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DaShaun McGee is a talented, well-rounded musician who plays a variety of musical instruments. He is well-versed in playing the piano, flute, clarinet, oboe, and principal instrument, the saxophone. Mr. McGee studied under Bryson Borgstedt and Dr. Joren Cain. Learning the different stylistic qualities of the saxophone lead him to become a skilled performing artist playing the solo parts in many ensembles. At VSU, Mr. McGee was actively engaged in Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Marching Band, Concert Band, Orchestra, and Saxophone Quartet. Mr. McGee also studied double reeds privately with Dr. Susan Eischeid where he learned how to make Oboe reeds.
DaShaun is in his eleventh year as a music educator and is currently in his 5th year as the Fine Arts Coordinator and Director of Bands at Wayne County High School in Jesup, GA, where he oversees all aspects of the music programs in Wayne County. He is the event organizer for the Georgia Music Educator Association (GMEA) Large Group Performance Evaluations (LGPE) in District 8. He also serves on the executive board as the district chair. He currently plays in the Golden Isles community concert band and the Golden Isles Jazz Band.
DaShaun received his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Valdosta State University (2010). He earned his Master's of Music Degree in Music Performance in Wind Band Conducting at Georgia Southern University (2014). He later returned to Valdosta State and earned his Education Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership (2016). He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Instrumental Music Education at Auburn University.
Before coming to Wayne County, he was the Director of Bands at Burke County High School, where he developed the program from 70 band members to over 150 marching band members over four years. Under his leadership, the three concert bands earned superior ratings at the Large Group performance Evaluations performing levels 4, 5, and 6 literature. He is an active performer and has played alto and tenor saxophone in the Savannah River Winds, an adult community band located in Augusta, Georgia.
Mr. McGee was named the Star Teacher in 2019, presented by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation. He is an active member of the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA), National Band Association (NBA), and National Association for Music Education (NAfME). He recently presented "Creating Meaning Music Programs in Rural Settings," a 2021 NAfME National Conference session. He also presented "How to Lost a Job in 10 Days: Things That You Did Not Realize After College" at the Alabama Music Educators Association (AMEA) 2021 State Professional Development Conference. He and his wife Monica did a joint presentation entitled “How Do We Do It? Teaching, Marriage, Family Life, Advanced Degrees, and Self-Care”. This presentation was a big success at the Impact Student Learning Conference (ISL) 2021. McGee is involved with the following professional organizations: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity (2008), Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity (2006), and the North America Saxophone Alliance (NASA).
He spends his free time running, training his dog Kai, and quality time with his wife Monica and their two children Kadien and Khloee. Mr. McGee is a volunteer track coach and for the sprinters and the hurdles at WCHS.
Jonathan Steltzer currently serves as the Assistant Band Director at Wayne County High School (Jesup, GA). Previously, he was the lower school band instructor at Christ the King Catholic School (Atlanta, GA) and in Chatham County where he secured Clorox and Georgia Music Foundation grants. As a conductor, Jonathan has participated in the CU Boulder and UCLA Conducting Workshops. Jonathan actively participates with the International Clarinet Association Youth Committee and presented at the multi-state NAfME conference hosted by the Maryland Music Educators Association.
As an active saxophonist, woodwind doubler, and jazz musician, Jonathan has performed with the Atlanta Wind Symphony, Savannah Pipes and Drums, Cobb New Horizons Band, Atlanta Wind Project, and the World Youth Wind Orchestra Project (Schladming, AT). Additionally, he is the winds division winner of the Ronald Sachs International Music Competition, Kennesaw State University Concerto Competition winner performing John Mackey’s Soprano Sax Concerto, 2nd place of the Samuel Fordis Young Artist Concerto Competition, honorable mention at the International Woodwind Duo Symposium, finalist with the North American Saxophone Alliance Competition, a finalist for the Rome Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and featured as a soloist with the Kennesaw State University Percussion Ensemble, Kennesaw Community Choir and Kennesaw State University Mixed Choir. Jonathan performed solo and chamber recitals at the American Single Reed Summit, North American Saxophone Alliance regional and international conferences, ClarinetFest, International Saxophone Symposium, and the National Conference for Undergraduate Research. As an advocate of new music, Jonathan has commissioned and joined consortiums from various composers including Viet Cuong, and Robert W. Smith.
Jonathan attended Kennesaw State University earning a Bachelor's degree in Music Education under the study of Sam Skelton with the Malone Endowed Music Scholarship. At Kennesaw State University, he served as the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensembles Teachers’ Assistant and participated in chamber ensembles, the Marching Owls, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble 1, Recorder Quartet, and Basketball Band. Jonathan is a member of the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA), International Clarinet Association (ICA), North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA), Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME)
Fun Fact: Jonathan was in the marching band for Stranger Things: Season 3
Chris Harper, a native of Conyers, Georgia, is the Band Director at Martha Puckett Middle School. He earned his music education degrees from Valdosta State University (2001) and Troy University (2009). He is active as a consultant and guest conductor for bands and adjudicator for several marching band contests throughout the state. In addition, Mr. Harper has served as an interviewer for participant selection for the Governor’s Honors Program in instrumental music. During his 20 years as a teacher, bands under his direction have received consistent Superior and Excellent ratings.
