Tyler Estrada Simon

Director of Bands

Mr. Simon is very excited to join the band program at Franklin High School as the Head Band Director. Prior to his appointment at Franklin HS, Mr. Simon served as the Associate Director at Clear Creek High School in League City, TX for three years. While at Clear Creek HS, he was the conductor for the concert, symphonic, and jazz bands. He also established the first jazz band program and started the first chapter of Future Music Educators. Under his tenure, the symphonic and concert bands received numerous excellence and superior ratings at the UIL concert and sight reading contest.

Mr. Simon is a graduate of Texas Tech University where he attained degrees in Music Education and Music Performance. While at Texas Tech, he was the Drum Major for the Goin’ Band from Raiderland, studied abroad at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England and performed with the Texas Tech Concert band as a soloist.

Mr. Simon is an advocate of the marching arts and music education. He performed with the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps in 2010 and 2011 and in 2012, he won a championship with the Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps. Mr. Simon has taught several SaSi drum major camps working with the best and brightest students from schools around Texas on their leadership and conducting skills. He also is one of the founding members of Young Band Directors of Texas, an organization that supports first year band directors. He has presented clinics at the TMEA and TBA conventions on teaching young directors on how to support themselves and avoid burnout. Mr. Simon will serve as the Regional Representative for the Southwest Region of Texas.

Mr. Simon is an active performer, he previously held the title of principal euphonium for the Houston Brass Band, prior to his appointment at Franklin HS.

Mr. Simon is loves living in El Paso with his wife, Lauren, a Franklin HS alumni, and their two dogs, Ella & Finn.

Jesus Candela

Associate Director

Jesus Candela is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso and is in his 4th year of teaching. Currently, he is the Assistant Band Director at Franklin High School. Prior to joining Franklin High School, he served as the Assistant Band Director at Wiggs Middle School, and Head Band Director at Chaparral Middle School in Chaparral, NM. Mr. Candela is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Wind Conducting from the University of Texas at El Paso where he studies under Bradley Genevro.

As an active musician, he has frequently performed with the Orquesta Sinfonica de la Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez, El Paso Symphony Orchestra, Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra, Mesilla Valley Concert Band, and the UTEP Dinner Theater. Mr. Candela's drum corps experience includes marching trumpet with the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps in 2013, and currently serving in the brass staff at Arsenal Drum and Bugle Corps. He also serves on the faculty with El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestras as a woodwind sectional coach. In 2017, he was the recipient of the University of Texas at El Paso, Department of Music: Meritorious Service Award. Mr. Candela is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America and Kappa Kappa Psi Honorary Band Fraternity.

Benjamin Perez

Associate Director

Benjamin Luis Perez is the proud Associate Director of Bands and Percussion Director at Franklin High School, in El Paso, Texas. Prior to Franklin, Benjamin worked at Bel Air High School where he helped lead their band and percussion programs to become top competitors and award winners at Bands of America, UIL, WGI, WGAZ, and WTCA. Most notably, Benjamin starred on the YouTube his series Create Together, where he led a worldwide project with his students and Hollywood actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt to help represent the Class of 2020 during the Covid-19 Pandemic. The show became an Emmy Award winning production for Outstanding Innovation in Interactive Programming.

Benjamin Perez holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education with a Minor in Mathematics from New Mexico State University, and recently graduated with a master’s degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Texas at El Paso. As a student and as a musician he has performed with multiple groups including the El Paso Wind Symphony, Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra, the UTEP Symphony Orchestra and the New Mexico State University Philharmonic Orchestra.

Currently, aside from being a director at Franklin High School, he is also a composer, arranger, and show designer for marching and winter guard percussion. Recently Benjamin was named the Percussion Liaison/Coordinator for the West Texas Color Guard Association (WTCA). This is where he has founded and established the percussion division for the El Paso and Las Cruces area. This is the first time the winter guard circuit (WTCA) has included percussion in their competitions, and it is continuously growing each year allowing more schools to participate.

Benjamin is an active clinician in the region and is also an active member of the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, and Percussive Arts Society.

Dawn Menchaca

Twirler Director

My passion is teaching, coaching and mentoring. I have been involved at Franklin since 2008. Presently, I am a Business Teacher, Twirler Director, and Adviser for the FBLA Club on the Franklin campus. I am a graduate of the Texas Tech Rawls Business School. I have 4 sons all over the age of 20. We have a lawyer, two educators, and a supply chain manager in the family. I believe it's important to share the talents and gifts we have been given. I have twirled since the age of 5. I have competed in USTA and NBTA across the nation. As a competitor, I was classified "advanced" and at age 11 I was ranked 5th in the nation. With my help franklin is the only school in El Paso to have a UIL Baton Twirling Program and Franklin is the only EPISD School to have a FBLA! My goal is to be that role model that inspires my students!