Jeremy Spicer, a Magna cum Laude graduate from Texas State University is the owner of SASI – The Leadership People, LLC., a student leadership consulting firm focusing on in the empowerment of young leaders. SASI believes that students become empowered to succeed in their organization and their personal lives when they are properly equipped with a deeper knowledge and understanding of people, organizations, systems, and processes. Mr. Spicer is instrumental in the development and presentation of this concept to thousands of students across the nation.
Mr. Spicer is the former Director of Bands at Vandegrift High School. Vandegrift HS opened in the fall of 2009 with freshmen and sophomores and quickly experienced phenomenal growth and success. Through the focused effort of establishing a culture founded in mutual respect, hard work and excellence the program grew from less than 50 to nearly 225 in less than five years and was extremely successful in both the marching and concert arenas. The marching band was named the 2013 University Interscholastic League (UIL) 4A State Marching Band Champion. Additionally, the marching band was a consistent Class Champion (Class A, AA, and AAA) and Finalist in Bands of America (BOA) Regional Competitions. In 2013 the band was named AAA Class Champion placing 4th at the BOA Austin Regional and again AAA Class Champion placing 7th at the 2013 BOA San Antonio Super Regional where the band won the coveted Music Caption in Finals. The Concert Band program is the foundation and backbone of the music education program at Vandegrift. The Wind Ensemble placed third in the state at the 2013 Texas Music Educator's Association (TMEA) Honor Band Competition and was named a National Winner in the 2012 Mark of Excellence National Wind Band Honors Competition.
Prior to his appointment at Vandegrift, Mr. Spicer spent eight years as a member of the staff at Cedar Park High School. While at Cedar Park he served as the Conductor of the Symphonic Winds and the Director of both the Marching and Jazz Ensembles. During his tenure at the marching band won numerous marching contests and was a consistent finalist at both the UIL State Marching Contest and Bands of America Regional and Super-Regional competitions. The marching band is the 2006 recipient of the Sudler Shield, an international award for marching excellence awarded by the John Philip Sousa Foundation. Under his direction, the Symphonic Winds never earned anything but a superior rating at the UIL Concert and Sightreading Contest.
Mr. Spicer has also been very active in DCI. He began his drum corps career playing mellophone in the Santa Clara Vanguard. Since his age out year, Mr. Spicer has been on the brass staffs of the Carolina Crown (2000), Southwind (2001), Boston Crusaders (2002) and Santa Clara Vanguard (2003 and 2006). He has served in various capacities ranging from Brass Instructor to Assistant Brass Caption Head. Mr. Spicer Mr. Spicer is active in the United States as a clinician and adjudicator for Bands of America. His professional affiliations include Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He lives in Cedar Park with his beautiful wife Elizabeth, precious daughter, Coral Amber, and their handsome son, Aiden Joseph.
Dr. Nicholas Williams
Dr. Nicholas Enrico Williams is the assistant director of wind studies, conductor of the Concert Band and the director of athletic bands, including the North Texas Green Brigade Marching Band and the Basketball Pep Band at the University of North Texas. He is also the conductor for the GDYO Wind Symphony in Dallas, Texas. In addition, he is a frequent guest conductor for the Dallas Wind Symphony and Dallas Wind Symphony Brass Choir. Prior to his assignment at the University of North Texas, Dr. Williams, a multiple-edition honoree of Who’s Who Among America’s Educators, was the director of bands at Clark High School in Plano, Texas. In his last year of public school teaching, he was honored as the Clark High School Teacher of the Year, a Finalist for the Plano ISD Teacher of the Year, and was named a “Ross Perot Excellence in Teaching Award” recipient—an award given to only four secondary teachers annually in the Plano ISD. During his tenure at Clark High School, the band program received consistent sweepstakes awards for marching, concert and sight reading; under his baton, the Honors Band was awarded best in class or best in contest in every festival in which the band performed.
Dr. Williams was active in the Drum Corps International activity for over a decade, where he has served as brass instructor, brass caption head, staff coordinator or Senior Brass Consultant for the two-time world champion Madison Scouts (Madison, Wisconsin), the sixtime world champion Santa Clara Vanguard (Santa Clara, CA), Boston Crusaders (Boston, MA) and Southwind (Lexington, KY).
As an advocate of chamber music, Dr. Williams was the founder and conductor of the East Plano Brass and was the principal guest conductor for the Harmoniemusik chamber ensemble. In the wind band world, he has been a guest conductor with the Dallas Wind Symphony; Lone Star Wind Orchestra; at the annual Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois; the College Band Directors National Association regional conference; and the Texas Music Educators Association Annual Clinic in San Antonio, Texas.
Dr. Williams is active in the United States, Canada, Australia and Asia as a clinician, conductor, adjudicator, consultant and arranger; his arrangements for wind band, marching percussion ensembles, drum corps and marching band are performed by outstanding organizations throughout the world.
Dr. Williams is a sought-after recording producer, associate producer, and editor, having been involved with numerous CDs and DVDs on the Klavier, Mark Records, GIA and UNT labels. In addition to his work in the recording arts, he has written several conductor study guides that are published in the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series. He is also a primary consultant of Women of Influence in Contemporary Music, and recently became an honorary member of Sigma Alpha Iota. His professional affiliations include Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, College Band Directors National Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Phi Beta Mu, an international bandmasters fraternity.
For twelve years, Steve Smith taught middle school band in the Lewisville Independent School District, a northern suburb of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area in Texas. For eight of those years he served as the Director of Bands at Downing Middle School in Flower Mound. At Downing, Mr. Smith taught the Symphonic Band, assisted with the Concert Band and taught all of the beginning woodwind classes. The bands at Downing consistently displayed a high standard for musical excellence highlighted by a performance at the 2005 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago.
