We are so grateful for our community of incredible music educators! Education is one of our most precious assets here at ACG and we would like to take this opportunity to spotlight some of the amazing people we have the privilege of working with. Click here to learn more about ACG Education.


This week we spoke with Akins High School’s Guitar and Mariachi Director, Susana Diaz-Lopez!

Learn more about Susanas early journey with ACG here.

“Growing up in music classes, I had amazing educators who pushed me and inspired me to want to teach and further my education. Everyday in class I would come up with ideas on how I could help students improve if I was the teacher, so at first I wanted to start teaching middle school because that’s when we begin to learn the fundamentals of music. I would play scenarios in my head of lessons that I would start with and how I would help students succeed. I wanted to create awesome little musicians. I also wanted to give them a feel of belonging and being a part of an organization. My music classes were like my second home and my music directors were like my second parents, and I wanted to share that experience with other students.”

Susana began teaching at Akins in August of 2021, and was awarded Akins Teacher of Promise this year! We’re so proud of Susana’s journey through our programs and her coming full-circle, now teaching two different courses, guitar and mariachi! Susana shared a little bit about her experience, 

“Guitar and Mariachi are two different animals. Teaching both of these groups is very rewarding. At the moment I teach beginning guitar mostly, so I love being able to see my students go from day one to present day. They have really come so far. Once they learn the basic skills, they take it and run with it. In class I always get to hear them play popular songs they listen to and it’s such a great feeling seeing them enjoy guitar in their own way. 

In mariachi, I work with students who are in other ensembles like band, guitar, or orchestra, so it’s so cool to see these students come together who probably wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for mariachi. I absolutely love seeing them enjoy and embrace Mexican culture. Both groups have honestly surprised me so much. I have seen students become leaders, and become motivated and inspired in music.”

A beautiful part of these full-circle stories we have the opportunity to be part of, is seeing the connections that motivated former students to continue on as music teachers repeat with their new students. Susana shared,

“My favorite part of the job is having my students come to me whether it is for help or just to chit chat. I love when my students are comfortable enough to come hangout during lunch or before school starts. I enjoy the small things like my students giving me fist bumps or when they run to me with ideas of music to perform. I enjoy seeing their faces light up when something clicks or when they play something that they didn’t believe was possible.”

We love hearing stories of students progression in these programs! Susana shared some cool upcoming things happening with her students,

“My intermediate guitar group has UIL (University Interscholastic League)  coming up on April 19th. My beginner groups are working on their concert music for their May concert and some students are learning solos for the solo and ensemble competition coming soon! My mariachi group is preparing for their big Cinco de Mayo concert on April 29th. They also have a performance on April 9th to celebrate AISD’s first cohort of K-12 Dual Language students at the Mexican American Culture Center and a few other gigs. Many things happening!”

We at ACG are sending tons of good energy and luck their way! 

We’re so excited to share more stories from our local music teachers and their students! 

Read a beautiful story about our Juvenile Justice program here.