2022 Winter Conference Clinicians

Dr. Jerome Bierschenk
A native of Fort Worth, Dr. Jerome M. Bierschenk has been a music educator in Texas for over 45 years. After earning a bachelor’s degree in music education at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Bierschenk started a teaching career in instrumental music education, and was a band director for 20 years. He taught in the Austin, Birdville, and Weatherford school districts, and in Weatherford was the Director of Bands as well as the Coordinator of Music for the district.

Dr. Bierschenk’s interest began to include voice and choral conducting, and after earning the Master of Music Education degree and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from the University of North Texas, he began his tenure as Artistic Director of the Texas Boys Choir and as the Director of Fine Arts for the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts. In 2007, Dr. Bierschenk was appointed Director of Choral Activities at Texas Wesleyan University, where, in addition to directing the choirs, he taught Aural Skills, Composition, Voice, and Conducting. He was named Chair of the Department of Music in 2014, and retired in 2021.
With both extensive experience as a tenor soloist and as a trumpet player, he has performed solo tenor roles with Schola Cantorum of Fort Worth, the University of North Texas Choirs, as well as various other groups in the Fort Worth community, and is active as a free-lance trumpet player.

Most recently, Dr. Bierschenk became founder and artistic director of Voices of Fort Worth. He is also a member of Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Choral Directors Association, American Choral Directors Association, Collegiate Choral Organization, and National Association of Teachers of Singing. He is a member of Phi Kappa Lambda, and an honorary member of Sigma Alpha Iota and Kappa Kappa Psi music fraternities.

Julie Boettiger
After completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Texas Tech University, I promptly completed my OAKE Endorsed Kodály Certification at the University of North Texas. My teaching career has been centered on elementary music in the West Houston area, where I taught for sixteen musical years. While working in Fort Bend ISD, I completed my Master’s in Education Administration from the University of Houston. For the last two years, I spend each day working with the teachers and students of my school district as the Coordinator of Elementary Music.

Derrick Brookins
Derrick Brookins has served the students and parents in Texas Music Education for more than 25 years. Mr. Brookins' teaching experience spans a vast range of elementary and secondary choral music, from kindergarten to collegiate. Brookins has served on Travis Jr. High's faculty in Irving, TX., Williams High School, and Plano Senior High School, in Plano, TX.  Mr. Brookins has also served as a Professor of Choral Music for The University of Texas-Dallas and currently serves as Dean of Music for Trivium Academy in Carrollton, TX.  A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Mr. Brookins has completed with honors both a bachelor's degree in Choral Music Education from the University of North Texas and a Masters of Secondary Education/Administration from Concordia University and is presently enrolled in a doctoral program.

For thirteen years, Mrs. Brookins studied under and performed with world-renowned choral musician Moses Hogan. As a choral music performer, Mr. Brookins has performed on four continents and several European royal families and two US Presidents in venues such as the White House and the Sydney Opera House. He is a highly sought-after choral clinician and adjudicator throughout the United States. Mr. Brookins has served and demonstrated leadership skills for the Texas Music Educators Association in the capacity of Regional and Area Vocal Chairman for over ten years and has served over 23,000 choral educators and students as the Texas Music Educators Association State Vocal Chair.  Mr. Brookins currently holds professional membership with the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Choral Directors Association, American Choral Directors Association, and the Texas Music Adjudicators Association.

Alexander Carr
Alexander Carr has served as the Director of Choral Activities at Hebron High School since the fall of 2019. He is the teacher of record for the A Cappella Mixed Choir and Belle Chanson Treble Choir. Prior to his appointment at Hebron High School, Mr. Carr has served on the faculties of I. M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA in Fort Worth ISD, Keller High School in Keller ISD, and Ferguson Junior High in Arlington ISD. Under his direction, the Keller ISD 5th and 6th Grade Honor Choir performed as an Invited Performing Ensemble at the 2017 Texas Music Educators Association Convention. In addition, he served as the associate conductor for the Keller High School Chanteurs Varsity Treble Choir performance at the 2017 American Choral Directors National Conference.

Jodi Coke
Jodi Coke is a choral director and classical singer in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. She is currently in her eighth year as the head choir director at Hillwood Middle School in Keller ISD. Prior to teaching at HMS, Jodi was the Associate Choir Director at North Richland Middle School in Birdville ISD, the Music Associate for Choral Conducting at Christ Church, Plano and Assistant Choir Director at Arlington High School. Jodi has sung with many professional choirs in the DFW area, including Orpheus Chamber Singers, Dallas Bach Society, and Vox Humana. She has also sung with Conspirare, directed by the renowned Craig Hella Johnson, and is a soloist on the Grammy nominated album, “Threshold of Night.” Jodi holds a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from the University of North Texas in 2006 and Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Southern Methodist University in 2014. She resides in Fort Worth with her husband, Wes, and eight-year-old daughter, Kennedy, who is a pediatric cancer survivor.

