Recipient of the 2018 California Teacher of the Year Award and nominee for National Teacher of the Year, CSULB alumnus in Education and Music, Dr. Brian McDaniel has recently been nominated for the Global Teacher Prize. This annual prize of $1 million is presented to an outstanding educator making extraordinary contributions to the teaching profession. Dr. McDaniel is among 50 international finalists competing for the 2019 prize.
McDaniel earned his Single Subject Teaching Credential and bachelor’s degree in music from CSULB. Now more than a decade later, Dr. McDaniel is the Director of Bands & Choirs at Painted Hills Middle School in Desert Hot Springs, California, his hometown. At Painted Hills, McDaniel founded The Regiment, a combination of the school’s ever-growing band and choir, which as of 2017 boasted over 300 student members and hundreds of awards and honors. For McDaniel music is, “…the language of connection. It bridges gaps, brings children together, and allows us to find our common humanity.”
Inspired by his own experience with his childhood teachers, Dr. McDaniel credits these educators for the tremendous impact they had on his life, remarking they “rescued” him from poverty and depression. “Never since have I underestimated the power of a teacher to save the life of a student through love, because that’s what my teachers did for me. I became a teacher so that I could help other children in the way that my teachers helped me.”
Over his 13 year career, Dr. McDaniel has raised over $1 million to create opportunities for his students to participate in music festivals, purchase instruments, and travel outside Desert Hot Springs to gain exposure to other cultures, ultimately becoming “global citizens through music.” In the past two years, McDaniel has expanded his impact further by working with school administrators and superintendents to underscore the importance of arts education, and has advocated for education policy change to give teachers the support, resources, and autonomy needed to better ensure student success. McDaniel shared, “As a teacher, there is no limit to my drive to ensure the growth, success, and assurance for future happiness of the children in my care.”