Meet the 2021 LMEA Award Recipients

The Louisiana Music Educators Association is proud to recognize the following individuals for their achievement, commitment, and dedication to music education in Louisiana. Because there was no in-person conference 2021-21, some of last year’s awards are scheduled to be presented at the current Professional Development Conference and All-State events.

2021 Robert L. Wilhite Award of Excellence

Lennard Holden, Band Director
Southwood High School
Shreveport, Louisiana

Lennard Holden received his bachelor’s degree in music from Mississippi College, Clinton, MS. He has been the Director of Bands at Southwood High School since 2007. Prior to that, Mr. Holden held a position at Clinton High School in Clinton Mississippi.

Mr. Holden directs the Freshman Band, Percussion Ensemble, Brass Choir, Woodwind Ensemble, Marching Auxiliaries, The Symphonic Winds, Jazz Ensemble, Pep Band, and Marching Band.

Under his direction, the band program has grown from 23 members to over 120. Southwood’s band has been recognized for numerous awards and honors. The school’s ensembles have performed in Washington D.C., Houston Texas, Orlando Florida, Memphis Tennessee, Atlanta Georgia and Jackson Mississippi. The Southwood Symphonic Wind Ensemble was a feature in USA TODAY in 2015. The group was also chosen as featured artist in the Shreveport Magazine and the Shreveport Times.

The Southwood Symphonic Winds competed in 2019 at the Southern Star Music Festival in Atlanta GA. In a field of 35 other ensembles from across the country, the Symphonic Winds won the title of Grand Champion. Mr. Holden is active as a judge and clinician in the in Louisiana and Mississippi. As a performer, Mr. Holden plays trumpet in the Shreveport Regional Jazz Ensembles, and the Red River Wind Orchestra where he has served as guest Conductor.

His professional affiliations include NAfME, Louisiana Music Educators Association, Phi Mu Alpha Music Fraternity, and Minority Band Directors National Association.

LMEA Hall of Fame Inductees

2021 Inductee
Johnny Walker

Johnny V Walker is a native of Alexandria, LA, and a graduate of Bolton High School.  He received a Bachelors degree in Music Education from Northeastern Louisiana University and a Masters degree in Music Education from Northwestern State University.  Mr. Walker retired in 2019 after serving 30 years in the field of Music Education.  During his career, Mr. Walker served as the band director at Winnfield Middle School, Bolton High School and Pineville High School. At Pineville, where he finished the last 28 years of his teaching career, Mr. Walker grew the band program into one of the premier instrumental music programs in Central Louisiana, winning numerous awards and accolades, including many sweepstakes honors at regional, state and national events.

Mr. Walker continues to serve as a clinician and adjudicator throughout the state and continues to serve on the instructional staff of the Macy’s Great American Marching band, a position he has held since 2006.

Throughout his career, Mr. Walker has held several local and state positions for LMEA including serving as president of the District II Band Directors Association and then as District Director for over 10 years.

Outside of the public school system, Mr. Walker continues to educate as a private lesson instructor in the Alexandria area. Additionally, he performs with the Iberia Jazz Band, based in New Iberia, LA and at Calvary Baptist Church in Alexandria, LA.

Mr. Walker resides in Woodworth, LA with his dog Little Ben.

2020 Inductee
James W. Hearne

James Hearne is in his twenty-ninth year of music education in Louisiana.  He is currently in his sixth year as director of the Moss Bluff Middle School Bands in Moss Bluff, Louisiana.  Prior to Moss Bluff Middle School, he taught four years at S. J. Welsh Middle School, fourteen and a half years at LaGrange High School and three and a half years at Oakdale Junior and Senior High School.  He received his bachelor’s degree in Instrumental Music Education from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, where he studied conducting with Frank Wickes.  His tenure in Louisiana has produced performing groups that have received numerous sweepstakes at district, state, and national events.  He has appeared as a guest conductor, adjudicator, and clinician throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Mr. Hearne has had the honor of serving in various leadership positions for the District V Band and Orchestra Directors’ Association and Louisiana Music Educators’ Association.  He is currently serving in his eighth year as the LMEA Conference Coordinator.  Mr. Hearne is a member of Phi Beta Mu, District V Band and Orchestra Directors’ Association, Louisiana Music Educators’ Association and the National Association for Music Education.  He is a recipient of the Phi Beta Mu “Louisiana Director of the Year”, National Band Associations’ Citation of Excellence, District V Norman E. Smith Band Director of the Year, and the KPLC Class Act Award.