In 2012, Steve joined the team at Hal Leonard as an Instrumental Editor. At Hal Leonard, he works with the production of instrumental music and educational materials for band and strings. Steve brings his recent teaching experience to Hal Leonard and is using this in the development of the new Essential Elements Interactive website designed to assist teachers and students at the beginning instrumental level.
In 2010, Mr. Smith’s composition Capilano Fanfare was selected in the Dallas Wind Symphony’s Call for Fanfares and received a performance as the opening fanfare for the 2010-2011 concert season. In 2007, Mr. Smith was honored as a “Distinguished Music Educator” by the Yale University School of Music, in conjunction with an international symposium promoting music in the public schools.
Steve earned his Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of North Texas in 1998 and his Master’s degree from UNT in 2012. While at North Texas, he studied saxophone under Dr. Eric Nestler and performed in the North Texas Wind Symphony under the direction of Mr. Eugene Migliaro Corporon.
Mr. Smith has was also involved in the drum and bugle corps activity for over twelve years. After performing with and teaching the brass section for the Madison Scouts, Mr. Smith worked with the Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps from Lexington, Kentucky and with the Santa Clara Vanguard from Santa Clara, California. For 8 years, worked with Specialized Administrative Services Inc., providing leadership training for high school band students across the state of Texas.
Mr. Smith is an active member of the TMEA and NAfME. Prior to moving to Wisconsin to join Hal Leonard, his wife, Jenny, was an elementary art teacher and is now a freelance artist in the Milwaukee area. They enjoy spending time together and are proud parents to their 4-year-old son Seoul.
Manny Maldonado is a highly-sought after arranger, composer and designer for marching band and winter drum line. He is the publishing director and lead arranger for MJM Works LLC, a marching arts design company he founded in 2007. With his 20 years of arranging experience, his groups have performed continuously at the state and national levels.
During the summer months, Mr. Maldonado is the leadership facilitator for the university-based SASI camps. He also is an on-site instructor for many schools across the country. Every year, Manny trains over 3,000 student leaders and band directors on aspects of student-led organizational leadership. He is also active in developing the curriculum for the organization.
Mr. Maldonado was a band director from 2001-2013. His most notable accomplishments were at Cedar Park and CT Johnson High Schools, where his ensembles consistently placed in finals at every competition attended. Manny was also a highly-regarded percussion specialist who placed many students in the TMEA All-State and All-Region Bands, as well as having a perfect percussion score on the "Individual Music" sheet at the 2011 Bands of America Grand Nationals Finals Competition.
Manny Maldonado resides in Bulverde, Texas, with his wife, Candace, and his two sons, Jameson and Owen. Other than arranging and making a difference in the lives of young adults, Manny loves to vacation in Port Aransas, Texas, and go camping with his family.
Mr. Howard is in currently in his 8th year at Vandegrift High School and in his 14th year of teaching high school band. He was one of the founding directors of the band when VHS opened in 2009 and became Head Band Director in the Fall of 2014. While at Vandegrift, Mr. Howard's bands have been consistent UIL Concert Competition Sweepstakes Award Winners, TMEA Honor Band State Finalists and Mark of Excellence National Award winners. He has also been instrumental in several marching band high honors such as BOA Regional Champion, BOA Super Regional Finalist, BOA Super Regional Class Champion, UIL State Marching Contest Finalist, 5A UIL State Marching Contest Silver Medalist and 4A UIL State Marching Contest Champion. Most recently, the Viper Marching Band was awarded 4th place in the state of Texas at the UIL 6A State Marching Contest. At Vandegrift, Mr. Howard is the director of the Viper Marching Band, Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band.
Aside from being the Director of Bands at VHS, Mr. Howard is an active Leadership Consultant and Workshop Presenter. He has been a facilitator and marching instructor for SASI for the last 13 years. In this time, Mr. Howard has had the opportunity to work with thousands of students and directors from around the United States. As a lead facilitator for SASI, he is heavily involved with the operations of all Drum Major camps as well as teaching several site-based workshops throughout the summer. Mr. Howard has presented SASI workshops in Texas, Missouri, Illinois and Connecticut.
Before teaching at Vandegrift, Mr. Howard taught at James E. Taylor High School in Katy, Texas. As Associate Director of the JE Taylor HS Band his responsibilities included directing the Marching and Jazz Programs, conducting the Concert Band, and coordinating and teaching the drumline. Mr. Howard, a native of Hondo, TX, started his teaching career at Morton Ranch High School, where he was a band director and helped open the school in 2004. At Morton Ranch, he taught the Concert Band, Jazz Band, and assisted with the marching band. Before teaching at Morton Ranch, Mr. Howard was an instructor for the Cedar Park High School Band in Cedar Park, Texas and an instructor for the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps from Madison, Wisconsin.
As a performer, Mr. Howard has performed with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Austin Lyric Opera and several bands around the Austin/San Antonio area. Mr. Howard graduated from Texas State University in San Marcos, Suma Cum Laude, with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education. He lives in Cedar Park with his wife Amber, his daughter, Madison and his son, Justin.
Anna Rodriguez is an Assistant Band Director at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas. Ms. Rodriguez instructs the Chaparral Marching Band, directs the Symphonic Winds, assists with the Symphony Orchestra, and teaches beginning guitar classes. Prior to Westlake, Ms. Rodriguez contributed to eleven years of musical excellence in both marching band and concert band at Connally High School in Austin. Ms. Rodriguez's passion for working with young musicians and leaders extends into the summers with SASI- The Leadership People, an organization of which she has been a staff member since 2006. She is also a Music for All faculty member of the Peer Teaching Program at the annual Music for All Summer Symposium.
Ms. Rodriguez received her Master's in Conducting with Dr. Sarah McKoin at Texas Tech University, and her Bachelor's in Music Education from Texas State University.