As a conductor, Mr. Harper intensively studied the psychology of musician motivation from a conductor’s perspective and advanced conducting with renowned educator and conductor Dr. Dale Lonis. Dr. Lonis focused on those facets through a rigorous three-level program: The Canadian Wind Conductors Development Program located in Manitoba, Canada. Additionally, Mr. Harper is a noted authority on the Saito Conducting Method studying with Wayne Toews and Morihiro Okabe in Saskatchewan, Canada (2006).
As a musician, trumpet, Mr. Harper has performed with the Albany (GA), Statesboro-Georgia Southern, and Valdosta Symphony Orchestras, the Jekyll Island Musical Theater Festival, and numerous church orchestras and ensembles. He has performed with musical personalities such as Doc Severinsen, Ken Trimmins, and John Fedchock.
Mr. Harper holds professional affiliations with the National Association for Music Education, Georgia Music Educators Association, National Band Association, and the Professional Association of Georgia Educators. He is listed in numerous editions of Who’s Who in America, The World, and American Education. Mr. Harper has been featured in The Instrumentalist magazine, an international publication for band pedagogy, for his ideas of ensemble programming, integration of music technology within a wind band program, and practices for recruitment / retention of band students. Mr. Harper has presented sessions for the Georgia Music Educator’s Association, In-Service Conference in 2013 and 2021 entitled “Recruiting and Retaining in a Rural Setting.” Along with colleague DaShaun McGee, Mr. Harper presented to the 2021 National Association for Music Education National Conference a session "Creating Meaningful Music Programs in Rural Settings." His hobbies include thinking, research, and historical world events. Mr. Harper considers himself a life-long learner in his career. He is married to Kaye Harper, a mathematics teacher, and has two stepchildren Aden and Kaley.
Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, Mr. Desmond T. Tarplin began playing drums at the age of 3 and hasn't looked back since. Mr. Tarplin grew up always interested in sports and music, participating in many activities while also excelling as a student. In 2005, he graduated from Stockbridge High School as a 3-year veteran of the Tiger Marching Band.
Following high school, Mr. Tarplin attended the University of West Georgia (Go Wolves!) in Carrollton, GA and majored in music performance with a concentration in jazz studies. During his time at UWG, he was an active member in many ensembles including the UWG Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, the UWG Jazz Percussion Group, jazz combo, concert band, percussion ensemble, and "The Sound that Lights the South," the UWG marching band. He served as a section leader or principal player for at least two years in every ensemble. In May of 2011, he graduated from UWG with a bachelor's degree in music performance.
Mr. Tarplin continued his education by pursuing a master's degree in music performance from Valdosta State University (Go Blazers!) while also serving as an athletic bands graduate assistant. He assisted with the direction and instruction of the VSU Blazin' Brigade Marching Band and co-directed the Blazin' Brigade Pep Band during basketball season. During his time at VSU, he also participated in the VSU Wind Ensemble, steel drum band, percussion ensemble, jazz ensemble, and jazz combo. He completed his degree at VSU in the spring of 2013.
Mr. Desmond Tarplin brings in a wealth of knowledge from learning, performing, and teaching at various levels. In addition to nine years of scholastic marching band experience, he has also performed with DCA Southern Champion, Atlanta CV. Mr. Tarplin has been a percussion caption head, visual/marching technician, and arranger for many high school programs since 2007 including Lakeside High School (Atlanta, GA), Heard County High School (Franklin, GA), Bowdon High School (Bowdon, GA), Glynn Academy (Brunswick, GA), Burke County High School (Waynesboro, GA), Liberty Technology Magnet High School (Jackson, TN), and Luella High School (Locust Grove, GA). He continues to teach private lessons and perform nationally and internationally.
Mr. Tarplin's teaching philosophy has two basic tenets: first, to provide students with the technical knowledge to play their instruments; and second, to teach students to make personal and emotional attachments to the music and music-making process. This encourages the students to think critically about what they are performing and may lead to success in other areas of academia. He believes that the classroom relationship should revolve around trust and respect; with those two factors in place, the students will be in a better position to succeed.
Mr. Tarplin was initiated into Kappa Kappa Psi in the spring of 2007 and be came a life member in 2016. He is also a active member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the Georgia Music Educator’s Association (GMEA), and the Percussive Arts Society (PAS).
Mr. Tarplin is married to his wife, Rebekah, and will soon have two beautiful twin girls. In his free time, he enjoys watching football, going to baseball games, traveling, cycling, learning new instruments, and playing the occasional video game.