Outside of the music education classroom, Mr. Hearne has served as the Glad Tidings Church Orchestra director for the past twelve years and interim choir director for a total of four years. As a performer, he has had the opportunity to perform with many different mediums ranging from church music to big bands.

Mr. Hearne currently resides in Ragley, Louisiana with his wife of twenty-eight years Monie Hearne and his two sons Collin James Hearne and Carter John Hearne.

LMEA Outstanding Young Music Educator Award

2021 Recipient
John Havard

John Havard is currently the Director of Bands at Pine Prairie High School and Bayou Chicot Elementary School in Evangeline Parish.  He has held this position for the past five years.  During his tenure, John has been instrumental in getting the parish to start a parish honor band and solo festival.  Since most of the band programs in the parish are starting for the first time, John Havard, along with Clinton Jones, have also started the first ever Evangeline Parish Jazz Band.   The jazz program allows the students an opportunity to study jazz with the best students in the parish on a weekly basis. During the Covid-19 school year, Evangeline Parish designated Wednesdays as full distance learning days.  Seeing an opportunity, John set up and organized the other Evangeline Parish Band Directors for a weekly zoom meeting to bring in guest clinicians for professional development.  The Evangeline Parish Band Directors Association has established a strong relationship with the Evangeline Parish School Board and will now have monthly meetings to ensure music education has an effective voice in all of the schools in parish.  John was instrumental in establishing a line of communication with Save The Music Foundation and the Evangeline Parish School Board to help financially plan for all students in the Parish to have instruments regardless of economic background.

John brought the Pine Prairie High School Band, after only one year of the program’s existence, to the Louisiana Music Educators Association (LMEA) District Three Concert Band Assessment to perform, and received compliments from all the judges.  In the school’s second year of assessment, they received an excellent rating at district assessment.  In addition, John has had students selected to participate in the LMEA District Three Middle and High School Honor Bands and in the LMEA District Three Solo Festival.  John has started the very first marching band program at Pine Prairie High School for the 2021-2022 school year.  

During his grade school years, John attended L. J. Alleman Middle School and Lafayette High School where he played trumpet.  He graduated for the University of Louisiana – Lafayette where he received a bachelor’s degree in Music Education.  During his time in college, he marched with the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps (2012) and the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps (2013-14).  John was born in Lafayette, Louisiana and is an alumni member of Phi mu Alpha Sinfonia Delta Epsilon Chapter.

2021 Recipient
Dustin R. Jones

Dustin R. Jones serves as the Associate Director of Bands at Terrebonne High School in Houma, Louisiana. He received his Bachelors of Music Education from Louisiana Tech University and Masters in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Arkansas where he studied with Chris Knighten, W. Dale Warren, Ben Lorenzo, Jim Robken, and Lawrence Gibbs. He completed his teaching internship at West Monroe High School with Robert Freeman and Michael Spears.

At Terrebonne, Mr. Jones directs the 2nd and 3rd concert ensembles, teaches 25 private lessons a week, oversees the staff and their private lesson studios, and assists with the 170 Member Crimson Pride Marching Band. He participates in multiple conducting and rehearsing workshops around the country every year and is currently pursuing National Board Certification. He also serves as the President of the Terrebonne Parish Band Directors Association and is active in music advocacy.

Mr. Jones’ professional affiliations include the College Band Directors National Association, Louisiana Music Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, Terrebonne Parish Band Directors Association, Kappa Kappa Psi National Band Fraternity (Honorary), and Tau Beta Sigma National Band Sorority (Honorary), and Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honors Society.