Born and raised in Klein, Texas, Christopher Yee received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York where he studied trumpet with Frank Campos. Upon graduation in 2005, he began teaching middle school band in Austin, Texas as an associate band director at Canyon Ridge Middle School and has been the Director of Bands at its newly-formed sister school, Four Points Middle School, since 2010. The Four Points Middle School Wind Ensemble, under Mr. Yee’s leadership, was invited to perform at the 2015 Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois.
Mr. Yee enjoys conducting all-region bands, teaching summer band camps, serving as a clinician for local band programs, and working for the SASI Leadership Company. In addition to being a middle school band director, Christopher is the co-founder and conductor of the Cedar Park Winds, an Austin-area community band comprised primarily of music educators and local professionals. His passion for music education and desire to provide music teachers with an opportunity to continue performing beyond college has allowed the ensemble to experience rapid growth in both quantity and quality.
Christopher lives in Leander, Texas with his wife Jenna and two sons Noah and Ashton.
Evan VanDoren is the Associate Director of Bands at Cedar Park High School in Austin, Texas, where he teaches the Marching Band, Wind Symphony (2nd Band), and Jazz Ensemble, assisting with all others. Since his arrival in 2009, the band program has continued it's tradition of excellence, consistently performing as a finalist in Bands of America Region, Super Regional, and Grand National Championships. The band is a three time UIL State Marching Champion. In addition, the Cedar Park Honor Band was selected as the 4A State Honor Band in 2013. Cedar Park's concert bands and jazz ensemble are consistent sweepstakes award winners.
Mr. VanDoren is a member of the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps Brass Staff. After spending eight years as a marching member of Drum Corps International marching ensembles, his final two years were spent as a drum major at the Carolina Crown, during which time he was honored to receive the Jim Jones Leadership Award, awarded by the DCI, and two consecutive "Member of the Year" awards, awarded by the Carolina Crown membership. His DCI teaching experience includes the Carolina Crown, the Blue Stars, and the Madison Scouts.
Mr. VanDoren graduated with honors from Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. While at Butler, he was selected as one of Butler's Top 100 graduates, amongst other achievements.
Mr. VanDoren is an active clinician, adjudicator, and arranger, presenting for Drum Corps International, the Music Educator's National Convention, and the Texas Bandmasters Association. His professional affiliations include the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Bandmasters Association, the Association of Texas Professional Educators, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity.
Mr. VanDoren recently married his long-time sweetheart, Katie Rozacky. They live together in Cedar Park, Texas where both enjoy being part of a wonderful community of outstanding music educators. He has been part of the SASI Leadership Staff since 2012, and looks forward to many more years working with the very best young leaders in the country!
Robert Selaiden is in his 9th year of teaching at Leander High School and his second year as Director of Bands. His current responsibilities include being Director of Marching band, the wind ensemble, and concert band. Under his direction the Leander High School Marching Band has become one of the most successful marching bands in the country, most recently receiving the class 3A National Championship at the Bands of America Grand Nationals Contest, and receiving 6th Place in Finals competition.
Before coming to Leander High School, Mr. Selaiden attended The University of Texas where he served as Drum Major of The University of Texas Longhorn Band, and coordinator for the Longhorn Music Camp. During each summer, Mr. Selaiden has been active as a facilitator for the SASI Drum Major and Leadership Camps for the last six years. He has served as a clinician for the Texas Band Masters Association, and has professional affiliations with Kappa Kappa Psi, TMEA, TJEA and TBA. Before coming to school in Austin, Mr. Selaiden attended Newman Smith HS in Carrollton, TX.
Jason Robb is currently the Director of Bands at Rouse High School in Leander, Texas. He received his Bachelor’s of Music in Education and Trumpet Performance from Sam Houston State University under Matthew McInturf, Alfredo Velez, and Randal Adams.
Before assuming his position at Rouse, he held the position as Associate Director at Cedar Park High School in Cedar Park, Texas and at Knox Junior High School in the Woodlands, Texas. While at Cedar Park, the Timberwolf Marching Band won the UIL State Championship in 2016 and a Silver Medal at the UIL State Contest in 2013. Over his career, his concert bands have received exclusively “Sweepstakes awards” at UIL contests and have been awarded the “Best In Class” or “Runner Up” award at every festival they have entered.
Mr. Robb currently also serves as a leadership facilitator with the SASi Leadership Company. He spends his summers presenting leadership training to students all over the country. Jason has also been very actively involved in the Drum Corps activity. He marched Mellophone with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps from Madison, Wisconsin and then served as a brass faculty member for the Scouts from 2008 to 2014, working with both the Mellophone and Trumpet section.
Mr. Robb is an active clinician and consultant, he spends time coordinating productions and writing drill for marching bands across the country through his company J•Robb Designs. His professional affiliations include Texas Bandmasters Association, Texas Music Educators Association, and the International Trumpet Guild.
Daniel Montoya, Jr.
Daniel Montoya, Jr. is a native of Austin, an 80's music aficionado (followed closely by the jams of the 90's), and denies his "hipster-ness" whenever possible. He also, occasionally, writes music (since being musically moved by his first viewing of the James Cameron film Titanic). His oeuvre spans several genres, including original pieces and arrangements for wind band, percussion ensemble, and the marching arts. His works, which resound with bristling energy and color, have won numerous awards from national organizations. His education includes a master's degree in music composition from Central Michigan University where he studied with David R. Gillingham and a baccalaureate degree in music composition from Texas State University. He has also studied and participated in masterclasses with such composers as Kevin Beavers, William Bolcom, Cindy McTee, Kevin Puts, Russell Riepe, and Roberto Sierra.
