About Us


Gerardo Loya 
Director of Bands

Gerardo Loya is in his second year as the Head Band Director for Kaufman ISD.

Loya grew up in Muleshoe, TX. He graduated high school in 1998, and attended Angelo State University. He was assigned to student teach at Midland Lee High School in Midland, TX, and upon graduation from ASU took a teaching position in Monahans, TX. Monahans is a small West Texas town that is centered around the school district. He would spend the next eleven years in Monahans teaching band.

His tenure in Monahans was spent building upon an established and thriving program. He lent a hand in maintaining student success and managed to acquire consistent UIL sweepstakes awards with both the junior high and high school bands. He led two marching bands including the only UIL competitive junior high marching band in the state of Texas.

While in Monahans, Gerardo had countless students qualify consistently for the all-region band, all-area band, and especially the Texas all-state band. His Monahans bands never missed qualifying for the UIL State Marching Band competition. His bands have not only earned notoriety in marching, but also in concert as well. They were finalists in the Texas Music Educators Association State Honor Band competition multiple times. He has traveled the country from Florida to California with hundreds of students.

After his eleven years in Monahans, Gerardo eventually found himself in Ferris, TX. He became the head junior high school band director and hit the ground running. In his first year as director, the band had more students qualify for the all-region band than ever before. They also received their first UIL Sweepstakes Award in school history. Eventually, he was selected as the Ferris Junior High Teacher of the Year, and the Ferris ISD Secondary Teacher of the Year. After completing his time in Ferris, Gerardo found the opportunity to teach in Castleberry ISD. He found great success in both marching, concert and sight reading, and helped to lead the band in 2018 to an eleventh place finish at the state UIL marching contest.

Gerardo completed his Masters in Administration from Lamar University in the spring of 2018. Having done so well, Kaufman ISD was happy to have him come in as Associate Director of Bands where he has led both junior high and
high school bands to consistent UIL Sweepstakes awards. They have qualified, and made UIL Area finals every year since. He is very excited to take the reigns as Director of Bands for Kaufman ISD, and cannot
wait to see what the future brings.


Kyle Bennett 
Associate Director of Bands

       Kyle Bennett is in his second year as the Associate Director of Bands for Kaufman ISD.

Mr. Bennett grew up in Tyler, TX where he graduated from Robert E. Lee High school in the Spring of 2014. He earned his Associates from Tyler Junior College in a music field of study, and is a former President of the Zeta Xi Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi. Kyle graduated from The University of Texas at Tyler in the fall of 2019 earning his Bachelors in Music Education. During his collegiate years he studied trumpet under the direction of Micah Bell at Tyler Junior College and Dr. Jeremy McBain of The University of Texas at Tyler.

        While at The University of Texas at Tyler, he was an active performer in multiple ensembles including the Chamber Brass ensemble, jazz and wind ensemble. The Tyler Junior College & University of Texas at Tyler jazz programs provided Kyle opportunities to perform with the likes of Wayne Bergeron, “Blue” Lou Marini and many other influential artists. Kyle was also a member of The UT Tyler Trumpet studio ensemble, a featured prelude ensemble at the 2019 International Trumpet Guild convention.

        Kyle completed his student teaching with the Mineola ISD band programs prior to his graduation in the fall of 2019, where he was able to assist the high school band to their second UIL marching state champion title. Following the fall of 2019, Kyle returned to Mineola to continue to gain valuable experience. During the spring semester of 2020 that he had the opportunity to conduct the Mineola high school band for the world premier of their commissioned piece "Swarm" by Brian Beck for their 2020 TMEA honor band concert.

        In 2015, Kyle began his drum corps career as a member of the trumpet section with the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps (San Antonio, Tx). He continued consecutively with the corps in 2016 and for his age-out season in 2017. During his final season in 2017, Kyle served as the Horn Sergeant for the Corps. Following his age out summer in 2018, Kyle became a brass and visual staff intern for the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps (La Crosse, Wi) and remained on staff as a brass instructor through the 2022 season. 

