Generic filters
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in excerpt
Joel Denton
Joel Denton




Joel L. Denton served as Director of Bands at Ooltewah High School for 37 years. Denton is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and has completed graduate studies at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He currently serves as an adjunct instructor of Instrumental Music Education at Lee University. Prior to his retirement in 2018, he was recognized as a CMA Music Teacher of Excellence.

At The 2015 Midwest Clinic, Denton was awarded the John Philip Sousa Foundation Legion of Honor for his contributions to band. Under his direction, the Ooltewah Band achieved a national reputation for musical excellence, including performances in the 2017 Rose Parade®, the 2013 and 2007 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and as the only band in the 2011 Disney Christmas Parade on ABC. The Ooltewah Marching Band was a consistent finalist at Bands of America Regional Championships and were awarded multiple class championships and placements. The band was also a national semi-finalist on multiple occasions with several class placements. The Ooltewah Concert Bands performed at the Music for All Southeast Regional Concert Festival in 2016, the TMEA (TN) State Music Conference in 2014 and 2010, the Smoky Mountain Music Festival in 2011(Grand Concert Division Champions), and multiple other events through the years. Denton served as Chairman of Fine Arts at Ooltewah from 1982 until his retirement and was selected as the Ooltewah Teacher of the Year five times.

The Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts has thrice honored Denton, and he is an elected member of the East Tennessee Band and Orchestra Association Hall of Fame as well as the Tennessee Bandmasters Hall of Fame. His professional affiliations include National Association for Music Education, Tennessee Music Education Association, East Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association, Phi Beta Mu, National Band Association, American School Band Directors Association, and Tennessee Bandmasters Association. Denton currently serves as the Tennessee State Chair for the National Band Association and is a Past President of the East Tennessee Band and Orchestra Association and the Tennessee Bandmasters Association. He has served as the State Legislative Delegate and Advocacy Chair for Tennessee Music Education Association and as a member of the Tennessee Department of Education’s Fine Arts Student Growth Committee. He is active as an adjudicator, clinician, and consultant working with Music for All/Bands of America, Drum Corps International, several universities and state organizations, and many high school bands across the nation. Denton also presents professional development sessions across the nation and works with band programs and other organizations on developing leadership and teambuilding skills.

Denton and Kerry, his wife of 38 years, reside in Chattanooga and have two adult children, Alex and Caroline, who are both teachers.

Refining Leadership: Being a Student Leader

Joel Denton writes on what leadership MODELs do and what it looks like to BE leadership rather than DO leadership.