1.  Clay Zinnecker says...

"I am a former student of Don Haynes, having attended LBJ High School where he was Band Director for forty years. I came to LBJ, and into Don’s life, in 1978 from the Brownsville, Texas school district. I was a very unhappy kid, my experiences in Brownsville were largely negative in the Hanna High School band program.

Then I moved back to Austin, where I had mostly lived until I moved to Brownsville, and came to LBJ High School.

There I found an amazing person.

A man who gave me a chance, and believed in me. 

A man uninterested in my previous background, but largely interested in encouraging me to excel.

I did.

He gave me a reason to continue with my music studies, and quite frankly my love for music would never have achieved the level that it did without his earnest and sincere guidance and encouragement.

This is a man people who want to achieve their dreams in life should listen to. If not for him, I would have probably given up band and music, much to my loss.

I come from a family of teachers, and I know a good one when I see one. I can not think of anyone in my experience growing up that ever could come close to Don Haynes in terms of his dedication to his profession and his students. That’s because he teaches from the heart, with a true devotion and love that, at least for me, was always and remains unparalleled and truly unique.

He remains to this day my most memorable teacher, and I have many fond memories of being in LBJ Band, and he also maintains relationships with many of his former students to this day.

I am hardly alone in this testimony to his amazing career and acumen as a teacher, mentor, and friend.

He has always loved what he does, and that has made all the difference. I can think of no one better suited to fulfill the role of Life Coach, his new chosen path in life. I congratulate him in this endeavor, and for anyone who wants guidance from someone who truly cares about success, I can think of no one better qualified."




2.  Mr. Don Haynes and I sat down to discuss some educational and professional decisions for myself. His passion for life coaching, strongly presents itself through his conversations we've had. Dons personality which is highly comfortably approachable, makes both personal and professional topics easy to discuss with him. He is nothing but supportive and wise in assisting you toward making the best decisions in life. After gathering what your future goals are, Don presents your choices visually, to allow you to make the best decisions for yourself.  Life is sometimes a tough journey, but with Dons help it is worth the challenges it may bring.


-Luis Corpus




3.  "Don Haynes is one of the most inspirational, kind, amazing and talented people I have ever known. Now almost 25 years later, I still count myself very lucky to have been one of his students with the most amazing band in the land at LBJ. My fellow students, other teachers and I learned so much from him - - how to be a better human being, how to truly love what you do, how to listen and understand others, and how to excite and empower those around you to fulfill their full potential.   He is holder of an innate power to motivate people from widely different backgrounds to bring out the best in each other and themselves. Thank you again, Mr. Haynes."

- Lisa Zolidis is a graduate of the LBJ HS Band)




4.  "I joined band my sophomore year in High School which is very late compared to most people. I was drawn to the idea of playing an instrument and thought it'd be a fun hobby to have. Little did I know that my life would soon be changed forever through my growing passion for music, and the people that have influenced me to be my very best. For Christmas in 2014, Mr. Haynes gave me "Bordogni's Complete Vocalises for Tuba" and a heartwarming letter on the inside of the cover. To this day when I practice out of this book, I look at the letter and instantly feel encouraged to work hard in my studies because I know Mr. Haynes truly cares about my progress. Even when I graduated, Mr. Haynes mailed me a package filled with music and another letter, which just proves that his commitment to teaching is one that I will absolutely never forget. Music is my biggest passion in life, and even though I am not pursuing it in college, I will continue having it be a part of my life because of people like Mr. Haynes."

Thank you,
Santiago Lopez




5.  "I have known Don since the fall of 2007 when we began working together with the LBJ HS Band (Austin, Tx). We spent 7 years working together, and had many great successes and accomplishments while working together. Don was the epitome of all leadership qualities. He displays genuine care and love for all that meet him, or are involved with him. His ability to inspire, motivate, and develop those around him are at the highest level you can hope to obtain. He is a model of positivity, communication, and is incredible at managing success and set-backs alike.  His work-ethic combined with character, and sensitivity to others is something I think about daily and use in my daily life.  Don, simply put, is one of the most amazing human beings you can possibly meet. I feel very luck and blessed to have met this incredible mentor/friend/colleague in my lifetime."

Tyler Dempsey (June 29, 2016),
Band-Percussion Director-Educator
Texas Public Schools




6.  "Mr. Haynes -  I remember you helping me to figure out auditions in the early summer before summer camp and trying to help me calm my nerves. One of the last times we really spoke was when we were emailing back and forth trying to get me transitioned into the Akins band and you were reassuring me that everything was going to be fine and that Mr. Faust, rest his soul, was excited to have me. You made a rough time in my life a little better and that's more than I could've asked for. You have a real way of connecting with people and making them feel like an individual who is cared about. Like I said, I may have only been with you for that very short year but it has had a lasting impact on me. Thank you for all that you have done."

Damian Lee Hogan
(June 2016)




7.  I met Don Haynes as I entered high school at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy in Austin, Texas. As I balanced a rigorous course load and adjusted to the high school drum line experience, Mr. Haynes was there supporting me every step of the way. His commitment to music and academics can only be matched by his commitment to people. I’ve never met a more caring role model. Though I’ve fallen out of contact with many of my high school teachers and mentors, Mr. Haynes and I still chat on a regular basis.

To him, mentorship doesn’t end at graduation and he’s been helping me grow and discover in the two years since I’ve left the LBJ band hall. Following his example, I learned to be a more empathetic person and a capable leader. His personality, integrity, and work ethic pushed us towards excellence on a daily basis, and we could always tell he was just as proud of our accomplishments as we were.

Though I met Mr. Haynes before he founded Ignite Your Courage, I’ve always considered him not only a life coach, but a friend and mentor. 

- Chris Prinz (July 2016)




8.  "I hope you know the incredible positive impact you have had on my life. From my freshman year, through high school, during All-State Band and on to LSU for music, YOU led, inspired, taught and encouraged me in my music and in so many other areas of my life.  I always knew you believed in me. And so I believed in myself. I can't say thank you enough!"

(Lori Havel Watkins - former LBJ HS band student)




9.  "You have certainly touched our lives with your inspiration, passion and love of music. You have created an incredible community where the students see your passion for teaching and strength of character, and this has led them to be well prepared and ready for the challenges ahead with you as their role model. But more than your words, you have given what is in your heart, which is a gift within itself. Thanks for being a mentor, leader and teacher, but most of all a friend."

(The Goodwin Family - former LBJ HS band parent)




10.  "Don, you are truly one of those rare teachers who changes lives. You have made my son a better person and your influence will have many ripple effects. You are changing the world through your positive influence. We will continue to keep in touch and watch with enthusiasm your second act."

 (Shari Shivers - former LBJ HS band parent)




11.  "The sparks and sparklers you have ignited in so many students will last lifetimes and beyond. The love for our son that you gave him through good times and tough times helped him in so many ways. May you continue to motivate others in your new speaking career. May God bless you as you find new heights to reach."

(James Ochoa - former LBJ HS band parent)