 Christian De la Cruz
Christian De la Cruz is in his 12th year of teaching and is an associate choir director with the internationally acclaimed Reagan High School Choir Program and has served as the associate director of music at First Protestant Church since 2014. Christian graduated Summa Cum Laude from Texas State University with a bachelors in music education and a minor in mathematics thanks to the Terry Foundation Full Ride Scholarship awarded to just 16 out of over 5000 incoming freshmen. Choirs under his direction have earned consistent Superior ratings at UIL, and Reagan Choir has consistently had multiple students earn a spot in the Texas All-State Choirs. In 2017 Reagan placed first in the Texas Madrigal Festival. Christian is frequently invited as a clinician, judge, and guest conductor throughout the state. Christian has conducted and sung with choirs in Peru, South Africa, the UK, Switzerland, and Italy. In 2019 the Reagan Choir program won the Leonardo Da Vinci International Choral Festival in Florence, Italy where they competed against choirs from Spain, Denmark, Bulgaria, the Philippines, Indonesia, Costa Rica, and China. Christian currently resides in San Antonio with his two greatest joys: his wife, Audrey, and seven year old daughter, Rose.

Brian Downen
Tenor Brian Downen has sung over 75 operatic roles worldwide with companies including The Metropolitan Opera, Spoleto Festival USA, Edmonton Opera and others. In 2014, he joined the faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso where he teaches voice, diction and conducts the University Mixed Chorus. He has presented at numerous conferences in the U.S. for Texas Music Educators Association, College Music Society and the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

 Joel Duarte
Mr. Duarte is in his 11th year as a choral director in GPISD. Mr. Duarte has been at GPFAA since its existence (2012) and leads the high school vocal students at the Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy in Grand Prairie, Tx. He graduated from Wayland Baptist University with his Bachelor's in Music Education and recently completed his Master's in Music Education from SMU. Mr. Duarte is a highly sought-after clinician and conductor across the nation. The choirs at GPFAA have been awarded Best in Class, Grand Champions, and Best Adjudicator's Awards across the nation. Mr. Duarte's choir won back-to-back national awards in 2019 and 2020 for the Mark of Excellent for the Foundation of Music Education. Vocal Music's choirs have also been invited to perform at the highly prestigious American Choral Directors Association Conference (2019), Southwestern American Choral Directors Association (2020), and the Texas Music Educators Association Conference (2019). Recently, Mr. Duarte choirs placed 2nd in the nation in the American Choral Prize competition(2021) and GRAMMY Museum Signature School Award Recipient (2021). Mr. Duarte's students are incredibly passionate about thinking out of the box and accepting any challenge that has been present. Mr. Duarte loves his students- Mind, Heart, and Soul!

Beth Duhon
Beth Duhon is, to borrow Tracy King’s phrase, the K-5 “ambassador of joy” at Morgan Elementary in Fulshear, TX. This is her sixth year teaching in Lamar Consolidated ISD. She has received over $16,000 in classroom grants for a keyboard lab, iPads and music manipulatives in addition to regularly receiving travel grants for music conferences. She lives in Katy, TX with her husband and son.


Ryan Forkner
Ryan Forkner is originally from Arlington, TX where he first began singing in choirs as a boy.  After graduating from Arlington High School in 1999, Ryan attended Texas Christian University where he earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree in 2003.  Following his undergraduate degree, Ryan served as a Choral Graduate Assistant at TCU while earning his Masters in Choral Conducting under Professor Ron Shirey. 

After completing his Masters in 2005, Ryan became the choir director at North Mesquite High School in Mesquite, TX where he has taught the past 17 years.  Under Ryan’s leadership the North Mesquite choirs have consistently received Sweepstakes and “Best in Class” ratings at contests and festivals and performed at Southwest ACDA (2018) and TMEA (2020) conventions.  Ryan currently serves TCDA as a High School Vice President.    

Ryan is a member of ACDA, TMEA, TCDA, TMAA, Pi Kappa Lambda, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.  He lives in Nevada, TX with his wife, Christy, and his daughters, Avery, Cara Grace, and Robyn.

