A product of Abilene public schools, Jay Lester currently serves Abilene ISD as Director of Fine Arts where he oversees 90 teachers of music, art, theatre and dance. Before moving to Abilene, Mr. Lester held the Director of Fine Arts position in Victoria where oversaw the design and construction of the Victoria ISD Fine Arts Center, a state of the art 1500 seat performance hall, which opened in 2011. Prior to his appointment in Victoria in 2008, Jay was Director of Bands at Lowery Freshman Center in Allen, Texas for seven years. The 525 member Allen High School marching band was selected as the recipient of the 2004 Sudler Shield, the highest award given by the John Philip Sousa Foundation. The Allen band traveled to Pasadena, California as the 2005-06 Texas representative to the Tournament of Roses Parade. In 2006, he had the honor of co-directing the Allen High School Full Orchestra at the prestigious Mid-West Clinic in Chicago, Illinois. Before teaching in Allen, Mr. Lester taught in Odessa and Abilene, Texas. He holds both the B.M. and M.M. degree from Hardin-Simmons University and the M.Ed. from the University of North Texas.
Band and orchestra ensembles under Mr. Lester’s direction consistently scored “sweepstakes” ratings at University Interscholastic League competitions and festivals. Jay has presented workshops at several conventions including: Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, Texas Orchestra Directors Association and the Midwest Clinic for Bands & Orchestras in Chicago, Illinois. Over 60 of his students have gone on to become members of the Texas All-State Band or Orchestra. Several former students have chosen music as a profession. Though no longer teaching, Jay stays active in the profession by conducting all-region clinics and concerts, and by judging various UIL marching, concert band and orchestra contests. From 2009-2012, Jay conducted the Crossroads Community Band, a Victoria area concert band open to all interested musicians who share a love for band music.
His memberships have included: TMEA, TMAC, TBA, TODA, TMAA, TAEA, TAEA, TETA, TDEA, the International Trumpet Guild, and Pi Kappa Lamba. As an alumnus of Hardin Simmons, he serves on the HSU Cowboy Band Foundation Board of Directors and the HSU Board of Development. As a performer, Mr. Lester has played trumpet with the Crossroads Community Band, the Abilene Community Band, the Odessa College Band, the Texana Community Band, the Allen Philharmonic Symphony, the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, the Lone Star Brass Quintet, and the Midland-Odessa Symphony Orchestra.
Jay is happily married to Lisa (Brunner) Lester. They have two sons who enjoy piano, guitar, band, orchestra, and technology.