Jim Kollias

About Jim Kollias...

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Jim Kollias is the Chair of  the Visual & Performing Arts Department at Beckman High School where he teaches orchestra and general music. He previously taught at Tustin High School, Columbus Tustin Middle School, C. E. Utt Middle School, and Vina Danks Middle School in Ontario where he began his career in 1988. Jim is also the Director of the Saint Sophia Cathedral Greek Orthodox Choir in Los Angeles. Jim received his Bachelors Degree in Music from UCLA and a Masters Degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois.

Bands and orchestras have consistently received superior ratings under Mr. Kollias’ direction at music festivals and have performed in Washington D.C., New York City, and throughout California. In 2004, the Tustin High School Orchestra was selected to perform at the National Invitational Festival at Carnegie Hall.  In 2007, immediately after opening Beckman High School, the Beckman High School Orchestra was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall and in 2019, the Beckman Orchestra made their 7th appearance there. In 2008, the Beckman HS Patriot Marching Band was selected to perform in the National Cherry Festival Parade in Washington D.C. and performed there again in 2012. In 2012, the orchestra made their debut at Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, and made their 2nd appearance there in 2016. In 2014, the orchestra made their debut at Segerstrom Hall in Orange County and made their 6th appearance in 2019. In May, 2017 the orchestra made their debut at Musco Center for the Arts at Chapman University, performing a program with the Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra.


Under Mr. Kollias' leadership, Beckman High School was named a 2016 & 2019 California Exemplary Arts Program and the music department was honored as a 2016 GRAMMY Signature School Semi-Finalist. In 2020, the Beckman High School Orchestra was named a National Finalist for the  American Prize in Orchestral Performance, High School Orchestra Division. In 2021, the Beckman HS Orchestra has been named a National Semi-Finalist for the American Prize in Orchestral Performance, High School Division and the American Prize Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music, School & Youth Division.

In 2018, Jim Kollias was named Orange County High School Instrumental Music Educator of the Year and American String Teachers Association Southern Section Classroom Teacher of the Year by the Los Angeles Chapter of CalASTA. He has been recognized numerous times in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, Who’s Who in America, was awarded the Vina Danks PTSA Honorary Service Award, was the Teacher of the Year at Columbus Tustin Middle School in 1998 and the 2006 Beckman HS Teacher of the Year. Jim Kollias was twice a finalist for the Orange County Arts Educator of the Year Award, and in 2001 he was honored with the “Toast of the Town” Award by the Town & Country Committee of the Orange County Philharmonic Society for his contributions to music education in the Tustin Public Schools. In 2006, Mr. Kollias was honored by the Con Brio Chapter of the Orange County Performing Arts Center as their honoree for their “Celebrating Volunteerism” event commemorating their 20th Anniversary. In 2008, OC Family Magazine featured Jim Kollias as one of Orange County’s “Ten Heroes Among Us.”  Jim was named a 2016 GRAMMY Music Educator Award Quarter-Finalist and in 2017, he was honored by the Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra with their "2017 Distinguished Music Educator of the Year" Award. In 2021, Jim Kollias was named a National Semi-Finalist for the American Prize in Conducting, Youth & School Orchestra Division.


Mr. Kollias has been active in promoting the visual & performing arts in both communities in which he has worked. Jim expanded the string program in the Ontario-Montclair School District to all middle schools and to the high school level from what was a program that only existed at the elementary level. In 1994, he started the string program in the Tustin Unified School District, which included grant writing, recruitment of students, mobilizing support and donations from community businesses, service organizations, and private donors. The program continues today in the district at the elementary, middle school and high school levels. In both school districts, Mr. Kollias served as a Mentor Teacher and School Site Council Chairperson. He has also served as the Secondary String Representative for the San Bernardino County Music Educator’s Association, Guest Conductor of the San Bernardino County High School Honor Orchestra, and Vice President of Middle School and Elementary Music for the Southern California School Band & Orchestra Association.


Mr. Kollias is an active performer on the clarinet and saxophone. His research on the topic of “Nineteenth Century Bands in Orange County,” has been published in the Journal of Band Research. He has presented many clinics for SCSBOA and CMEA Conferences as well as for the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco. His articles on music education have been published in Bandworld Magazine.