Lynice Jackson Williams is currently in her 31 year as the Majorette Coach and Auxiliary Coordinator. The majorette lines have won many best in class and superior ratings under her leadership. The WCHS majorette came in first place in the high school classification at Disney's Twirlmaina in 2018.
Mary Elizabeth Swilley is a very passionate baton twirler and dancer who was born and raised here in Wayne County in Odum, Georgia. She began baton twirling and dancing with Gina’s Gems at the age of 3. She was involved in the competition team competing across the Southeast each year. She continued her twirling career as a Wayne County High school majorette from 2010 - 2013.
After high school, Mary Elizabeth went to the University of Georgia and received a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis. During her time at UGA, she was a University of Georgia Majorette for all 4 years and Captain for 2 years. Her career as a Majorette included many different experiences such as: performing and competing at NBTA Nationals at the University of Notre Dame, marching in the 2018 Rose Bowl Parade and performing at the Rose Bowl Game, and performing at the 2018 CFP National Championship game.
After completing graduate school at UGA, Mary Elizabeth moved to Cleveland, Ohio where she worked as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst for ABA Outreach. After experiencing the cold and snow, it was time to make a move back home down South when her husband received a coaching position with WCHS. Mary Elizabeth is now the Behavior Specialist for our school system and continues to love producing young twirlers here in the county. She is also currently a coach at Gina’s Gems where she teaches the competition team and individual twirlers.
Mary Elizabeth is very excited to come full circle and help to continue to develop the WCHS majorettes into top tier college ready twirlers. It is a program that is special to her heart, and she is so excited to be able to work with all of the girls.
David Michael Singleton (Coach Sing), a Bradwell Institute alum, is starting his first year as a sixth grade Social Studies teacher at Arthur Williams Middle School and his first year as Co-Color Guard Director with the Wayne County High School Marching Band.
Singleton’s color guard journey began at Bradwell Institute where he learned to spin and began to take dance lessons his senior year. This led him to being part of the Southern Pride Color Guard, where he served as a captain the 2017 season. Singleton has five years of experience teaching successful color guards programs such as Burke County High School, Bradwell Institute, May River High School, Long County High School, and his alma mater, Georgia Southern.
Coach Sing is a Hinesville, GA native and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies with a minor in Theatre from Georgia Southern University. He is currently pursuing a MAT in Middle Grades: Social Studies at Liberty University. Coach Sing is very excited to be part of the Yellow Jacket Marching Band!
Monica McGee, born and raised in Jesup Ga, is the epitome of what most people would call a “Band Nerd”. She has enjoyed playing trumpet from 6th grade all the way through college, and she continues to play as an adult. While in grade school, she participated in multiple honor band clinics, received superior ratings during the Large Group Performance Evaluations (formerly known as Festival), and she served as trumpet section leader until she graduated from WCHS in 2006. She went on to play in the Albany State University's Marching Rams Show Band from 2006-2009. During her years of marching with the Marching Rams Show Band, she served as band president, band treasurer, and a member of Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority. With her love for music, God saw fit for her to marry a band director. The McGee's, have two beautiful and musical children, Kaiden and Khloee.
For the last 10 years of teaching, Monica has taught pre-k, kindergarten, 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade. She has strong leadership abilities. Being a 5th-grade teacher has helped her understand the needs of all children from different social backgrounds. Being that she is an educator in the Wayne County School system at Martha Smith Elementary school, she serves as a role model and a mentor for at-risk children. This is evident that she doesn’t mind giving back. It takes a lot of critical thinking and being a strong team player to accomplish such a task when dealing with people of many backgrounds. Monica works with two extra curriculum activity groups at her school, the MRSE Step Team and MRSE Chorus. These groups meet after school hours to practice for various performances in the community. These included church performances, city-wide events, and private organizations. She participates in fundraisers to raise money for uniforms for the students who participate in the above events.
Monica has a very robust educational background. In May 2011 she graduated from Albany State University, in Albany, GA, with a bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education. In May 2014 she completed her master's degree requirements from Armstrong University in Savannah, GA. In December 2016 she graduated from Augusta University with her Specialist Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Now, she is currently pursuing her Doctoral Degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Capella University. She plans to become Dr. McGee in 2023.
Monica is an ambitious individual. While taking time to raise two children, tend to her family needs, pursue an advanced degree, and teach her 5th-grade students, she also attends church at Live Oak Church in Hinesville, Georgia. She takes part in various church activities, such as participating in the Reflection Praise Dance team. She is also a former member of the praise and worship team. Monica's favorite moments are going to church, praise dancing with her dance team, participating in band events, and just hanging out with friends and family. Volunteering and teaching appear to give her more energy than one could have. She finds time for the elementary school step team to visit some citizens in the Wayne County nursing home to read to and perform for some of those who are ill. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
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