RO band director accepts new gig

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Dan Black leaving for Council Bluffs

By Nick Johansen

The Red Oak School District is saying goodbye to high school band director Dan Black. 

Last week, Black tendered his resignation, effective at the end of the current school year. The matter was on the school board agenda Monday night. He is moving to a position as an orchestra teacher at the Council Bluffs Community School District starting next year. 

Black said he has enjoyed developing the high school instrumental music program over the last five years. 

“Together, we have grown the program, achieved musical excellence, and grown inwardly through the exploration of music and ourselves. I’ve also enjoyed the opportunity to expand my influence outside my classroom, as an instructional technology coach at the elementary, and serve on the high school leadership team through the TLC program,” Black said. 

Black added he’s looking forward to the students experiencing new learning opportunities, and for the program to continue its growth and service for many years to come. 

Black said as he leaves the district at the end of the year, he’ll miss working with students the most. 

“I’ve had a lot of special memories with them over the years. I hope the students have learned as much from me as I have from them these last five years. They’ve been a huge influence on my life, as well as their parents and the staff.” 

Black said among the most memorable experiences of his time in Red Oak has been the moments he’s been able to share with the students in the classroom. 

“Our performances are very memorable by themselves. But for me as a teacher, I enjoy seeing the learning happening in front of me. The community gets to see the finished project. Through instruction, I get to see their development in the process,” said Black. 

Many people are proud of the marching band, said Black, as well as its growth and development in recent years. 

“I was at the Hawkeye 10 academic Awards. Christian Horn was the recipient of the award for our district, and remarked that the marching band earned Division I rankings every year he was in school,” commented Black. “I went back and found out his was the first class in school history to be able to say they’ve earned those ratings at every single marching band state festival in their time in high school. Moments like that, where kids are looking at what they do with pride and confidence, that to me is the best thing ever.”

As the school year winds down, Black said he wanted to express thanks to all the support he has had while at Red Oak. 

“I have a lot of gratitude for the community and the parents who have been so supportive of me, and who have gone above and beyond in support of the students and their music education, and to the staff, administration, and the school board for their generous support over the last five years. I also want to thank the Red Oak community for their special support of the program. Not just through individuals and relatives, but the active engagement I’ve seen with the band program through businesses, media, and service organizations has been so impressive to me. I look forward to the students experiencing the new opportunities that will come, and for the program to continue in its growth and service to our community as well.”

Red Oak Superintendent Tom Messinger issued a statement in the wake of Black’s decision to resign. 

“Mr. Black has been a valuable part of building a strong high school band program during his time with the District.  Over the past two years Mr. Black has also served the district in teacher leadership roles (technology coach, and lead teacher).  Mr. Black and his contributions to the district will definitely be missed,” Messinger said. 


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Board action on the resignation was expected at the April 10 School Board meeting.