While not tending to his somewhat outlandish collection of denim and sneakers, Montoya has been known to make public appearances at performances of his music, which have included concerts at Avery Fisher Hall, the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, the Percussive Arts Society International Conference, the Texas Music Educators Association Conference, the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference, and the Texas Bandmasters Association Conference, among others. When in attendance at these events, he can usually be identified by the denim, sneakers, and satchel (man purse or, "murse" for the layman).
Although the closest he's been to being a man in uniform was as a member of "The Pride of the Hill Country" and possibly some ill-advised Halloween costumes, he served as the arranger for the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band in 2012 & 2013. His involvement with marching bands engages him throughout the nation. Among the organizations that have used his compositions and arrangements on the field are champions and finalists at various state- and national-level competitions, and major Division I intercollegiate bands. Montoya is also the Artistic Director and the Brass Composer/Arranger for The Guardians Drum & Bugle Corps from Seguin, TX. His innovative approach to field arrangement involves imbuing new vitality and dramatic elements into his charts without sacrificing the integrity of the source material, creating a new and vibrant musical object rather than a mere transcription of the original.
When not submerged in his mild-mannered Clark-Kent-esque composition day job, Montoya enjoys engaging in the indigenous Austinite culture and trying to slowly conquer the universe of social media. He is frequently mistaken for Ryan Gosling on Congress Avenue. His sidekicks on this mission are his better half, known to the Twittersphere simply as "The Girl," and a slightly overweight puggle named Mahler who runs the household and sleeps in the big bed. He has coined the term "portmonto" as a portmanteau of his name with the word "portmanteau" to refer to his love of making up senselessly long words (partially inspired by his love of mash-ups) and he was a fan of using hashtags on Facebook way before it was cool. Montoya's music is published by Drop 6 Media, Inc. and his publishing company, Underwater Theme Productions. Montoya is an Artist/Educator for Innovative Percussion, Inc. and is a member of ASCAP and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
Damian Gonzales is in his 13th year of teaching and his 3rd year as the Director of Bands at Grisham Middle School in Austin, TX. At Grisham, Mr. Gonzales conducts the Honors Band, assists with the Symphonic Band, and teaches all beginning woodwind classes. Prior to his time at Grisham, he was the Director of Bands at Pflugerville Middle School in Pflugerville, TX.
Under his direction, the Grisham Middle School Honors Band, and Pflugerville Middle School Honors Band and Wind Ensemble have been awarded the title of Sweepstakes Band at the Texas UIL Concert and Sight Reading Contest in each of his previous 12 years of teaching. His bands also received multiple years worth of unanimous first division ratings and ‘best in class’ awards at various festivals around Texas. In addition to many performances around the state of TX, Mr. Gonzales’ ensembles have twice been awarded the honor to perform at the Western International Band Clinic in Seattle, Washington (2015 - Grisham Honors Band; 2011 - Pflugerville Wind Ensemble).
Mr. Gonzales received his music education from The University of Texas at Austin where he graduated with a degree in Music Studies in 2004. While at UT, Mr. Gonzales studied saxophone with Harvey Pittel and was honored to perform with the Wind Ensemble under the direction of Jerry Junkin. He also performed in the Symphony Band, Longhorn Band, and Tex-Sax, the university’s saxophone choir.
Each summer, Mr. Gonzales returns to the University of Texas to teach at the Longhorn Music Camp as either a conductor or woodwind specialist for both the middle school and high school camps. Mr. Gonzales’ professional affiliations include the Texas Music Adjudicators Association, the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Bandmasters Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He currently lives in Cedar Park, TX with his wife Jessica, and sons Jason and Trey.
Amanda Pinner is in her tenth year as Associate Director of Bands at Park Crest Middle School in Pflugerville, Texas. Amanda directs the Honor Band, assists with the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band, and instructs all beginner woodwinds classes and sectionals. Prior to her appointment at Park Crest, she was the Assistant Band Director at Brenham Junior High, in Brenham Texas.
The PCMS Honor Band has earned numerous Superior ratings at UIL contests under Amanda’s direction. The PCMS Beginner Band has earned Superior ratings at every music festival attended, including an Exceptional Musicianship award in 2016.
Amanda graduated from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas in 2003 with a degree in Music Education, where she studied flute under Dr. Adah Jones. Her professional affiliations include Texas Bandmaster’s Association and Texas Music Educators Association. Amanda currently resides in Austin, Texas.
Amanda has been a part of the SASI Leadership team since 2015 and excited to return!
Daniel Berard is the Director of Bands at Fossil Ridge High School, where he is responsible for all aspects of the large and vibrant Band program, including the Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble 1, Jazz Ensemble 2 and Marching Band. Mr. Berard was on the “core team” that opened Fossil Ridge High School in the fall of 2004, served as the Performing Arts Chair from 2004-2015, and is proud of the explosive growth, innovation, and excellence in performance that the Music department at FRHS has become known for. Mr. Berard received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and Master of Music degrees in Music Education and Instrumental Conducting from Colorado State University, where he studied with Dr. J. Steven Moore and Wes Kenny. Prior to his current position at Fossil Ridge, Mr. Berard led successful programs at Ponderosa and Douglas County High Schools, and has also served on the instructional staff for several Drum & Bugle Corps, including The Madison Scouts and The Cavaliers, and in 2017 will join the brass team for The Cadets.
Mr. Berard is 1 of 17 directors nation-wide to be named a Yamaha Master Educator, is active as a clinician, adjudicator, and conductor, and has presented at numerous clinics and conventions across the country. He is a member of the Colorado Bandmasters Association, the Colorado Music Educators Association, Phi Beta Mu, the National Band Association, and the National Association for Music Education. Mr. Berard has received the National Band Association Citation of Excellence, and in 2012 was named one of “50 Directors Who Make a Difference” by School Band & Orchestra Magazine.