Jimmy Garrett
Jimmy Garrett is currently the choir director at William J. Brennan High School, in San Antonio. He was previously the choir director at Robert L. Vale Middle School for the last seven years. Two of those years he also taught at John Folks Middle School. He is a native of San Antonio, he attended Sam Houston high school and later graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a degree in Music Studies. He is super happy to have been chosen to be here and feels very blessed to have a career in choral music. He looks forward to what the future holds for his career!

 Tracy Hall
Tracy Hall is in her sixth year of teaching choral music, currently serving her second year at Bobby Summers Middle School in Royse City, Texas. Mrs. Hall previously served as Choir Director at Ouida Baley Middle School and staff accompanist at Royse City High School in Royse City, Texas. From 2009-2016, she served as staff accompanist at North Forney High School in Forney, Texas, and has been accompanying band students and choirs in the surrounding area for many years. Mrs. Hall attended Hardin-Simmons University and holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from The University of Texas at Arlington. She is a member of TMEA and TCDA.

Greg Haugen
Greg Haugen is in his 23rd year of teaching and has spent his entire career in the Arlington ISD. He is currently the choir director at Lamar HS where he also served as an assistant director before assuming his new role. Before his time at Lamar, Greg was the choir director at Nichols JH for 17 years.

In addition to teaching, Greg is also the youth choir director and contemporary worship leader at First United Methodist Church of Arlington.
Greg, his wife Amy, and their three children live in Arlington.

 Stephen Hawthorne-Hill
Stephen Hawthorne-Hill is a native of Dallas, Texas who is currently in his 7th year of teaching. This year marks his 6th exciting year as Director of Choirs at Timberview Middle School in Keller ISD. Mr. Hawthorne-Hill graduated from the University of North Texas in 2014, where he earned a Bachelor of Music Degree in General, Choral and Instrumental Music. This summer, he also completed a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies degree from the University of Texas-Arlington. Prior to teaching in Keller ISD, Mr. Hawthorne-Hill taught at Collins Middle School and Drane Intermediate in Corsicana ISD. In 2015, he was awarded the Rising Star of Education award presented by the CISD Education Foundation. He currently serves as the TMS Fine Arts Lead, serves on several leadership councils and cadres on campus and was highlighted with the spotlight on teacher’s award in the spring of 2019. He has served as a judge for middle school and high school solo and ensemble contests, UIL contests, served as a guest clinician all around the state, and judged several middle school and high school district, region, and state auditions. He was selected as the Lead Intermediate Choir Director in Keller ISD from 2016-2019 and currently serves as Region 30’s Middle School Vocal Coordinator-Elect. His formal and show choirs consistently receive superior ratings, outstanding performance, best in class, sweepstakes, and best in festival awards at contest and competitions. He has led professional development on the campus and district levels and is an active member of ACDA, TMEA, and TCDA where he served on the hospitality committee in 2018. During the 2020-2021 school year his 5th and 6th grade honor choir was invited and performed as one of only 3 groups in the state of Texas to perform at TMEA. When Mr. Hawthorne-Hill is not directing choirs with his awesome associate director Lilly Bailey at TMS, he can usually be found on a basketball court, traveling, hanging out with friends, playing video games, or doing karaoke.

Adrian Kirtley
Adrian Kirtley is a hill-country native, born and raised in Boerne, TX. He holds his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and now is a frequent choral clinician, adjudicator, and lecturer on innovative choral education practices and in Dallas/Fort Worth, and San Antonio areas.

Adrian has taught at Taft High School in San Antonio, Benbrook Middle-High School in Fort Worth ISD, and now Timber Creek High School in Keller ISD. Since starting at Timber Creek HS in 2015, he has had a total of 46 All-State Choir Members, and averages at 6-7 Sweepstakes Choirs per year at UIL. A super fan of all things choral music, Kirtley and his chamber choir collaborates frequently in recording projects with Carl Fischer, American Baroque Opera, as well as sung with Dallas' Orpheus and Fort Worth Chorale.

Since the Timber Creek HS Chamber's inaugural year, it's been named Grand Champion at the 2019 and 2021 Madrigal Festivals, Honor Choir at the 2020 and 2022 Madrigal Festivals, Commended Winner for the 2019 and 2021 "Mark of Excellence" Foundation, and 2021 National Winner for the "Medal of Distinction" in the Global Initiative for Talented Students.

