Rhonda Daniel has known her calling is music education since the eighth grade.

Now, as the new Longview High School band director and the first woman at the post, she is preparing to lead a band she called the “gold standard.“

“I’m really excited for the opportunity to come work at the school,“ she said. “I believe the Lobo band is the gold standard for military bands in East Texas, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.“

Though she is from Center and did not attend Longview High School, Daniel said the teaching the Lobo band did in the ‘60s and ‘70s influenced her through her high school and college band directors, who were Longview High School graduates.

Daniel, who has been teaching for 18 years, previously worked as the assistant high school band director at Groesbeck, head middle school band director at Center and Henderson and head band director at Tenaha, Timpson and Gladewater, she said. She studied music education at Stephen F. Austin State University.

During her time as a band director, Daniel said her bands have won multiple University Interscholastic League sweepstakes awards, earned recognition at the state level in marching and concert contests, been named best in class at the National Association of Military Marching Bands competition numerous times and earned several other state honors.

She said she also has students who are now in collegiate bands at Stephen F. Austin State University and Texas A&M University.

Now at a much larger school than she has taught at before, Daniel said she wants to maintain the traditions of the Big Green Marching Machine and also add to its success.

“I’m competitive, and in any position I’ve ever been in, I’ve tried to showcase what our students do and put us on display whenever we get a chance,“ she said. “I’m the president of the National Association of Military Marching Bands, and that contest is held every fall. And I believe as the Lobo band, we should participate in that contest.“

Daniel said she wants to continue the military-style marching, because it puts the entire emphasis on playing well. She also wants to advance to the area and state levels of the University Interscholastic League’s marching contest.

Brian Shobert, president of the Lobo Band Boosters, said the club is excited about Daniel as the new director and the first woman head band director at the high school.

“The band has a massive history of being very well known in the state and country for military marching and being very successful at it,“ he said. “This is one of those traditions for us and the community, and it’s very important to sustain that. To have a band director that doesn’t just understand that but wants to excel that is very important to us.“

While Daniel knows not all her students will continue with careers in music, she still wants to pass valuable skills to them, she said.

“I want them to know how to work together with a group of individuals for a common goal, and I want them to have a good work ethic,“ she said. “I want them to understand what it takes to achieve their dreams. I want them to gain the tools that are necessary to achieve their dreams so they can carry that over into other aspects of their lives.“