The Fossil Ridge Wind Symphony has consistently received “Superior With Distinction” honors at the Colorado State Concert Band Festival, has twice been selected to perform at the CMEA Convention, and was a featured ensemble at the 2012 and 2016 Music For All National Concert band Festival. The Marching Band is a 2-time state champion, and has won the “High Music Performance” award at the Colorado marching band state championships for 6 consecutive years.
Ryan Sirna is currently the Associate Director of Bands at Pflugerville High School. His responsibilities include teaching the Non-Varsity Band, Jazz Band, Percussion, and most recently, coordinating the Marching Band. Mr. Sirna has had many successes at Pflugerville including consistent UIL Sweepstakes awards, ensemble participation in the Music For All National Conference, and many finalist awards at Bands of America and UIL events.
Mr. Sirna received his Master’s Degree from Texas Christian University where he studied with Brian West, Richard Gipson, Paul Rennick, Bobby Francis, German Gutierrez, and Joey Carter. During this time Mr. Sirna taught and performed with the 2005 PASIC Percussion Ensemble Featured Concert winners and the 2006 PASIC College Marching Percussion Champions. Mr. Sirna received his Bachelors degree from Southwest Texas State University (Texas State University) where he studied under Genero Gonzalez, John Lopez, James Hudson and John Stansberry.
Mr. Sirna has extensive experience as an educator, designer, clinician and evaluator. He has taught and written works for high schools and universities throughout the U.S. Mr. Sirna was the marching percussion coordinator at Texas State University from 2000-2002. During this time he took the group to compete in the PAS College Marching contest where they received 3rd place. He was a member of the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps in 1998-1999 and taught at the Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps from 2000-2001. From 2003-2005 Mr. Sirna toured the U.S. playing drumset and spent time as a studio musician in Nashville, Tennessee. He has also had the honor of performing with the Austin Symphony and Austin Lyric Opera on multiple occasions.
Mr. Sirna resides in the Austin area with his wife Ashley and his two beautiful children.
Katie VanDoren is an associate Director of Bands at Vandegrift High School in Austin, Texas. Prior to joining the Viper family, Mrs. VanDoren graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education. Mrs. VanDoren currently works on the Brass Staff at Carolina Crown Drum an dBugle Corps. She joined the staff in 2013, after marching with the corps from 2008-2012 and enjoys learning from some of the best educators and teaching some of the best young brass performers in the country.
Katie VanDoren recently married her long-time sweetheart, fellow SASI staff member Evan VanDoren. They both feel lucky to be able to work together in such an uplifting and empowering environment! Mrs. VanDoren has been a part of the SASI leadership staff since 2014 and couldn't imagine a better team of people to work with, let alone getting to work with our country's future leaders!
Megan Knox Wike
Megan Wike is a native of Katy, Texas and has lived in the Austin area since 2011. Mrs. Wike earned her bachelor's degree in 2009 from the University of Houston with a double major in music education and clarinet performance. She graduated summa cum laude and performed three solo recitals. At the University of Houston Mrs. Wike had the honor of performing as principal clarinet in the Wind Ensemble under the batons of Tom Bennett and David Bertman, in addition to receiving weekly instruction from Eddie Green. Mrs. Wike continued her education at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida where she earned her master's degree in clarinet performance in 2011. She was awarded a Henry Mancini Fellowship at UM which enabled her to teach undergraduate classes and to perform in the Mancini Institute Orchestra. Mrs. Wike had the privilege of performing in the Frost Wind Ensemble conducted by Gary Green and the Frost Symphony Orchestra conducted by Thomas Sleeper. She was also the runner-up in the Frost Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition in 2010.
Mrs. Wike is passionate about clarinet performance and pedagogy. She maintains a small studio of clarinet students in the Round Rock area and has student successes at the Region and All-State levels. In collaboration with camp founder Gina Scheer, Mrs. Wike became the director of the first annual Lone Star Clarinet Camp (Round Rock location) in June 2016 with over 50 middle school participants. She has performed locally with the Round Rock Symphony and Austin Civic Orchestra and values personal musical growth.
Mrs. Wike is currently serving in her third year as the Director of Bands at Ridgeview Middle School in Round Rock, Texas. At Ridgeview Mrs. Wike teaches the Honor Band as well as beginner saxophone, flute, and clarinet classes. The RMS Honor Band has earned straight Division One ratings at UIL Concert and Sight Reading under Mrs. Wike’s direction. In December 2016, Mrs. Wike and amazing team of directors had the huge honor of leading the RMS Percussion Ensemble in their performance at The Midwest Clinic in Chicago. This is Mrs. Wike’s sixth year to teach in Round Rock ISD, and she was previously an assistant band director at Cedar Ridge High School and C.D. Fulkes Middle School. Her professional affiliations include the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Bandmasters Association, and the International Clarinet Association.
Mrs. Wike joined the teaching staff of SASi in the summer of 2016 under the direction of Mr. Jeremy Spicer. She loves empowering high school leaders through SASi camps and looks forward to another life-changing year!
Aside from music and teaching, Mrs. Wike is an active runner. She is currently participating in the Austin Distance Challenge and just completed her second full marathon in January 2017. She has been married to her husband Chris for six years, and they enjoy spending time with their two dogs, Bessie and Scout.
Jessica Gonzales has been teaching middle school band in Leander ISD for 13 years. Her bands have consistently received superior ratings at UIL and State Festivals across Texas. Her career highlights thus far have included a trip to the Midwest Clinic with the Cedar Park Middle School Symphonic Band in 2007 and another with the Four Points Middle School Wind Ensemble in 2015. She has taught beginner classes for flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, saxophone, euphonium and tuba. Mrs. Gonzales enjoys teaching in the summers at The University of Texas Band Camps. Additionally, she serves as a clinician and adjudicator for other band programs in central and south Texas.
