Staff Members

Director of Bands

Ira Jenkins

 

 

Previous to joining Decatur High School in 2022, Mr. Jenkins was the Director of Bands at Alpharetta High School. While at Alpharetta High School, the concert bands were featured performers at GMEA's In-service Conference, UGA's JanFest Honor Band Clinic, Music For All's Southeastern Concert Festival, and a host of other special performances. The marching band was a Bands of America regional finalist as well as Grand Champion at the Jacksonville University Invitational.  Alpharetta's Indoor Percussion ensemble was GIPA's Scholastic A champion in 2022 as well as the WGI Atlanta Scholastic A champion. All three of Alpharetta's winter guards have been repeat SAPA championship medalists. In 2019 the Alpharetta varsity winter guard was a Winter Guard International World Championships finalist. 

 

Prior to AHS, Mr. Jenkins taught elementary, middle, and high school bands in Atlanta City, Cobb County, Fulton County, and in Westchester County (NY) as well as Bergen County (NJ).  His bands have consistently earned superior ratings at performance evaluations, and his winter guards have received state championships honors. Mr. Jenkins' students have earned chairs in county and district honor bands as well as all-state bands and university honor clinics. Many of his students continue their passion for performance in college bands, professional ensembles, drum and bugle corps, independent drumlines, and independent winter guards. 

Mr. Jenkins' responsibilities have extended far beyond the classroom. He has served as an assistant high school marching band director, visual caption head, color guard caption head, and director of numerous winter guard programs throughout the east coast. He has also served as band chair and the district chair for GMEA's District 5. 

 

Mr. Jenkins' professional affiliations include marching band and winter guard adjudication with the WGI, DCI, BOA, USSBA, and numerous state circuits. He holds memberships with GMEA, NAfME, SAPA, WGI, NYSSMA, NYSBDA, and FFJA. 

 

Education:
PhD. (in progress); Music Education - Georgia State University (2023-anticipated)

Ed.S; Music Education - University of Georgia (2018)

M.Ed; Education Administration - Kennesaw State University (2007)

B.M.; Music Education - Georgia State University and Florida A&M University (1999)

 



  

Assistant Director

Russ Thompson

 

 

Mr. Russ Thompson begins his fourth year with CSD where he will be working at both Decatur HS and FAve.  From 2014-2018, Russ was the Director of Bands at Woodland High School – Henry County, GA. The Woodland Band Program consisted of three concert ensembles, two percussion ensembles, the Wolfpack Marching Band, two SAPA/WGI Winter Guard Ensembles, and a SAPA/GIPA/WGI Indoor Percussion Ensemble. Under his direction, the Wolfpack Marching Band was a two-time BOA Regional Participant, participant in the 2016 U.S. Bands Southern States Championship in Chattanooga (TN) and was invited to participate in the 2016 ABC/Dunkin’ Donuts Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. Under his leadership, Woodland High School also served as a two-time host of the WGI Atlanta Regional for Winds and Percussion in 2016 and 2017. 

 

Prior to Woodland, he served two years as Assistant Director of Bands/Instructor of

Music at Campbellsville University, in Campbellsville, Kentucky. His primary responsibilities were assisting the Director of Bands in all administrative, programming, and recruiting areas of the Campbellsville University Band program as well as teaching undergraduate courses. From 2008-2010, he served as the Director of Bands at Duluth High School in Duluth, Georgia. Thompson's teaching career began in Alabama where served as band director at Lauderdale County High School in Florence, Alabama. Mr. Thompson was the primary music teacher for grades K-12, teaching elementary general music, beginning band, and 7-12th grade band. 

 

Education:

M.M; Instrumental Conducting - Georgia State University (2012)

M.Ed; Music Education - Auburn University (2008)

B.A; Music Education - University of North Alabama (2005)

 



  

Percussion Instructor

Mark Little

 

  

 

Mark has served as Percussion Instructor at DHS since 2010.  He grew up in Cumming, GA, where he began studying percussion at the age of 10.  Thanks to wonderful teachers and patient, loving parents, he was soon captivated by the beauty and power of people joined together to bring a piece of music to life.  Throughout middle school and high school, Mark participated in District Honor Band, All-State Orchestra, All-State Wind Ensemble, and the All-State Jazz Clinic.  He went on to study percussion at Western Carolina University and then Berry College.

