Band Staff

Ken Ringel

Interim Director of Bands -

Ken Ringel is excited to serve as the Interim Director of Bands at Newman Smith High School!
Prior to his appointment, Mr. Ringel has enjoyed a twenty-five year career teaching band, and
most recently was the Director of Bands at McKinney High School for fourteen years. He has
also held positions in the Plano, Frisco, Gainesville, and Midlothian Independent School
districts. Bands under his direction have consistently received Superior ratings in UIL Marching,
Concert, and Sightreading Contests, and most notably advanced to the UIL State Marching
Contest as well as placing as a TMEA Honor Band Finalist. In 2019, Mr. Ringel’s band was
awarded the Mark of Excellence National Wind Band Honors from the Foundation for Music

Before beginning his band directing career in 1997, Mr. Ringel was a freelance horn player in
the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex performing with the Richardson Symphony, Waco Symphony,
Las Colinas/Garland Symphony, Arlington Symphony, Shreveport Symphony, Plano Symphony,
Dallas Ballet, and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. During this time, he taught private horn
lessons in Plano, Allen, and even had two students here at Newman Smith! In addition to his
orchestral playing experience, Mr. Ringel marched two summers with the Bluecoats Drum and
Bugle Corps in 1989 and 1990. He has also been a marching band drill designer for over thirty
years and has written shows for college and high school bands all over the United States.
Mr. Ringel attended the University of Kentucky before transferring to Florida State University to
finish a Bachelor of Music Performance Degree on Horn. He moved to Texas to attend
Southern Methodist University and completed a Master of Music Performance Degree on Horn
in 1995. He earned his teaching credentials from Texas A & M University in Commerce. Mr.
Ringel is a member of the Texas Music Educators’ Association.

Ken lives in McKinney, with his wife of twenty-nine years, Melissa, who teaches elementary
music. He has two grown children, Caroline, who works in Plano, and Eli, who attends The
University of North Texas. The Ringel family shares their home with three dogs and two cats.
In his spare time, Mr. Ringel enjoys spending time with his family, binge watching shows, and
playing video games.

Davis Smith, Associate Band Director

Davis Smith

Assistant Director of Bands -

Mr. Smith grew up in Arizona where he graduated from Mountain Ridge High School. He then attended Arizona State University where he was in the trumpet studio under renowned educator and traveling soloist David Hickman and received his bachelor’s degree in Music Education under the direction of James Hudson, Gary Hill, And Jason Caslor.

Prior to teaching at Smith, Mr. Smith was the director of instrumental music at Sunrise Mountain High School in Peoria, Arizona where he conducted two concerts bands, two jazz bands, a marching band, community concert band, guitar and digital music. He also taught at Thomas Jefferson High School. Mr. Smith’s ensembles have consistently improved in their ratings and rankings at contest, as well as showing dramatic increases in district and region Honor band placements. During his time at Sunrise Mountain the Program received the highest scores in program history and finished 11th in the AZMBA 2019 AAA championships. Sunrise Mountain produced two all-state musicians, 11 region musicians, and had a majority of the students in the District Honor Band.

Among pedagogical influences, Mr. Smith performed with the Sonic Winds and Sonic Brass ensembles conducted by the late Sam Palafian and Patrick Sheraton, the creators of the “Breathing Gym” where he was introduced and learned the “Breathing Gym” system. Mr. Smith also had the opportunity to student teach with and learn from UIL Honor Band and Midwest Clinic Performing directors Mark McGahey and David Puckett.

Mr. Smith has been involved with DCI since a young age. He marched 5 seasons with various corps including The Academy from Tempe, Az in 2011, the Cavaliers from Rosemont, IL, where he played trumpet in 2012 and was a Drum major in 2014, and The Blue Devils from Concord, Ca, in 2016 and 2017. In his final season Mr. Smith was awarded the gold medal at the DCI Individual and Ensemble competition for the trumpet solo category. After aging out, Mr. Smith taught on the brass and visual staff for the Kidsgrove Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, from Staffordshire England in 2017, and on the Genesis Drum and Bugle Corps staff in 2019 when the corps achieved their highest brass score in corps history. In other related performances, Mr. Smith was also a representative of the State of Arizona in 2014 in the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band, performed with the ASU Sun Devil Marching Band for the Super Bowl XLIV pre-game show, and was a cast member for the Katy Perry Super Bowl Half Time Show as a palm tree (yes, he will tell you about Left Shark).

When he is not at Newman Smith, Mr. Smith enjoys spending time with his Fiancée, Sydney and his Dog Maxine. He is an avid Olympic weightlifter and weightlifting coach.

Joon Choe

Percussion Director-

Joon Choe is originally from Plano, Texas where he had the privilege of being under the direction of James Hannah and Alan Brawdy at Plano West Senior High School. Mr. Choe graduated from the University of North Texas where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. During his time at North Texas, he was very fortunate to study under renowned educators such as Mark Ford, Paul Rennick, Robert Schietroma, Ed Smith, and the late Christopher Deane. While at North Texas, he spent time performing with the Green Brigade Marching Band and Drumline, the 2 O'clock Steel Band, the Gamelan Ensemble, and the Concert Bands.

Prior to joining the staff at Newman Smith High School, Mr. Choe has taught for Azle isd, Carrollton-Farmers Branch isd, Plano isd, Frisco isd, and most recently Aubrey isd where he served as the percussion director and coordinator for both Aubrey Middle School and Aubrey High School. While at Aubrey the percussion studio consistently received superior ratings at all UIL events.

Mr. Choe is currently a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, the Percussive Arts Society, and an active performing member of the Dallas Asian Winds. Mr. Choe is excited to begin his new role as the Director of Percussion for the Newman Smith Cluster.

Jamie Bennett, Color Guard Director

Jamie Bennett

Color Guard Director -

With almost 10 years of participation in the activity, Jamie Bennett is the newest Director of Color Guard here at Newman Smith High School. Her passions are teaching and giving kids a safe space to be themselves. Jamie started her color guard career in the summer of 2012 at Byron Nelson High School. While there Jamie participated in both marching band and winter guard, completing 8 total seasons. After graduating, Jamie went on to perform with the Blue Knights in 2017, and was Captain of Black Gold A. From 2018 to 2021, Jamie performed with CGT Dallas and Denton, being an open and world class finalist. 

Jamie has been teaching color guard since 2017, starting with Nimitz High School as an occasional tech before accepting the head guard director position at Irving High School in 2018. Since then Jamie has worked with many amazing groups, most recently including Brock and Trinity High Schools.

Jamie is excited to continue this chapter in her career and cannot wait to see the growth in the program!