Zack Pitt-Smith, Music Director, Edna Brewer Middle School- Oakland, CA 2007-Present Zack Pitt-Smith has worked as Music Director at Edna Brewer Middle School in Oakland Unified for twelve years. He holds board positions as Urban Programs Representative on the State board of California Music Educators Association as well as Multi-Cultural Music Representative to the Bay Section CMEA Board. Mr. Pitt-Smith is co-director of OEASE - Oakland East Side All-Star Ensemble, an audition-based jazz ensemble. He was named 2013 Teacher of the Year for Oakland Unified. Member CMEA Brown University, 1193-1997 BA Ethnomusicology, Providence, Rhode Island Berklee College of Music, 1993-1994, Boston, MA
Randy Porter, Music Director Middle School, Mr. Porter is now in his first year at Roosevelt Middle School, Oakland. Mr. Porter founded the first OUSD Jazz Festival in 2003, started BigO, the Big Band of Oakland Music Teachers, and founded Oakland Summer Jazz, a two week free jazz camp for Oakland Middle Schoolers. His recordings of Oakland elementary school kids form the 1990's have recently been re-issued on the Sundazed label. Mr. Porter is also an active guitar player around the bay area, and was OUSD teacher of the year for 2016 - 17, SF Classical Voice teacher of the year 2014 - 15, and was recipient of the Gil Freitas Award for teaching excellence from California Music Educator's Association for 2017 - 18.
David Byrd, Music Director, Oakland High School, Oakland, California. 2014-Present.
Five years ago, when I got here, I was shocked," said Byrd in a recent interview. "The school wasn't whole." The campus had no music teacher for years. Byrd, who previously taught at Oakland Technical High School, thought music was possibly the biggest single piece missing in Oakland High's educational offerings. Now the space hums with strings and horns and piano chords. Many of their parents are low-income and can't afford to buy an instrument.
On Friday, March 8, 2019, Oakland High performed its first musical in over 40 years in its own theater. Music teacher David Byrd led musicians from the Oakland High band in providing live music.
Mr. Byrd earned his BA in Music from University of California at Berkeley and his Teaching Credential from St. Mary's College.
Manny Castaneda, Jr, Music/Band Director Centennial High, Compton ,CA
Under the direction of Manuel Castañeda, the Centennial High School Marching Band & Attached Units from Compton, California has frequently been recognized and received numerous awards for their outstanding performances. Their high-step, energetic performance style has been featured on numerous nationally televised programs such as the Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Voice; the band has also been featured on National Television Commercials and on music videos with Grammy award winning artist, Kendrick Lamar. The Centennial High School Marching Band & Attached Units repertoire consist of traditional marching band music and original rendition of today’s poplar music. Many members of the band have graduated and gone to various colleges and universities on full-ride music scholarships.
David Lizarde, music instructor at Bunche Middle School, Compton CA
Music Director, Bunche Middle School, Compton, CA. 2007-Present. Mr. Lizarde teaches both concert band and string orchestra. He is also in the process of staring a Mariachi band in the 2019-2020 school year. Mr. Lizarde also performs in Mariachi bands in the local Los Angeles area. He has also contributed to Mariachi recordings and featured in films, like the most recent film, “McFarland.”