Brian McDaniel, Ed.D.

Brian McDaniel


Painted Hills Middle School
Palm Springs USD


“I am grateful and honored for the opportunity to represent the teaching profession as a Riverside County and California Teacher of the Year. I would like to thank my beautiful wife, Kelly, and our wonderful children, Madison, Collette, Maximillian, Lucian, Caroline, and Valerian, for their continuous love and encouragement through this journey. Thank you to my mother for always believing in me. To The Regiment, you are my dream realized. To my colleagues in the Palm Springs Unified School District and Painted Hills Middle School, thank you for your collaborative efforts in making an impact in our students’ lives. Specifically, I would like to thank Dr. Brian Murray for taking a chance on a young music educator by hiring me twelve years ago—you opened the door. Finally, I’d like to thank all my friends, family members, and teachers for your never-ending support, you are beyond all expectations.”


His classroom has every type of student: beginners, virtuosos, English learners, GATE students, and special needs students. In his passion to teach music to middle school students, Dr. Brian McDaniel has been known to introduce unorthodox methods like kung fu, yoga, and dance to help teach breathing capacity, posture, and body awareness to young musicians. The students in the music programs on campus make up The Regiment, which started with 75 students and now totals 240 members—a full 1/3 of all students in the school. Dr. McDaniel describes his greatest contribution as providing hope to his students and serving as a ladder to their dreams. Students describe what makes Dr. McDaniel special is that “he understands many of our issues, because they were once his.” Dr. McDaniel was named as a 2018 California Teacher of the Year and represented all teachers in California as the state’s representative to the National Teacher of the Year competition.