Tom Wafer Outstanding Administrator Award

2021 Recipient
Mike Lombas, Assistant Superintendent
Evangeline Parish School Board

Mike Lombas has been an educator for the past 36 years. He graduated from Louisiana State University and then began his teaching career as a middle school science teacher at Valley Park Middle School in 1985. Mr. Lombas continued teaching science over the next 13 years at the high school level. In 2005 Mr. Lombas began his career leading educators at the Evangeline Parish school board as personnel director. In 2017 Mr. Lombas moved into the Assistant Superintendent position where he currently leads.

Mike Lombas speaks with his actions. He is always promoting the importance of music education in his Parish. Mr. Lombas will give recognition at board meetings to music students when they make it into honor ensembles. His music educators say that Mr. Lombas is always willing to listen to the input of the music educators and will implement ideas to help his programs to flourish. He has encouraged the beginnings of a Parish Solo Festival, Parish Honor Band as well as a Parish Jazz Band! Mr. Lombas not only cares about music but ALL programs of school.

2021 Recipient
Martin Guillory, Principal
Oak Park Middle School

Martin Guillory has been an administrator at Oak Park Middle School for 35 years. He began as an assistant principal and then moved to the head principal role.

Mr. Guillory is a great advocate for all arts education. In addition to the music classes offered, he also supports art and dance classes. He makes sure that all students have the opportunity to have an education in the performing and visual arts. In addition, he supports the arts in a yearly Christmas Roadshow where we take band, strings, choir dance, and 4-H to perform for our Partners in Education and the community.

Mr. Guillory consistently demonstrates strong leadership skills and good school management skills through the policies and procedures he has put in place campus wide. He works diligently to ensure that all students have every opportunity to succeed. Not only does Mr. Guillory support his staff with professional development opportunities, he regularly attends the District V Music Assessments to support the band.

2020 Recipient
Harry Hooker, Principal
DeRidder High School

Mr. Hooker has been the principal of DeRidder High School since 2016 after serving as the Assistant Principal since 2007. DeRidder High School currently offers multiple music classes to students including: Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Marching Band, Jazz Ensemble, Colorguard, Winterguard, Danceline, and Percussion Ensemble. Mr. Hooker recognizes the talent and dedication of the music students at DeRidder High School and encourages and advocates for different performing ensembles to provide musical entertainment around DeRidder and its surrounding communities.

Mr. Hooker represents the best in Louisiana administrators.  He possesses a visionary philosophy that places a high priority on both academic achievement and student engagement in music and the arts. His innovative and unique scheduling techniques have enabled his schools to achieve high academic standards while giving tremendous support to the arts.  The following quotes come from the DeRidder High School faculty: “Mr. Hooker is a prime example of a supportive administrator and any director would be lucky to have him.”  “Harry Hooker is devoted to DeRidder High School – he is  an administrator who leads by example!”

2021-22 NFHS Outstanding Educator Award

Jim Trant
Fine Arts Coordinator
Lafourche Parish Schools

Jim Trant has been in music education for over thirty years.  The majority of his high school teaching experience was at Central Lafourche and Hahnville High Schools.  Currently, Jim is the Fine Arts Coordinator for the Lafourche Parish Public Schools and has been in this position since 2008.  As Fine Arts Coordinator, Jim oversees all aspects of music education in the school district including instrumental, choral and general music programs.

Jim is also currently serves on the Louisiana Music Educators’ Association Board of Directors as the District Director for District VII.  He has been in this position since 2002.

During his career, Jim has served as President of the District VII Band Directors’ Association and was also the District VII Band Director of the Year in 1995.  He was also the director of the 1995 Louisiana Bandmasters’ Association All-Star Marching Band.  Additionally, he served one term as Vice-President of the Louisiana Association of Jazz Educators and was the inaugural webmaster of the official website of the Louisiana Music Educators’ Association.

As Fine Arts Coordinator with the support of the Lafourche Parish Supervisory Staff and School Board, the parish welcomed the concept of team teaching among music teachers.  It is with the implementation of this concept that the music programs in the parish have flourished.  He is also responsible for providing all professional development for all music teachers throughout each school year.

Jim’s professional affiliations include membership in the National Association for Music Education, the Jazz Education Network, the District VII Band Directors’ Association and Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters’ Fraternity.