        Kyle is currently in his fourth year of public school education, and his first year as Associate Director of Bands for Kaufman ISD. During his first year Kyle won sweepstakes with the Sub-non varsity band of Tyler High School, the first in school history.  Kyle regularly assists in producing marching shows for area bands, including the Tyler Junior College Apache Band. Kyle is an active member of the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, Association of Texas Small School Bands and the International Trumpet Guild. He is very excited to be with the Kaufman ISD bands and looks forward to the future of the band program! 

       When not actively teaching, Kyle enjoys spending time with his wife, family and friends. He loves being outdoors, camping, video games, and reading! 

Dan Suniga

Dan Suniga 
Assistant Band Director, Colorguard Director 


Dan Suniga is in his sixteenth year as a High School Band Director and second as an Assistant Band Director and Colorguard Director for Kaufman ISD. 
Mr. Suniga is All-level Music Certified and a graduate of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, where he earned
his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. During his tenure at UMHB, he was Principal Trumpet for every
performing ensemble and during his senior year, he was selected as one of ten trumpet students nationwide to be
named to the CBDNA National Collegiate Honor Band where he performed in Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center
in New York City. He is currently in the process of completing his Masters Degree in Music Education at Southern
Methodist University where he serves as the Graduate Level Class Secretary.
Mr. Suniga has been a HS Band Director for several of the best 6A band programs in the state where his concert
bands experienced many successes at the UIL Concert and Sight-Reading Contest. He also designed, choreographed,
and instructed the Colorguard and Winterguard Programs for each school. His Colorguards have won many caption
awards and his Winterguards have experienced numerous successes and promotions in the NTCA and WGI circuits
including competing at the 2010 WGI World Championships in Dayton, Ohio. Additionally, he has choreographed
and instructed for many Independent Winterguards including the 2017 WGI World Silver Medalist, and his own
program called Evolution Winterguard.
Mr. Suniga also has extensive DCI experience in performing, instructing, and designing. He has taught at the highest
levels of marching band as a Colorguard Technician for Genesis Drum and Bugle Corps, Guardians Drum and
Bugle Corps, and the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps. He has also been a Visual Technician for the Crossmen Drum
and Bugle Corps and the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps. He was also the Colorguard Caption Head for
the Vigilantes Drum and Bugle Corps, and Forte Drum and Bugle Corps.
Mr. Suniga currently designs and choreographs for many programs throughout Texas. He has been a successful
marching band show designer, where his show productions have all advanced to the UIL State Marching Band
Contest. He is also a successful marching band adjudicator and is currently in his fifteenth year as a National
Adjudicator for USBands, where he specializes in the captions of General Effect, Visual Performance, and
During his free time, he enjoys bowling, shopping, watching Netflix, and spending time with his dog Chloe and cat


Josh Blessing
Assistant Band Director - Director of Percussion

Josh Blessing is in his second year serving as  Director of Percussion for Kaufman ISD.
Josh is originally from Dearborn Michigan where he attended Dearborn High School, graduating in 2013. He grew up in a musical family with two brothers who were also musicians and a father who was a percussionist and band director for Dearborn Public Schools. Josh has always loved music and is excited to bring that joy to students at Kaufman!

Josh earned his Bachelor's degree in music education from Michigan State University in 2018. During this time he also performed in world class DCI and WGI, having been a snare drummer at Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps, Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps, and NorthCoast Academy Percussion. Prior to this, he also played snare drum in the open class WGI ensemble Motor City Percussion. He was also on the Michigan State University Drumline from 2013-2016, where he was center snare and section leader in his senior year.

After earning his undergraduate degree, Josh went on to earn his masters in percussion performance from Baylor University in Waco, TX. While in Waco Josh also instructed and arranged music for the Baylor University Golden Wave Band Drumline as part of his graduate assistantship. He also performed with the Waco Symphony Orchestra, and was honored to be named a solo winner of the Semper Pro Musica competition which earned him a solo performance at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City in May, 2019.

After that, he completed the residency portion of his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in percussion performance from Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore MD studying with Robert van Sice. He is currently finishing requirements for the post-residency portion of this degree.

