Frank Felice is the Director of Bands for Little Elm ISD. Under his leadership, the LEHS Band has seen unprecedented growth and stands over 220 students strong. Mr. Felice’s bands have competed in the Louisiana Concert Band Invitational, Dallas Wind Symphony Invitational at the Meyerson Symphony Center, National Adjudicators Invitational Festival in San Antonio, the All-American Music Festival in Orlando, Magic Music Days in Orlando, the Breckenridge Music Festival, the Gulfcoast Showcase of Music in South Padre, and many other various festivals. Mr. Felice’s bands have received UIL Sweepstakes Awards and “Superior” ratings throughout Texas and Louisiana.
At Little Elm High School, Mr. Felice is responsible for teaching the Lobo Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, as well as AP Music Theory.
Mr. Felice has served as a guest honor band conductor, adjudicator, marching clinician, drill instructor, low brass technician, and summer band conductor.
Frank Felice is also the Associate Conductor of the premier civic wind ensemble in the DFW metroplex, the Metropolitan Winds. In this role, he serves both as conductor and performer on euphonium. Mr. Felice has also performed throughout the DFW area as a guest performer on euphonium, trombone, and tuba.
Mr. Felice received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Louisiana State University and holds membership in the Texas Bandmasters Association, Texas Music Educators Association, and Texas Music Adjudicators Associaton. Mr. Felice and his wife, Ginger, are most proud of their two wonderful children, Claire and Ryan Felice.
LeAndre Benton is the Associate Director of Bands at Little Elm High School, where he serves as an instructor of the Lobo Marching Band, conducts the Symphonic Winds, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, and teaches beginner brass and woodwind classes at Lakeside Middle School. Mr. Benton, a native of Longview, Texas, and graduate of Longview High School, served as a member of the “Big Green Marching Machine” as a trombonist under the tutelage of Harvey Durham and Louis Robinett II.
Mr. Benton earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree with certifications in both vocal and instrumental music (K-12) from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, where he studied trombone under Dr. J. Mark Thompson and Andrew Eden, and conducting under Dr. Jeffrey C. Mathews. Mr. Benton, a trombonist and past member of the “Spirit of Northwestern” Marching Band, served as a trombone section leader, piccolo section leader, and drum major. Mr. Benton was also a member of the Northwestern State University’s Wind Ensemble, University Jazz Orchestra, University Men’s Chorus, Trombone Choir, and Tuba & Euphonium Ensemble. During his time at Northwestern State, Mr. Benton also studied instrumental music under Dr. Kristine Coreil (horn), Prof. Galindo Rodriguez (trumpet), and was also a teaching fellow of the undergraduate Conducting I classes.
Mr. Benton is an active trombonist in the premier civic wind ensemble in the DFW metroplex, the Metropolitan Winds. He has also served as an adjudicator, band clinician, and summer camp conductor. In addition to music, he is also an NCAA Women’s Basketball Official, Texas High School Basketball Official, a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, International Trombone Association, and a Gamma Rho alumnus of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity. Mr. Benton was selected twice by the UIL to officiate in the 2015 and 2016 Girls State Basketball Tournament. Mr. Benton credits all of his success to God, as well as his family, friends, and instrumental music mentors–Dr. Jeffrey Mathews, Dr. Greg Handel, and Mr. Harry D. Blake. He also just completed the 2nd edition of his fundamental studies book for band entitled “The Daily Regimen”. Mr. Benton also has a twin brother, DeAndre, who is a teacher and basketball coach in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Benton enjoys officiating, traveling, arranging music, and spending time with family.
Matt Neal is currently the percussion director/assistant director at Little Elm High School in Little Elm ISD. He coordinates all aspects of the high school percussion program, as well as instruction of the beginning percussion classes, middle school percussion sections and percussion ensembles. Mr. Neal held the same position at Creekview High School in Carrollton-Farmers Branch from 2013-2017, Rockwall-Heath High School in Rockwall, Texas, for the 2012-2013 school year and North Lamar High School in Paris, Texas, from 2005-2012. Mr. Neal’s students have been recognized at the state and national level in all areas of performance, including concert and marching percussion ensemble, and in their solo endeavors.
