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FWISD Director Named TMEA President

It was in the pews of a church that Jesse Cannon discovered his love of music. 

But it was in the classroom that he realized he’d spend the rest of his life teaching music.

Now, Cannon, FWISD’s Visual and Performing Arts director, has the opportunity to help shape music education across the state and inspire music educators as the president of the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA).

To qualify for the ballot, a candidate must be nominated by four state regions and is elected during the state convention. Presidents serve a three-year term.

Cannon is the first Black president of the organization, an honor he said holds profound significance. People of color were not allowed to be members until 1954, he said.

“It represents a momentous milestone in our organization's journey towards inclusivity and equity,” Cannon said. “For me, this achievement is a testament to the perseverance and dedication of those who came before me, breaking down barriers and paving the way for diversity and representation in leadership roles. I carry their legacy with pride and honor, recognizing the responsibility to continue their work and ensure that others from all backgrounds see themselves reflected in our organization.”

His election as leader of the prestigious organization is the latest highlight of a career that started in 2011. It began at Mansfield ISD before moving to DeSoto ISD and Duncanville ISD, where he said he got the opportunity to start working with prestigious educators such as the 2023 GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year, Pamela Dawson, and leading students on a memorable tour in London. 

At Duncanville ISD, Cannon worked with students who achieved numerous accolades, including being selected to perform at the American Choral Directors Association National Conference and becoming a GRAMMY Signature Program. 

Now, his role at Fort Worth ISD is a dream come true. He’s known he wanted to be a music educator from an early age and gets to help influence that education now.

“My varied experiences help me to empathize with the diverse challenges experienced by all of our members and to sincerely appreciate the educational successes we achieve on so many levels, in so many ways, near and far, big and small, each and everyday as Texas music educators,” Cannon said.

As president, Cannon said he is committed to fostering inclusivity and diversity in TMEA — which he believes will help create a more vibrant and equitable music education community.

“I would like to leave a legacy of inspiration and empowerment. My goal is to inspire future generations of music educators, particularly those from underrepresented communities, to pursue their passions and make meaningful contributions to our profession,” he said. “I want to empower them to believe in themselves and their abilities, knowing that their voices are valuable and their perspectives are essential to the growth and evolution of music education.”