David Graves believes teaching is his calling

Image: David Graves loves his position as Assistant Band Director at Italy ISD.

David Graves loves his position as Assistant Band Director at Italy ISD. (Karen Mathiowetz)

David Graves was hired this year as Italy’s Assisstant Band Director when Erica Miller moved to the counselor’s office. In school, he gravitated to the band hall and the trombone. He was not a jock due to his size, so being in the band was a good fit for him and started his life long journey in music. He served in the Air Force for four years and played in the Air Force Band.

“Mr. Graves has stepped in and it has been a smooth transition for us,” said Band Director Jesus Perez. “He is very talented and we work well together.”

David attended the University of Memphis, University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire and the University of Illinois. He attained his Masters in Music and is working on a doctorate. He is classified ABD, all but the dissertation. He has taught at Baylor University in the past.

“Richard Johnson, my junior high band director, made music fun,” he explained. “He had a way to motivate us that was not always conventional. He got us to do what he wanted us to do any way he could. He used laughter primarily. I was blessed to have great teachers after Mr. Johnson. I remember each one of them.”

He said he wanted to teach in Italy for several reasons but the top two were Jesus Perez and the winning reputation of the band. He also said that Italy is geographically desirable.

“We own a home in Woodway in the Waco area and that is where my wife and kids live. I don’t get to see them as much as I would like to, but I do get home on weekends.”

David lives in Italy during the week and goes to Woodway on weekends. He said he would love to sell their home there and relocate here with his family.

“I feel my willingness to learn will be an asset in my job here. I know I can learn so much from Mr. Perez. We work well together. I love arranging music and he gives me the freedom to do so.”

Graves has always let his students know that a teacher can make mistakes because they are human. He knows that kids realize their teachers are not perfect. He also knows that his sense of humor is one of his biggest assets as a teacher.

David and his wife, Denise, have three children; Andrea is 16, Evan is 14 and Jeremy is 10. Denise is also a band director. They love their children and two border collies, Abbey and Freckles. The Graves are members of First Baptist Church of Woodway where David is a member of the praise band. He has been a Sunday school teacher and a little league baseball coach.

“I love working with the students, watching them grow and learning from them,” he said. “Kids don’t always come into the classroom with a moral toolbox. I hope I can be a good moral influence for them. I know teaching is not just a vocation, it is my calling.”