J. Taylor Williamson, Head Band Director
J. Taylor Williamson is the new Head Band Director at Wiley Middle School. Prior to his appointment at Wiley, Mr. Williamson has served as Director of Bands at Richardson North Junior High and Director of Bands at Forest Meadow Junior High in the Lake Highlands cluster. While at RNJH, the Honors Band received unanimous 1st division ratings at UIL Concert & Sightreading and Superior ratings at local band festivals. He has developed a tradition of excellence through student leadership by starting up the first ever Band Leadership Team and encouraging the students to be self-motivators and self-teachers. Most recently, the RNJH Honors Band advanced to the Area Level of the Texas State Honor Band competition in 2017.
Serena Finnigan, Associate Band Director
Serena Finnigan is starting her fourth year of teaching middle school band in Texas and her tenth year of being an educator. She began her teaching career as a private lesson instructor in the Austin area during her Master's degree at the University of Texas, Austin and then continued teaching after moving to Guadalajara, Mexico. While in Mexico she taught elementary music and middle school band at the American School Foundation of Guadalajara and was the oboe professor at the University of Guadalajara, Jalisco. Once returning from Mexico in 2013 Mrs. Finnigan taught at Sam Houston State University as the adjunct professor of oboe. Wanting to be closer to her husband she decided to stay in Austin and began her Texas teaching career in Austin ISD. Most recently she taught at Canyon Vista Middle School in Round Rock ISD.
Mrs. Finnigan holds a Master's degree in Oboe Performance from the University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music and a Bachelor's degree in Music Education and Oboe Performance from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. In addition to conducting the Symphonic Band Mrs. Finnigan will assist with the Wind Ensemble, Concert Band and teach beginning Double Reeds, Flute and Euphonium.
Mrs. Finnigan enjoys spending time with her husband and 1 year old son as well as running and grilling on the back porch!
Cristina Barrera, Associate Band Director
Cristina Barrera is the newly appointed Assistant Director at Wiley Middle School. Ms. Barrera has previously served as the Assistant Band Director at Angleton Junior High in Angleton, Texas. She started her teaching career as the Assistant Band Director at Bammel Middle School in Spring,Texas. During her 2 years at Angleton JH, she led the Symphonic Band to its first Sweepstakes in over 5 years. While working with the Symphonic Band they also received Superior ratings at the Shadow Creek Spring Festival.
Prior to the start of her teaching career, Ms. Barrera graduated Summa Cum Laude with Honors and received her undergraduate degree in Music Education from Sam Houston State University. As a student at Sam Houston, Ms. Barrera played clarinet with the Bearkat Marching Band, the Symphonic Band, the Wind Ensemble (where she also played bass clarinet and Eb clarinet), the Evergreen Clarinet Quartet, and other various small chamber groups. She was a member of the Wind Ensemble for their TMEA concert where Dr. Ralph Lee Mills, Professor of Music and Director of Bands Emeritus at Sam Houston State University, was a guest conductor.
Ms. Barrera is from Houston, TX. Besides teaching music, she also enjoys watching movies, watching and cheering on the Houston Astros Baseball team, and reading books.
Drew Saenz, Percussion Director
Mr. Saenz is the newly appointed Percussion Director at Rouse High School and Wiley Middle School. Prior to his appointment he was the Assistant Director of Bands at Westlake High School since 2015. His bands and percussion ensembles have consistently received superior ratings at UIL contests and concert festivals. The Westlake Band has also been a perennial finalist at BOA Regional and Super Regional Events as well as the Texas UIL State Marching Contest, and participated in the prestigious Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California, in 2016. Previously he taught beginning percussion and was a private teacher and marching instructor in Eanes ISD. He has also taught and arranged for many schools in the Austin area including Connally High School, Pflugerville High School, West Ridge Middle School and Hill Country Middle School.
Mr. Saenz graduated with his Masters in Music Education from Texas State University where he also received his undergraduate degree. While at Texas State, he was a graduate assistant and arranger with the Bobcat Marching Band and the Percussion Studio Ensemble. Mr. Saenz has also been active in DCI throughout his career both as a performer, with the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps and the Boston Crusaders, and as a staff member with the Crossmen.
When Mr. Saenz is not teaching he enjoys arranging marching band music, playing in Gamelan Lipi Awan, and kayaking on Lake Austin.