Jamie Ovalle is the Director of Orchestras at Martin High School in Arlington, Texas. She began her music endeavors in AISD with cello as her primary instrument. She was active in the Cedar Hill High School choir in addition to performing with the Greater Fort Worth Youth Orchestra throughout her high school career. Mrs. Ovalle graduated from Texas Christian University in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree of Music Education. While at TCU, she studied cello under Dr. Jesus Castro-Balbi and performed with the TCU symphony under Dr. German Gutierrez.
This is Mrs. Ovalle’s 5th year at Martin High School. Prior to being at Martin High School, Mrs. Ovalle spent one year teaching at two middle schools in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD in Houston, Texas. She then spent three years in Fort Worth ISD as the sole orchestra director for a middle school and high school. Under her direction, these programs tripled in size and were able to earn their first Sweepstakes ratings at contest in recent school history. She has served as Orchestra Division Chair for Region VII and holds an active membership in the Texas Music Educators Association and the Texas Orchestra Directors Association.
Mrs. Ovalle has an incredible husband, Dallas, 3 year old daughter, Landry, and son, Jett, born February 2017. When she is not teaching orchestra, she enjoys spending time with Landry, Jett and Dallas, church activities, cooking and watching sports.
Sammy Branch is an Associate Director of Orchestras at Martin High School in Arlington, Texas. Since 2006 he has also been the conductor of the String Orchestra at the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra. Prior to his position at Martin he served as the Head Orchestra Director at Gunn Junior High School in Arlington, Texas for 13 years. He is a product of the Arlington ISD from Martin High School, then under the direction or Mr. Bill Huff.
Mr. Branch is a graduate of TCU with Departmental Honors, where he earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree Cum Laude, with violin as his primary instrument. He studied conducting under the direction of Dr. Germán Gutiérrez and violin under the direction of Dr. Curt Thompson. Mr. Branch began his teaching career in 2001, and his groups consistently receive Sweepstakes ratings at UIL music contests and superior ratings at spring festivals. Three times at different festivals his groups have earned Best in Class and Grand Champion awards.
Mr. Branch is also an active member of the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Orchestra Directors Association, and Mu Phi Epsilon. He is also on staff at The University of Texas at Arlington Summer Strings Camp and the Sam Houston State University Orchestra Summer Camp.
Fluent in Spanish, Mr. Branch was born in Mexico City, Mexico and immigrated to the United States at the age of 5 and began studying violin at the age of 10. When not conducting or teaching, Mr. Branch enjoys golf, road biking, and spending time with his family.
**Directors photos courtesy of Terry Ip Photography.
Caitlin Ravkind is an Associate Director of Orchestras at Martin High School in Arlington, TX. She began her orchestral training on viola at the age of ten. She is a product of Martin High School, formerly under the direction of Michael Stringer. Ms. Ravkind earned a Bachelor of Music with Teaching Certification from the University of Texas at Arlington, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a 4.0 GPA. She studied viola under Catherine Forbes and performed in the UT Arlington Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Clifton Evans. During her time at UT Arlington, she was principal violist and was presented with the honor of Outstanding Undergraduate Music Major.
Ms. Ravkind was a private instructor on various string instruments for nine years and is entering her second year in the classroom. She previously taught at Apollo Junior High in Richardson ISD. While at Apollo, her groups earned Sweepstakes ratings at UIL contest and superior ratings at festivals. She was presented with the award of Richardson ISD’s Outstanding Assistant Orchestra Director for 2016-2017.
Ms. Ravkind is an active member of the Texas Music Educators Association and Texas Orchestra Directors Association. When she is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with family, being outside, and playing with her adorable dog, Zeke.