Mrs. Gonzales attended the University of Texas at Austin where she studied with Karl F. Kraber and performed with the UT Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra and Longhorn Marching Band. She received her degree in Music Education with a Flute Performance Certification in 2004. She now lives in Cedar Park with her husband Damian and two sons Jason and Trey.
Kevin Thompson is in his second year as an Assistant Director of Bands at Morton Ranch High School in the Katy Independent School District. Mr. Thompson Directs the Symphonic Band, assists with the Marching Bad, Concert Band, Honors Band, Wind Ensemble, and Symphony Orchestra, and started the Studio and Lab Jazz Bands as well as the Student Faculty Jazz Combo since beginning at Morton Ranch.
Originally from Westlake Village California, he moved to Texas in 2010. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of North Texas, studying with Professor Dennis Fisher, Dr. Nicholas Williams, and more during his time at the University of North Texas. At UNT Mr. Thompson had the opportunity to perform with a wide variety of ensembles; he performed with the Lab Bands, Repertory Ensemble, Jazz Combos, Concert Bands, Chamber Ensembles, The Green Brigade, and more.
During his summers, Mr. Thompson serves on the instructional team for the S.A.S.I Drum Major and Leadership camps. He is currently entering his fourth year with S.A.S.I working with hundreds of Drum Majors and Student Leaders across Texas. Mr. Thompson’s professional affiliations include Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, North American Saxophone Alliance, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
Cori Reebenacker is an Assistant Band Director at Allen F. Labay Middle School in Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District. Cori is a cum laude graduate from Sam Houston State University in the class of 2016.
Cori is a 2011 graduate from The Woodlands High School where she served as drum major and participated in the 2011 TMEA All State Mixed Choir. Cori went to receive her Bachelor of Music Education at Sam Houston State University. While there, Cori studied under Dr. Matthew McInturf, Dr. Brian Gibbs, and Dr. Patricia Card. She performed in numerous ensembles, including principal clarinet in the Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and Treble Makers Clarinet Quartet. Cori participated in the wind ensemble’s performance for the College Band Directors National Association in 2012 and Texas Music Educators Association in 2013 featuring guest conductor, Dr. Ralph Mills. She also served as Drum Major in the Bearkat Marching Band for two years. In addition, Cori was active as a music instructor, providing private lessons to intermediate and high school students in the Conroe and Huntsville Independent School Districts. She served as a marching technician at Oak Ridge High School in Conroe ISD. Cori also served as Drum Major for The Guardians Drum and Bugle Corps in 2014 in their first year as an open class competitor.
Outside of her responsibilities at Labay Middle School, Cori serves as a marching technician Cypress Falls High School and has recently joined Sugar Land Winds as one of its founding members.
Cori’s professional affiliations include Texas Music Educators Association and Texas Bandmasters Association. She has been working with SASI since 2015 and is excited to continue working with student leaders from around the country!
Linda Harvey is a recent honors graduate from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. She moved to Texas from North Carolina in 2014 to earn her undergraduate degree in Instrumental Music Education under the direction of Dr. Matthew McInturf. She completed her student teaching in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD at Cypress Falls High School with Shawn McAnear and Spillane Middle School with Tom Harrington. She is currently a private lesson teacher, master class instructor, ensemble coach, and substitute teacher in various districts throughout the Houston Area.
During her career at Sam Houston she studied flute under Kathy Daniel. During her first year at Sam Houston she was co-principal in both the Wind Ensemble and Orchestra and took over as principal in the studio during her final year.
With a love for music and performing that developed from admiring her musical older brother Michael, Ms. Harvey was a three year drum major in high school and earned a position as an assistant drum major going into the 2012 season for Carolina Crown Drum & Bugle Corps. While head drum major in 2013 the corps earned their first World Championship title and in 2014 Ms. Harvey was a partial Jim Jones Leadership Scholarship recipient. After her final season with Crown, Ms. Harvey returned in October 2014 to led the corps to Japan as ambassadors for Drum Corps International, giving multiple performances and side-by-side clinics with elementary, middle, and high school students throughout the country. In 2015 Ms. Harvey began working at Oak Ridge High School in Conroe, TX where she was a marching technician, drum major instructor, and woodwind master class instructor.
After attending the annual DCI Business Meeting and Drum Major Summit herself as a student for several years, she was humbled to return in January 2016 as a presenter and group leader. Throughout the year she continues to mentor current and aspiring DCI drum majors and is a sought after drum major coach and adjudicator. Going into the summer of 2016, Ms. Harvey was honored to join the esteemed SASi Leadership team! She is looking very forward to returning for another year and getting to work along side some of the best educators in the industry!
Ms. Harvey is an active member of the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, the National Flute Association, and the Houston Flute Club.
Levi Chavis is currently the Director of Bands and Fine Arts Department Chair at Rick Reedy High School in Frisco, TX. In their inaugural year, the Reedy Wind Ensemble placed 6th in the 2016 TMEA 4A State Honor Band Contest. Prior to opening Reedy, Mr. Chavis was the Director of Bands at Ronald Reagan High School in San Antonio from 2009 to 2015 where he oversaw the Marching Band, Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band. Under his direction, the Ronald Reagan High School Wind Ensemble was twice named a state finalist in the TMEA Honor Band Contest and was also selected to perform at the Music for All National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis, IN. The Ronald Reagan High School Marching Band was a consistent UIL State Marching Band Contest Finalist, a Bands of America Regional and Super Regional Finalist each year, a BOA Regional Class Champion and a Grand National Championship Finalist in 2012.
Mr. Chavis was named the Outstanding Young Bandmaster by Phi Beta Mu’s Texas chapter in 2015. He has previously served on the instructional staffs of The Cavaliers and Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps. Mr. Chavis received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Music Education from Southern Methodist University. He is an active adjudicator throughout Texas and nationally for Bands of America and multiple indoor performing arts organizations. Levi currently resides in McKinney, TX with his wife Amanda and their daughter Sophia.