Since 2004 Mr. Neal has been a percussion instructor and the music coordinator for the Red River Drum and Auxiliary Camp, an annual summer camp providing instruction for marching percussion, color guard and drum majors. It is one of the largest and most successful summer camps of its kind in the country. From 2007 to 2010 Mr. Neal was the percussion arranger/writer for the Southeastern Oklahoma State University Marching Band in Durant, Oklahoma.
Mr. Neal graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Oklahoma, with a degree in Instrumental Music Performance in 2003. Following his time at SOSU, he earned a Master’s degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in Percussion Performance in 2005. Mr. Neal currently resides in Dallas, Texas with his wife Angela, an Orff specialist and the elementary music teacher in Frisco ISD.
Scott Kennedy, Director of Bands at Lakeside Middle School, comes to Little Elm from Clark Middle School in Frisco. While on the Clark band staff he taught beginning low brass and conducted the non-varsity band. Mr. Kennedy began his career in 1995 and spent his first ten years teaching in Oklahoma. His bands received consistent superior ratings, sweepstakes awards, and benefited from more musical opportunities than before his direction. After moving to Texas in 2005, Mr. Kennedy taught in Mabank where his varsity band was a finalist in the ATSSB Outstanding Performance Series, achieved many UIL sweepstakes as well as Best in Class awards. Before coming to Clark, he served as director of bands at Wilkinson Middle School in Mesquite, TX. His Wilkinson band achieved UIL sweepstakes for the first time in 7 seven years before his direction and earned Best in Class awards. While at Clark, his non-varsity band was an annual UIL sweepstakes winner as well as Best in Class at Peak Music Festivals. While on staff at Clark, the Clark varsity band earned the CC TMEA Honor Band distinction and most recently won the Sudler Silver Cup award for best middle school band program in the country. Mr. Kennedy, with the Clark band staff, was a presenter at TMEA in 2014 and published in the September 2015 Southwestern Musician.
A Graduate of Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Music Education, Mr. Kennedy is a member of the Texas Bandmaster’s Association, Texas Music Educator’s Association, National Federation of Musicians, International Trombone Association and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. As a trombonist, he has been a performer with the Carrollton Wind Symphony and the Prestonwood Orchestra. He has served as chairman and Vice-President for the Northeast Band Director’s Association (Oklahoma) and was named in Who’s Who Among American Teachers in 2005. His private students have consistently achieved All-Region and All-State placement.
Mr. Kennedy is married to Denise, a clarinetist and band director at Lake Dallas High School. They have three children; Kaitlyn (French horn), Zachary, and Rebecca. In the summer months, he enjoys teaching at SWOSU Band Camp, golfing, and getting out on the lake with his family.
Whitney Katz began teaching in the fall of 2010 in Floresville ISD. While increasing their beginner enrollment by 50% to 170 students, Mrs. Katz also earned consecutive sweepstakes with the non-varsity band. Her students also earned many positions in the All-Region band, and first division ratings at solo contest. In the fall of 2012, Mrs. Katz moved to Coppell Middle School West, and earned consecutive UIL superior ratings from 2014 through 2016. While under the direction of Mrs. Katz, the Non-Varsity band received “Best in Class” awards at both Peak Music Festival and Beach Within Reach Festival.
As a trumpet player, Mrs. Katz has soloed and performed with the Carrollton Wind Symphony since 2012. In 2017, CWS was awarded the John Philip Sousa Sudler Silver Scroll Award, and will be featured at the 2018 Midwest Clinic and Convention. Prior to becoming a band director, Mrs. Katz attended Texas Tech University earning a Music Education degree with an emphasis in trumpet. She played in several ensembles, as well as performing with Phil Smith as a member of the Texas Tech Trumpet Choir. She also marched with the Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps during the 2008 championship season.
Her professional affiliations include Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, and Tau Beta Sigma. Mrs. Katz is happily married to fellow band director Ben Katz. They reside in Frisco, Texas with their son William and their two cats.
Robyn Blanchard is the Assistant Band Director at Lakeside Middle School. She joins the Little Elm staff after two years of teaching in Athens, Texas. During her time in Athens she was the Assistant Middle School Band Director and her responsibilities included teaching the beginner flute, clarinet, saxophone and French horn classes, leading the non-varsity ensemble, and assisting with all other middle school and high school activities. In 2017 she took the Athens Middle School Non-Varsity Band to UIL Contest and Sight-reading where they earned their first Sweepstakes in the history of the school. Her students in Athens have made the region, area, and all-state bands.