Olivia Lane
Olivia Lane is currently in her third year as the Associate Choir Director at Trinity Springs Middle School. Olivia received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Texas Christian University in 2019, graduating Magna Cum Laude as a Chancellor’s Scholar of Music. During her time at TCU, Olivia studied under well-known choral conductors, including Dr. Sheri Neill and Dr. Christopher Aspaas. At Trinity Springs, Olivia directs the Sub Non-Varsity Treble Choir, Non-Varsity Treble Choir, and Fusion Show Choir. Choirs under her direction have earned sweepstakes ratings at UIL and Superior Ratings at choral festivals. She is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Choral Directors Association, and the American Choral Directors Association.

Olivia is married to her wonderful husband in Fort Worth, Evan Lane. Her goal as a teacher is for students to recognize their value and worth through the making of beautiful music.

Kristin Likos
Kristin Likos is in her fifteenth year of teaching, and is currently the Head Choir Director at Seven Lakes Junior High in Katy ISD. Choirs under her direction consistently earn sweepstakes awards at UIL and festival competitions. The Seven Lakes JH Varsity Treble Choir performed at the TMEA Convention in 2018. Mrs. Likos is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. She and her husband, Nick, live in Katy with their two children.

Jennifer Logan
Jennifer Logan's career began in performance, vocal directing and teaching vocal technique for 17 years. She is currently instructing 5-6 grade music and choir at Trinity Meadows Intermediate School in Keller ISD and is loving it! She directs approximately 300 choir students in the following ensembles: two competitive show choirs, one non-competitive show choir and two competitive choirs. Last year she had 27 students accepted into the TCDA Elementary Honor Choir and 16 to the SWACDA Honor Choir this year. She also finds joy in performing, directing a faculty show choir, planning choir social events and taking long walks. She is passionate about providing opportunities to her students in order for them to grow in character while becoming great musicians.

 Dr. Eunice Marrero
Dr. Eunice Marrero is currently the Head Choir Director at Wilson Middle School in Plano ISD. She has taught at the elementary, middle and college level in Puerto Rico, Maryland, Florida, and Texas for the past 25 years. Dr. Marrero has a B.A. in Music Education from Berklee College of Music, a M.A. in Music Education from Shenandoah Conservatory and a D.M.A. in Music Education from Boston University.

 Dinah Menger
Dinah Menger currently serves as the Director of Vocal and Elementary Music for the Fort Worth ISD, overseeing 134 music programs. Prior to her appointment in Fort Worth, Dinah was a conductor/lecturer at Baylor University from 2013-2015 and the Choir Director at Arlington High School in Arlington, Texas from 1995-2013. Choirs under her direction performed at the 2005 and 2009 TMEA Conventions and at the 2007 and 2013 national ACDA conventions. Under her direction, the Arlington High Chamber Singers were the winners of the 2010 American Classic Madrigal Festival and were chosen for and performed at the 2013 Kurt Weill National HS Honor Choir Festival at Carnegie Hall.

Advocating and empowering Texas music educators and students is a passion and commitment that has driven her career. Roles in statewide music organizations include the Past President of the Texas Music Educators Association, the Past President of the Texas Music Adjudicators Association, and past chair of the UIL Prescribed Music List Committee. Dinah currently serves on the board of the Texas Music Administrators Conference as President-Elect.  

Dinah is the recipient of the 1998 Aware Foundation Secondary Teacher of the Year, awarded by the Arlington ISD. She is an Honorary Lifetime member of the Parent Teacher Association. Dinah is a frequent UIL judge and Region Clinician. She is a program evaluator and professional development presenter for Enhance the Arts (enhancethearts.us) Dinah is married to Christopher and they have 3 amazing children and 3 brilliant grandchildren. Dinah received her BFA from the University of Arizona and her Masters in Conducting from Texas State University.

 Kelly Moss
Kelly Moss, currently in her fourteenth year to teach, is thrilled to be in her ninth year as director at Lake Highlands Junior High School. She received a Bachelor's in Music Education from Sam Houston State University in 2008. During her time at Sam Houston, she was tremendously inspired by her director Dr. Allen Hightower and attributes to him a great deal of her passion towards teaching. After Ms. Moss graduated, she taught in Wylie for five years where she led a successful program that grew in numbers and integrity while earning a few Sweepstakes awards along the way.

Ms. Moss was selected as the Exchange Club of Lake Highlands Teacher of the Year in 2017 and 2020. She was also extremely honored to be named a STAR teacher for RISD during the 2020-2021 school year. Ms. Moss currently serves as the MS/JH Coordinator-Elect for Region 20 Music and is an active member in TMEA and TCDA.

When she is not teaching, Ms. Moss loves reading and re-reading books (especially Harry Potter), leading worship at her church, watching episodes of The Office, and spending time with her wonderfully supportive friends and family.