Daniel Morrison started at Reagan High School in 2010 and took over as Director of Bands in 2015. He conducts the Wind Ensemble and runs the Reagan Marching Band. He also assists with the Symphonic Band, Concert Band and various chamber ensembles. In his time at Reagan, the concert bands have received superior ratings at the UIL Concert and Sightreading Contest, and the marching band has been a consistent Bands of America Regional, Super Regional and Grand National Finalist as well as a two time UIL State Marching Contest finalist. Mr. Morrison attended Prospect High School in Mt. Prospect, Illinois and graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Music Education. As a student at U of I, he was a member of the Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, British Brass Band, Brass Choir and Brass Quintet and studied with James Keene, Joseph Manfredo, Ronald Romm and Michael Ewald. He was also awarded the Daniel J. Perrino School of Music award for excellence in music education.
Dustin Tharp is an Austin transplant and band director at Vandegrift High School. He began his teaching career in Leander ISD at Vista Ridge High School. During his time at Vista Ridge, the program was a Sudler Shield Recipient and UIL State Marching Band Finalist, and his ensembles received unanimous superior ratings at Concert and Sight Reading Contest. Mr. Tharp currently serves as a staff member with SASi leadership company, where he spends his Summers collaborating with student leaders from all over the country. Before beginning his career as an educator, Mr. Tharp studied at Texas Tech University where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and the highest ranking graduate of his class.
As a musician, Mr. Tharp has performed extensively as a member of the Blue Devils International (2015), The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps (2011), and the Texas Tech Symphonic Wind Ensemble (2012-2015). While in school, he was a featured soloist with the TTU Symphony Orchestra, the Southwest Symphony, and was a finalist in the University's Concerto Competition. Mr. Tharp still regularly serves as a low brass clinician.
Aside from his professional career, Mr. Tharp values spending time serving others, reading, and dining at new restaurants.
Kendall Stevenson, a Flower Mound High School alumn, will be graduating from the Univerisity of North Texas with honors in May of 2018 with her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. She began her college career at the University of Minnesota and later transferred to UNT to finish out her degree. Kendall was a member of UNT's Green Brigade Marching Band, led by fellow SASi staff member Dr. Nicholas Williams, where she participated as the lead field technician for two seasons. During her time at UNT, she was the 2017 President for UNT’s Marching Arts Forum
Ms. Stevenson has a passion for the marching arts that extends beyond just high school. She joined The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps in 2012, and later performed with The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps in 2013-2016. After serving her third year as head drum major, Kendall aged out in 2016 as a Jim Jones Leadership Award Second Place Recipient (2015), Cadet of the Year (2015), and Cadet of The Decade (2016). In 2017, Kendall joined The Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps as the Drum Major Technician and served as a part of their leadership development program as well. Kendall is excited to return to The Boston Crusaders in 2018 with the added responsibility of working with the design team as the Design Team Liaison.
Starting this Fall, Ms. Stevenson will be joining the Cedar Park High School Band Program as an Assistant Band Director. Her other teaching experience includes student teaching at Argyle High School and Argyle Middle School, working for the Flower Mound High School and Coppell High School bands, as well as being a frequently sought out leadership and drum major clinician. This past January, Ms. Stevenson was also invited to speak at the DCI Drum Major Leadership Summit as a group leader and presenter. Kendall is extremely excited to move down to Austin and join the SASi leadership team this summer!
Ryan Johnstone is currently the Associate Director of Bands at Rouse High School in Leander, Texas. Prior to his position at Rouse, Mr. Johnstone served as Director of Bands at Canyon Vista Middle School in Austin, Texas, for two years. Mr. Johnstone also served as Director of Bands of the Aledo (TX) Middle School Band program for five years and as an Associate Director at Aledo High School, 2006-2009. In addition to his graduate degree in Trombone Performance from Yale University, Mr. Johnstone holds a Bachelor’s degree in Trombone Performance from the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, PA. In 2012, Mr. Johnstone was honored by Alpha chapter of Phi Beta Mu as the “Texas Young Bandmaster of the Year.”
His bands at Canyon Vista and Aledo Middle School were consistent sweepstakes award winners at UIL and invitational festivals. Top groups at each school also advanced to the Texas Music Educator Association’s State Honor Band Competition three times under his direction, placing 4th in 2011, 2nd in 2013, and 6th in 2015 (his first year at Canyon Vista). Additionally, the AMS Honor Winds were invited performers at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in December 2013. After assuming his position at Rouse, the Rouse High School Marching Band advanced to the 2017 5A UIL State Marching Contest for the first time in school history, advancing to the Finals and placing 9th overall.
In addition to teaching at Rouse, Mr. Johnstone is active as a guest clinician and music education consultant for other public school music programs. He has also been a guest conductor/teacher for the Baylor University and TCU Summer Music Camps and has served on the brass staff for the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps in San Antonio, Texas. His professional affiliations include memberships in the Texas Music Educators’ Association and Texas Bandmasters’ Association.
Mr. Johnstone enjoys motivating musicians to reach their full potential on a daily basis. The cornerstone of his music education philosophy is the belief that the many lessons taught and positive habits learned through music serve as a catalyst for greatness and the foundation for each student’s success in life. He feels privileged and honored to have many fellow music educators, mentors, and friends who have influenced his teaching and career thus far, and he is grateful for the love and support of his family and wife, Rachel.
A native of Northern California, Samia began performing with the Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets in 2003 as a member of the color guard. She then went on to complete her drum corps career with the Santa Clara Vanguard from 2004-2008, while simultaneously performing with the world champion SCV Winter Guard(2006-2010,2015). As a cast member of the Emmy and Tony award winning show Blast!, she has traveled and performed in multiple tours, both nationally and internationally.
