LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Mark Hillegass Jr

Position: Theatre Teacher
School: Andrew Jackson Middle School
School District: Grand Prairie Independent School District
City, State: Grand Prairie, TX

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Music that Describes Mark

Mark Hillegrass Jr. was nominated by his spouse, Perla Aguilera.

"Mr. Hillegass Jr. has worked in education for 13 years," said Aguilera. "He has served as a head director of band, choir, orchestra, and theatre while teaching PreK-12. In most cases, he's been the sole director running a full PreK-12 or 6-12 program(s). He taught leadership and career exploration classes and was a head coach for high school varsity softball teams. Beyond teaching, he aspires to become a Fine Arts Director or Coordinator, as well as a published music composer and blogger."

"Mr. Hillegass has had several honors throughout his career, including being a published composer and blogger with Alfred Reed Publishing," said Aguilera. "He has been named Teacher of the Year for several schools and districts, was named Dallas Symphony Orchestra's Music Teacher of the Year, was a nominee for the HEB Outstanding Educator Award, a GRAMMY Music Educator Award nominee, was a Texas Educational Theatre Association's Educator of the Year Finalist, and has presented at the TMEA Conference and for the Region 10 Fine Arts Summit."

"In doing all this, Mr. Hillegass has always found time to go above and beyond the call of duty. He has served as a Fine Arts Team Lead, Gift and talented Team Lead, cabinet member to the principal, summer school coordinator, mentor to students and his peers, TIA Task Force member, Advisory Council member, social media manager, webmaster for schools, and after-school tutor. He was also accepted into a leadership academy to train to become an assistant principal for one of his former schools," said Aguilera.

"Everywhere Mr. Hillegass has gone, he has either started or revamped a Fine Arts program(s) for a school and/or district," said Aguilera. "He puts hard work, dedication, time, passion, compassion, school spirit, and pride into his programs and work. This is reflected by how well his programs achieve or have achieved excellent outcomes, the dedication and commitment of his students, the excitement of his students, and his recruitment for his programs. As a result, he often has high remarks from his co-workers, the staff, and the administration."

"Lastly, Mr. Hillegass takes great pride in his students, wants the absolute best for them, demands the absolute best from them, and provides students with the best possible resources that he can, even if that means going out of his way to make it happen. He often stays in touch with alumni after graduation, offering them guidance and advice," said Aguilera.