Mr. Blessing is thrilled to be a part of Kaufman ISD and the Lion Band Family!


Ashley Cox
Head Band Director O.P. Norman Junior High


Ashley Cox currently serves as the Head Band Director at O.P. Norman Junior High in Kaufman ISD. 

Mrs. Cox grew up in Mesquite, Texas where she discovered her love of music and playing the tenor trombone. Ashley attended Mesquite High School where she was elected Band Sweetheart and served as Drum Major for the Mighty Maroon Band. She was a TMEA Texas All-State Band member and was awarded the TMEA Texas Merit Music Scholarship in 2002. Ashley graduated with honors in 2003 and went on to study Trombone Performance with John Kitzman at Southern Methodist University, but did not finish her degree at this time. During her fourteen-year break from school, she had a successful career in management, got married, had two children, and became a stay-at-home mom. 

In 2017, Mrs. Cox decided to return to school to finish her degree. She began studying Music Education at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas. During her time at Eastfield, Ashley had the privilege of studying trombone with Keith Meek and performed with multiple ensembles including the Texas A&M University-Commerce Trombone Choir, Eastfield Jazz Ensemble, the Forney Community Band, and the University of Texas at Dallas Wind Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, and University Orchestra. She also achieved the high distinction of being on the Eastfield College President’s Honor Roll and was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society. 

In 2019, Mrs. Cox transferred to Texas A&M University-Commerce to continue her studies in Music Education. During her time at Commerce, she had the privilege of studying trombone with Jimmy Clark, former principal trombone of the Dallas Winds and Dallas Opera Orchestra. She performed in the Wind Ensemble, Trombone Choir, and The Pride Marching Band. She was voted “Most Outstanding Band Member” and “Band Mom” by her peers in The Pride Marching Band. She has also been named a President’s Scholar by the University. 

Mrs. Cox graduated Summa Cum Laude with her Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Texas A&M University-Commerce. She currently resides in Forney, Texas and enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.

She is honored and excited to be serving in her second year with the Lion Band Family! 


John Macoy 
Assistant Band Director O.P. Norman Junior High


John Macoy is in his third year as the Assistant Director at Norman Junior High. Mr. Macoy grew up in Canton, TX and attended Tyler Junior College. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Texas A&M University - Commerce. During his time at TAMUC, he served as principal saxophone in the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble 1, Saxophone Quartet and Choir, and the “Pride” Marching Band.


Mr. Macoy also worked as a repair assistant at Tatum Music Company in Tyler, TX, as well as a private lesson instructor in Commerce ISD. His professional affiliations include the Texas Music Educators Association and Kappa Kappa Psi Honorary Band Fraternity.

Mr. Macoy directs the Junior High Symphonic Band, High School Jazz Band, and teaches beginners. When he’s not teaching, Mr. Macoy enjoys video and music editing and working on computers. Go Lions!


Nathan Phillips
Assistant Band Director O.P. Norman Junior High


Nathan Philllips grew up in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. He graduated high school in 2017 from Wando High School and attended The University of North Texas. He is a former member of the Phi Tau Chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon and Beta Chapter of Beta Gamma Omega. He graduated from the University of North Texas in the fall of 2022 earning his bachelors in Music Education. During his time at UNT he studied trumpet under the direction of Professors Caleb Hudson, John Holt, and Dr. Samayoa.

Nathan completed his student teaching with Grapevine High School and Cross Timbers Middle School where he gained valuable experience. During his time at Grapevine High School he was able to assist the High School Band medal at the Las Cruces BOA Regional and finals at the UIL Area contest. After graduating he helped the Mabank ISD bands prepare for their UIL and Solo and Ensemble season. While in Mabank he conducted sectionals, private lessons, and assisted in rehearsals at the Junior High and High School.

Nathan began his drum corps career as a member of the trumpet section with the Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps (Sacramento,Ca). He aged-out with the Mandarins in 2021.

Nathan is currently in his first year of public school education and as an Assistant director for Kaufman ISD. He is honored to be with Kaufman ISD and looks forward to what the future holds for the Band Program!

During his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, being outdoors, traveling, video games, and dancing!