Samia holds a B.S. in Kinesiology and Contemporary Dance from Indiana University and has been a certified personal trainer and health/fitness coach for over 12 years. She currently designs for and is the Color Guard/Vision Dance Company Director for Vandegrift high school in Austin,Texas. She is excited to join the team at SASI this summer.
Kylee Hubbard is in her second year as Director of the Fishers High School color guard program, as well as in her second year as the Caption Manager for the Boston Crusader's color guard.
Prior to her current positions, she served with Center Grove High School and Carolina Crown (with their staff and section winning the George Zingali High Color Guard Award in 2016).
Her outdoor marching career began in 2008 with Phantom Regiment and in 2010 she joined Carolina Crown where she would age-out in 2011. She had an indoor career marching with the Independent World group CrownGUARD, while also working toward the completion of a Bachelor's Degree in Management from the University of Georgia.
Originally rooted in Atlanta, Ms. Hubbard has now found home in Indianapolis, Indiana where she continues to expand her studies in performance, education, and leadership. She is thrilled to join the SASI team and to help develop growth and awareness for the next generation of future leaders!
Stephanie Chavez began her Color Guard career as a member of the Cypress Falls HS Color Guard from 2003-2007. Upon graduating from HS, she continued to pursue her passion for color guard as a member of the Phantom Regiment Color Guard from 2007-2010. During her time with the Phantom Regiment, Ms. Chavez served as the Color Guard Co-Captain in 2009 and Color Guard Captain in 2010. After four years with the Phantom Regiment, Ms. Chavez decided to march her last summer of drum corps with the 2011 Carolina Crown. Aside from drum corps, Ms. Chavez also performed during the winter guard season with Code Black in 2008 and continued her performance career as Captain of Cypress Independent Winter Guard in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016.
After many years as a performer, Ms. Chavez continues her involvement in the color guard activity as an educator for many high school and independent color guard programs in Texas. From 2007-2013, Ms. Chavez was the Color Guard Director at Cypress Ridge HS and from 2010-2015 she was a tech/choreographer for the 2014 Scholastic Open champions, Spring HS. During the summers of 2012- 2013 she taught the Blue Knights Color Guard, the Crossmen Color Guard in 2015- 2016 and recently the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps for their 2017 season. From 2013-2015 and 2017, Chavez has served as technician for Cypress Independent and will be returning as choreographer and weapon technician for the 2018 season.
Chavez has been the Color Guard Director of the 2017 WGI SA Champions, Klein Oak High school since 2013 and will be returning to Phantom Regiment as the CG Caption head for their 2018 season. Aside from her career in the color guard activity, she is also a graduate from the University of Houston with a Bachelor's degree in Spanish and a minor in Education.
Aaron Gantt is in his 12th year of teaching and this is his second year as Assistant Director at Rouse High School. He a native of Wagener, South Carolina where he was a graduate of Wagener-Salley High School. He received his Bachelors of Music in Education from Furman University and Masters of Music in Education from the University of South Carolina. Before moving to Texas, Mr. Gantt was Coordinator of Bands for Spartanburg High School in Spartanburg, South Carolina 2009-2015, and assistant director from 2005-2009. During his tenure at Spartanburg the band experienced great growth and success, qualifying for state marching band finals and consistently receiving straight superior ratings in class VI
Mr. Gantt has performed with numerous ensembles including the Furman Wind Ensemble, University of South Carolina Symphonic Band, the Assembly Saxophone Quartet and the Furman University Saxophone Quartet. In the marching realm, Aaron has performed with the Furman University Marching Band, the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps (9-time Drum Corps International world champion), and Infiniti Winter Guard (2000 IA Winter Guard International world champion). In 2003, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contributions as a member of the Cadets.
Mr. Gantt’s teaching experiences include Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps, Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps, Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps, Atlanta CV Drum and Bugle Corps, James F. Byrnes High School, Irmo High School, White Knoll High School, Lassiter High School, and the Cast Winter Guard (WGI A class finalist 2005, 2006, Silver Medalist 2007, Open class finalist 2008) a group he helped to found in the fall of 2004. He is a member of NASA, NAfME, TMEA, and Pi Kappa Lamda National Music Honor Society.
Caroline Beatty is Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music at Texas State University. Her responsibilities include providing administration and oversight of the university band program, conducting the Wind Symphony, and teaching conducting and band literature courses. During the 2014-2015 academic year, she also served as Interim Conductor of the Texas State Symphony Orchestra. Performances under her direction garner consistent accolades from audience members, composers, and fellow performers for their artistry, excitement, beauty, and craft. While honoring the standard repertoire, Dr. Beatty actively invests in the commissioning and performance of new works. Recent commissioning projects and premiere performances have included compositions by Robert Beaser, Carter Pann, Michael Ippolito, DJ Sparr, Margaret Brouwer, David Maslanka, Ryan Chase, and Andrew Rindfleisch. Dr. Beatty maintains a vibrant conducting and teaching schedule outside of the university. She has been engaged as a conductor for composers’ recording projects, various university wind ensembles, and honor bands throughout the country as well as with the Austin Symphony and the Victoria Bach Festival. Her diverse teaching engagements have included serving as a conducting workshop clinician and providing presentations on a variety of educational and historical topics. Additionally, she is active as a rehearsal clinician for high school and middle school bands.
Prior to her current position, Dr. Beatty held the position of Associate Director of Bands at Texas State University and Northwestern State University Louisiana. Her secondary school teaching experience includes thirteen years as a high school band director in the Houston area. She holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting from the University of Michigan and holds both a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting and a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Beatty is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, and Phi Beta Mu International Band Fraternity.