Director of Bands
Michael Childress became SVHS's head band director in 2020 after serving as an Assistant Band Director at SVHS for two years. He graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. During his time in the Texas State Music Program, he performed in several ensembles including the Bobcat Marching Band, Symphonic Winds, Jazz Ensembles, Baroque Trumpet Ensemble and The Musical Theatre Orchestra. In 2008 Mr. Childress Marched Trumpet as a member of the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps and later as a member of the 2010 World Champion Bronze Medalist, Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps of North Canton Ohio.
Mr. Childress came to Smithson Valley in 2018 from Floresville ISD where he taught at the Middle and High School levels for six years. In his time outside of teaching, Mr. Childress enjoys working as a Visual and Drill Designer for marching bands, and composing and arranging music. Mr. Childress lives on the north side of San Antonio with his wife Amber, who is also a Band Director, and their dog, Cora.
Associate Director of Bands/Percussion Director
Jeff Yates is Associate Director of Bands/Percussion Coordinator at Smithson Valley High School. Mr. Yates grew up in the thriving metropolis of Yazoo City, Mississippi, where he graduated from Yazoo City High School in 1983.
After high school, Mr. Yates attended Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, where he received his Bachelor of Music Education degree. During his time at DSU, Mr. Yates served as wind ensemble section leader and percussion arranger/section leader for the marching band. He was selected three times to the Mississippi All-Star Collegiate Percussion Ensemble and twice performed on DSU’s Honor Recital.
Upon graduation, Mr. Yates taught for three years as Assistant Band Director with Gulfport High School. While living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Mr. Yates had the opportunity to perform with a wide variety of groups in the area, including: Gulf Coast Opera, Gulf Coast Playhouse, the Kinetic Neo-Skene Theater, Blue Stars Orchestra, Pieces of Eight Jazz Band, and the Mississippi Symphonic Winds.
In 1995, Mr. Yates moved to Texas where he has served as Associate Band Director with the East Central High School Band. While teaching there he was named in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. During his time in San Antonio, Mr. Yates has been an active teacher and performer. From 1997-2002, Mr. Yates served as percussion instructor with the Brookhollow Academy of Music and was the 2004-2005 Front Ensemble Tech with the Drum Corps International affiliated Revolution Percussion Ensemble, Texas Color Guard Circuit 2005 Independent A State Champions. Mr. Yates has performed locally with the San Antonio Municipal Band, the Heart of Texas Concert Band, the Carver Center, the Sheldon-Vexler Theater and the San Pedro Playhouse.
In 2005, Mr. Yates became Assistant Director of Bands/Percussion Coordinator with the Smithson Valley High School Band in Spring Branch, TX. While at SVHS, his responsibilities have included: Symphonic II, Symphonic III, Jazz band, the Ranger Regiment Indoor Percussion Ensemble and coordinating a percussion curriculum for grades 6-12. In 2013 & 2014, the Ranger Regiment placed 3rd in the Texas Educational Color Guard circuit state championships and in 2015 placed 1st, where it was awarded the gold medal.
Mr. Yates currently resides in Universal City, TX with his wife Suzy and a host of critters.
Associate Director of Band/Color Guard Director
Robert Andrade became the newest addition to the Ranger Band family in the Fall of 2020. He is a graduate of Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, TX. While at TLU, he played in various ensembles, such as; the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Hounds of Sound Pep Band, Full Orchestra, Jazz Band, Woodwind Quintet, Sax Quartet, Flute Choir, and various other ensembles. In the summer of 2017 he was selected to play in the National Intercollegiate Band in Orlando, Florida.
Before coming to Smithson Valley in 2020, Mr. Andrade taught Basson privately for 3 years in New Braunfels ISD. Mr. Andrade is a member of the Heart of Texas Concert Band in San Antonio, performed with the Zion Theatre group, and is a past member of the Fiesta Flutes Choir in San Antonio. Mr. Andrade enjoys playing and performing when he can, and spending time with family and friends.
Color Guard Instructor
Samantha Grudzinski is a New Braunfels native and graduate from Canyon High School. During her time there she marched all 4 years in color guard and winter guard. Serving as flag captain for her Junior and Senior year. After high school, she went on to help Canyon Lake High School start color guard when the school opened. Color guard has always been something she cares deeply for, and feels truly blessed to be working alongside the Ranger Band to create magic on the field.
When she isn’t working with the band, she takes on the role of Para Professional at SVHS working with special education. When that cape comes off she is a mother to 3 beautiful kids (Cailyn, Parker and Tristan). She enjoys being outside with them playing sports, hiking or camping. She is a lady of many talents and just feels lucky to be a part of such a great organization!