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VISD Fine Arts director moving to Abilene

By KBell
April 10, 2012 at 7:02 p.m.
Updated April 10, 2012 at 11:11 p.m.

Jay Lester

LESTER'S INVOLVEMENT

Texas Music Adjudicators Association, the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Music Administrators Conference, the Texas Art Educators Association, the Texas Dance Educators Association, the Texas Educational Theater Association, and the International Trumpet Guild.Lester holds bachelor's and masters degrees from Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, and a master of education degree from the University of North Texas.

The director of fine arts for the Victoria school district has accepted a job in Abilene and will not renew his contract with VISD.

Jay Lester, 39, has been with the district for four years and perhaps most notably helped with the research and design of the 1,483-seat Fine Arts Center that opened in February 2011.

"We'll forever be indebted to the city of Victoria. We've loved living here, and our opportunity to move involves being closer to family," said Lester, who's moving with his wife Lisa, a kindergarten teacher at Rowland Elementary School. Together they have two sons.

Lester will complete his current contract, which ends in June, to become the fine arts and UIL academic programs director in Abilene school district.

He served as band director there from 1999 to 2001.

Among the highlights of his career with VISD, Lester mentioned the Crossroads Community Band he spearheaded in 2009, which attracts musicians young and old to play instruments together.

"Just seeing students succeed in the various arts," has been rewarding, he said. "One of the goals that we set out here when I came was that we increased student participation, and that has happened."

Candace Coyle, an art teacher at Victoria East High School, said Lester has not only brought students on board to participate in various art contests, but his vision for the Fine Arts Center has also impacted all of the arts, including theater, orchestra and band.

"Music parents like me have been able to see their children perform in a venue much like a larger city," she said. "Those memories will stay with these children for a lifetime."

Lester broke the news to the fine arts faculty on Tuesday.

Diane Boyett, district communications specialist, said the school district will begin recruiting for the position, which they hope to have filled in the summer.

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