Prior to teaching in Athens, Ms. Blanchard student taught in Frisco, Texas at Centennial High School and Clark Middle School. Ms. Blanchard is an Oklahoma Baptist University Alumni and grew up in Plano, Texas, graduating from Plano West Senior High School. She holds memberships in the Texas Music Educators Association and the Texas Bandmasters Association.
Donald Gee, a 42 year veteran educator, is a native Texan, a product of the public school systems of both Texas and Louisiana. He received both the Bachelor’s of Music Education and Master’s of Music Education degrees at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. Mr. Gee’s teaching career began in 1976 with the Ouachita Parish School System in Monroe, Louisiana where he taught twenty years, the final fifteen with the prestigious Ouachita Parish High School Bands. He then held the positions of Director of Bands with the Mesquite ISD, and, most recently, the Garland ISD.
Bands under his direction have earned consistent superior ratings at the district, region, and state levels. Individual students within these programs distinguished themselves with numerous all-district, all-region, and all-state honors. In 1987, the Ouachita Parish HS band won the large-class division of the Six Flags Invitational, and in 1988, were a featured performing group at the CBDNA-NBA convention. Mr. Gee was awarded in 1988, the NBACitation of Excellence, and in 1990, he was named as the youngest inductee into the BandWorld “Legion of Honor”. He has been listed five times, via student nomination, with the Who’s Who in Education organization. Under his direction, and the direction of the two immediate predecessors, the OPHS bands received 32 consecutive sweepstakes ratings at the district and state levels. In demand as a clinician and adjudicator, these travels have taken him into the states of Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Florida.
An avid hobbyist, Mr. Gee’s pastimes include travel, photography, boating, scuba, and gardening. As an oboist and woodwind specialist, he is in demand as a free-lance performer and as a consultant.
Kaleen R. Hernandez is the Director of Bands for Prestwick STEM Academy. She received her Bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of North Texas. She studied under notable professors such as Christopher Deane, Ed Smith, Paul Rennick, and Jose Aponte. Mrs. Hernandez is Orff Level 1 Certified and taught elementary music for 7 years in Garland ISD. She directed choir, recorder, and Orff/percussion ensembles on her campus that received many first division and best in class awards.
From 2013-16, Mrs. Hernandez taught private percussion and piano lessons in Little Elm and surrounding north Texas areas. She continues to serve as a bass line marching tech, UIL region clinician, and UIL All-Region judge.
Mrs. Hernandez graduated with her Master’s degree in music education from Texas A&M University-Commerce. She had the privilege of studying under Mrs. Darla Meek, Dr. Randall Hooper, Dr. Norman Wick, and Dr. David Scott. In 2016, she had the honor presented at a music educator’s workshop for A&M Commerce as well as a TMEA workshop in Richardson.
Mrs. Hernandez is a member of Texas Music Educators Association, Percussive Arts Society, and American Orff-Schulwerk Association. She is married with two adorable sons and a spunky maltese poodle. Aside from music, her hobbies include playing golf and being an avid TX Rangers fan!
Kristen Zotti is the Guard Director at Little Elm High School. She is originally from Cheshire, Connecticut, where she began her marching career with the Cheshire High School Band and their Scholastic World Class Winter Guard from 2005-2009. During high school, she independently participated in the Connecticut Hurricanes DCI drum and bugle corp from 2007-2010. Following high school, Ms. Zotti performed with the Independent World Guard, Alter Ego, from 2010-2012. She then moved to Dayton, Ohio, to be with the Zydeco Winter Guard for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. As well as her winter guard endevors, Ms. Zotti marched with the DCI corp, the Blue Stars, for two years. During her summers, Kristen Zotti serves as a camp clinician for Fred J. Miller camps. She has worked with many high school guards in Connecticut and Ohio, such as Cheshire, Southington, and Lakota West High Schools.
Daniel Hartselle is the Color Guard tech and visual coordinator at Little Elm High School. Mr. Hartselle also serves as director of the Color Guard program at Keller Central High School. His responsibilities include teaching the color guard year-round, as well as assisting with design and instruction of the Marching Band show in the fall. In the winter season Mr. Hartselle leads a varsity and junior varsity winter guard that compete both locally and nationally, including a WGI Finals appearance in 2016.
Prior to Central High School, Mr. Hartselle taught at Colleyville-Heritage High School in Colleyville, TX.