 

Over the past 30 years, Mark has worked as a freelance and studio session drummer in the Atlanta area, performed in various capacities with countless musical groups across a wide variety of genres and contexts, and also taught private students, percussion clinics, and drumlines at middle schools and high schools throughout Georgia.  Mark is a member of the Percussive Arts Society, the Georgia Music Educators' Association, the National Association for Music Education, judges percussion for marching band competitions, and has served as an adjudicator at the GMEA's Solo & Ensemble evaluations and All-State Band auditions.

 

Mark lives in Decatur, and when not drumming or teaching, is often thinking about words, people he loves, or delicious snack items.

 



  

Percussion Instructor

Matthew Carmichael

 

 

Matt became involved with the Decatur High School band in 2017 and currently works as the battery instructor.

 

Matt holds a Bachelor of Music from Georgia State University with a concentration in music technology. He spent five years performing with the GSU Marching Panther Band as a snare drummer, serving as section leader in 2018. He was a member of the percussion studio and was principal percussionist in both the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the Wind Orchestra. In 2015-2016, Matt marched with Atlanta CV Drum & Bugle Corps and Q2 Independent Indoor Percussion Ensemble. He has performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2014 (behind KISS) and the Super Bowl LIII halftime show.

 

Matt lives in Lawrenceville with his girlfriend, Chyna, where he works as a freelance percussion teacher and audio engineer. He previously taught drumline at McIntosh High School, Apalachee High School, and Central Gwinnett High School. In his spare time, he enjoys gigging with his metal band, Mirthless, as well as building computers and going to Six Flags.

 



  

Color Guard Instructors

Lisa Stevenson and Jessi Lang

 

 

 

Ms. Stevenson has been involved with colorguard, winterguard, and marching band as a performer, instructor, or caption head since the fall of 1996.


Through the years Ms. Stevenson has performed with Northgate High School colorguard and winterguard, Georgia Tech Marching Band, DCI Finalist Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps, and WGI Finalist CenterStage Performance Ensemble from Jacksonville State University.


Ms. Stevenson has also worked as a director, choreographer, and designer for the following ensembles: Sandy Creek High School, Woodland High School, Coffee High School, South Cobb High School, Mill Creek High School, Union Grove High School, Heritage High School, Georgia Tech Colorguard, White and Gold Winterguard, Lakeside High School, and Lakeside Independent.

 

 

Jessi Lang has been involved in color guard and winter guard since 2014. She has participated at both the high school and collegiate level (with the University of Alabama – Roll Tide) Ms. Lang has worked with guard programs at several high schools in Alabama, as well as the past two years at DHS.

 



 

Visual Instructor

Mina Phan

 

 

Born and raised in Georgia, Mina has been studying trumpet since age 10 and has since been an Atlanta-based freelancer and educator.

 

Ms. Phan is a visual instructor for Decatur High School’s marching band, and she is also part of the visual staff at Atlanta CV Drum & Bugle Corps and Whitewater Wildcat Marching Band. She maintains a private studio at Vivo Music & Arts Academy in Cumming, Georgia, and in the metro Atlanta area.

 

At Georgia State University, Ms. Phan was a member of their Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and Opera, having served as principal trumpet for the latter two. Additionally, she marched in DCI drum corps Bluecoats and Blue Knights, and she performed as an extra for the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show.

 

Ms. Phan graduated cum laude from Georgia State University, where she was also an Undergraduate Assistant. Her primary teachers include Dr. Alexander Freund, Hollie Lifshey, and Clark Hunt.

 



 

Visual Instructor

David Haven

(bio coming soon)



 

Jazz Instructor

Sam Davis

(bio coming soon)

 

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