Deshmond Johnson has been immersed in music and the arts for as long as he can remember. The Center, Texas-native was named this month Director of Fine Arts at Nacogdoches ISD; he most recently was head band director at Timpson High School.
“Since childhood, I’ve had an appreciation for the arts, whether it was listening to classical music, observing artwork from the Renaissance period, or watching musicals such as ‘The Sound of Music,’ I’ve always wanted to be surrounded by the arts.”
Johnson comes to NISD after serving three years as Director of Bands at Timpson. Before that, he was band director for Shelbyville ISD. He has also served as Director of Bands in Garrison and was a junior high director at Carthage ISD. He replaces Paulette Tomlinson, who took a similar position at a Corpus Christi-area school district.
Johnson earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2011 and a Masters of Music Composition from SFA in 2019.
“Most of my career has been spent in the music field,” Johnson said. “I’ve sung in the church choir, played in bands from middle school to college, and have taught bands in public schools for the past 11 years. The skills I’ve learned as a student performer help me to understand the needs of a child wanting to grow more in the arts.”
The fine arts program at NISD is in a unique position, Johnson said. It’s well-established but is also positioned to develop additional options that will enhance existing programs. The district had already implemented a plan to introduce dance programs on the high school and middle school campuses as well as a theater program at the middle school.
“We are also moving forward with reaching goals set for younger students as our elementary music teachers are using essential standards to provide fundamentals that will enhance our choir and band programs,” Johnson said. “The Fine Arts vision for Nacogdoches ISD is to develop well-rounded students by providing a wide-range of quality arts and instruction.”
The importance of arts in education has been well documented over the years. Arts provide students with an avenue to express themselves creatively while engaging critical thinking and problem solving skills, something that translates well into other classes, Johnson said.
“Several reports show that increasing access and participation in fine arts encourages students to succeed in school, graduate, succeed in work, and succeed in life,” he said.
Johnson calls his position with the district a “dream job.”
“My goal is to help our students reach the next level,” Johnson said. “My task is to support the fine arts staff in gaining access to instructional materials they need as a means of inspiring our students.”