into a hornet’s nest? They make the over the top parents of athletes look like powder puffs-seriously. This is the perfect example of why very little about HP is “normalville”.

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  • May 28, 2011 at 8:45 am
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    To CS Anonymous…. I wish she had been a bit more thoughtful before she accepted the new position at HP. She did come to a band booster meeting to speak with all the parents about coming to HP, how excited she was, how her mentor told her about this wonderful position…. now it’s blah, blah, blah. I guess if her decision making skills are so lame, maybe we are better off. Bring on Brumley. We’ll see what he’s like. Hopefully he will stay longer than 1 month!

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  • May 28, 2011 at 11:44 am
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    Dan, it would be of great interest to readers to publish the names of teachers leaving, if this is public record. Especially when it’s a long-time favorite because it gives us a chance to say goodbye.

    Hey Kmom, were you being sarcastic or did you not know that Hinojosa is married to the departing DISD superintendent?

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  • May 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm
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    @Id. Kmom’s comment was tongue in cheek. Everyone knows who her husband is. News to me that she may not be leaving too.

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  • May 28, 2011 at 6:12 pm
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    Kitty Hinojosa is a fabulous English teacher – professional to the core. She announced to her students that she will be teaching another year to qualify for TRS benefits before joining her husband in Georgia. Why is this anyone’s business?

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  • May 29, 2011 at 8:50 am
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    @HPHS Parent, the reason is because her husband is a controversial public figure who lied about his desire to stay in Dallas, after he wasn’t offered the superintendent position in Las Vegas last year. In addition, people are upset because he will receive an enormous retirement pension of about $200,000 a year.

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  • May 31, 2011 at 8:21 am
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    As a band parent, I would like to ask the community to be supportive of the band kids. They are bright, hard working and have friends just like other HPHS students. We are not all like the stereotype some of you like to comment on here. It’s also painful to hear these comments. Perhaps some parents feel like they have to fight for their kids and it comes across as intense. There are those parents in all areas of interest at HP.

    Let’s support the board’s and Mr. Kelly’s hiring decision. I look forward to meeting our new director Tuesday evening.

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  • May 31, 2011 at 11:35 am
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    @sls, I don’t think supporting the band kids is the issue. Nor do I think “intense parents” are an issue specific to the band. But given the turmoil surrounding the band directors in recent years, let’s not assume that it is a normal working environment. While I wish that Ms. Hyatt had thought through the entire package when she accepted the offer, I believe it better that she left now than after a year. My child will be in the band soon, and I hope all of this churn ends up being a mere blip in the rear view mirror, and that Mr. Brumley is here for many uneventful and successful years to come.

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  • May 31, 2011 at 12:03 pm
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    Is there a band meeting tonight? Are all band parents invited? Have not gotten an email.

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  • May 31, 2011 at 12:24 pm
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    @ XT, I agree with you and I hope so, too, as I also have a band kid in the middle school. This turmoil is not pleasant. We all need to remember that any criticism on the part of parents comes back to the students and affects their perceptions of student groups whether it be band, Belles, athletics, etc. Let’s try to be positive going forward.

    We were at the state solo and ensemble competition this weekend. It was very inspiring to see so many band kids from all over the state. Our kids did well and I hope many more will be joining us next year.

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  • May 31, 2011 at 9:12 pm
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    Roshawn Talley Turner left Bradfield (1st grade teacher).

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  • June 8, 2011 at 10:10 am
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    Maybe she decided she didn’t want to be in a place that trashes the bd’s office with no consequences. I’ve known her and she really is a class act.

    This should scream out to parents that they now need to STAY OUT of the director’s business once and for all.

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