Past ODY Recipients
Award Nomination Criteria
ODY Nomination Form
Director of Distinction Nomination Form
Young Educator Nomination Form


Orchestra Director of the Year

Each year the TODA Board of Directors selects an orchestra director or teacher who has served his or her professional nobly and selflessly, leaving the mark of love, kindness and good musicianship on the students he or she has trained.  This is the highest honor TODA bestows and is highly regarded by all of our members.

Kay Vanlandingham - 2022 Recipient

Congratulations to Kay Vanlandingham, this year's Orchestra Director of the year! 

Cathy Fishburn received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Sam Houston State University in 1976 and completed her Masters Degree in Music Education in 1979 at the University of Houston.  She taught her first three years in Houston ISD and the remainder of her classroom teaching in Klein ISD for a total of 34 years in the public schools. She is in her 9th year as a mentor, consultant, clinician, judge and University Supervisor, thus 43 combined years of teaching Orchestra.

In 1979 when she moved to Klein, Mrs. Fishburn directed the Wunderlich Int. School Orchestra and won the Astroworld Festival’s “Best in Class” Award 3 times. In 1984 Cathy became the Director of the Klein Forest High School Orchestra. During the 1989-90 school year, her Klein Forest Symphony Full Orchestra was chosen as the TMEA Honor High School Orchestra.

Her heart remaining with young players, Mrs. Fishburn requested assignment as Orchestra Director at Doerre Intermediate where she taught for 20 years.  Under her baton, the Doerre Orchestras earned 5 “Best in Class” Awards and 9 “Most Outstanding Orchestra” Awards at the Galveston Isle Orchestra Festival and was chosen as the 2003-04 TMEA Honor String Junior High String Orchestra.

Cathy was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sam Houston State University Music Department for her years of dedication and service to the SHSU camps, and a career of distinguished work as a teacher and music educator in Texas. She had a total of 27 student teachers throughout her teaching career and is currently employed as a University Supervisor by SHSU, which allows her to continue to work with the upcoming young orchestra and band directors.

Cathy received Doerre Intermediate’s 2009-2010 Teacher of the Year award. In 2010, after 34 years in the classroom, Mrs. Fishburn has considered her “retirement” merely as a “change of career” as she remains active as a UIL judge, conducts Region Orchestras, mentors young teachers and their programs and presents inservices, workshops and consultation clinics throughout the state.

After her “retirement” in 2010, Cathy saw an opportunity to again reach out to KISD students by starting and sponsoring the Klein Chapter of TFME (Texas Future Music Educators.

In 2020, Cathy was chosen as the TODA Orchestra Director of the Year, the highest honor presented to an individual by the Orchestra directors of Texas!

In her “spare” time, Cathy enjoys reading and collecting Danielle Steel novels, making craft projects, being with her husband Dean, co-owner of Fishburn Violin Shop, and playing with their dogs, Aria and Dolce and Puccini, aka “Pucci”.

Orchestra Director of Distinction

Lamar Smith

2020/2021 Recipient

Jason Thibodeaux

2020/2021 Recipient


Young Educator Award

Charles Robinson - 2020/2021 Recipient