 Cody Parrott
Cody S. Parrott is a native Texan and a product of an extensive line of fine Texas Music Educators. He is excited to be joining the Butler School of Music Choral Department as a First Year Doctoral Student in Choral Conducting after nearly 15 years of secondary teaching. Choirs under his directions have consistently received top awards at UIL Concert & Sight-Reading as well as the AMC Madrigal & Chamber Choir and Celebration of Excellence competitions. Mr. Parrott holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music with concentrations in Vocal Music and Music Education from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, TX. He has been a presenter with the Texas Choral Directors Association as well as a past Section Leader for the TMEA All-State Tenor/Bass Choir. Cody is an active participant, clinician, and adjudicator in state-wide UIL, TMEA, and TAPPS contests, and holds professional memberships with TMEA, TMAA, TCDA, the American Guild of Organists, and the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Nathan Ratliff
Mr. Nathan Ratliff is the Associate Director of Choral Activities joining the Hebron High School faculty in January of 2014. He received a Bachelor of Music degree in both Percussion and Piano Performance from the University of Oklahoma and later obtained a Master of Music in Percussion Performance from the University of North Texas. Upon completing his degrees, he taught private percussion lessons in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, along with teaching and arranging for several high school band front ensembles. Many students and families in LISD are familiar with Mr. Ratliff, as he has been an accompanist in high demand for many years performing with local middle school and high school choirs.

In 2013, he served as the accompanist for the Texas All-State Men’s Choir. Mr. Ratliff also has performed as a recital accompanist at the University of North Texas, Texas Christian University, and Texas A&M University-Commerce. He served as the accompanist for CREDO, Dallas’ Ecumenical Mixed Choir for 2 years. When not surrounding himself with music, Mr. Ratliff enjoys running anything from a 5k to full marathons. All 3 of his dogs are also runners.

Mr. Ratliff maintains memberships in the Texas Music Educators Association and the Texas Choral Directors Association.

Dr. Emily Saenz
Dr. Emily Saenz is delighted to head the choir program at Benbrook Middle High School. Winner of the 2021 "Friedman Chair of Excellence in Teaching" award, Dr. Saenz has led the BMHS choir's to win UIL sweepstakes each year. In addition to her work at Benbrook, Emily spearheads FWISD’s educational partnership with the NY Metropolitan Opera, via the “MET Live in HD Education Program" and writes curriculum for the Met's Educational programming which is used in schools around the world. Emily holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Oklahoma, a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Louisville, and a Doctorate of Music Arts degree in Voice from The University of Texas at Austin. In addition to her work as a teacher and conductor, Emily performs both operatic and concert repertoire throughout the DFW metroplex. She lives in Ft. Worth with her husband Carlos and children.

 Amy Boltz Triggs
Amy Boltz Triggs is in her 12th year as head choir director at Ellison High School in Killeen ISD. She has her Bachelor of Music from Texas Tech University, where she studied choral methods and conducting with Dr. Ken Davis. Her teaching experience includes three years as the associate choir director at Killeen High School (1995-1998) and two years as the head choir director at Lake Highlands Junior High in Richardson (1998-2000). She has served as TMEA Vocal Division Chair for Region 8 since 2017. Amy lives in Killeen with her husband, Bryon.

 Jess Walls
Mrs. Jess Walls is a middle school choir director and elementary music teacher at UME preparatory school in Dallas, and a Master of Music Education student at Texas Woman’s University. She has taught music in Texas public schools for the past 11 years, both as an elementary music teacher and a middle school choral director. Mrs. Walls received her BA in Music Education from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Cheryl Wilson Janasak
Cheryl Wilson Janasak  spent her 37 years of teaching at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. She spent her last 24 years of teaching at Garland High School and retired after 18 years as the Director of Choirs. During her tenure, the Acappella Choir and the Acappella Women were named a TMEA Invited Choir on four occasions along with her Acappella Choir from Lyles Middle School, also in the Garland Independent School District. In July of 2015, the Texas Choral Directors Association presented Ms. Janasak with the Texas Choral Excellence Award. This award recognizes her contributions to music education, mentorship, inspiration to colleagues and students, and advocacy for the future of choral singing. Ms. Janasak is a choral consultant, frequent clinician and adjudicator with professional affiliations including TMEA, TCDA, ACDA, and TMAA. She presently serves as the Texas Music Adjudicators’ Association (TMAA) Vocal Vice President. Ms. Janasak lives in McKinney with her husband and their very sassy Yorkie, Fizzy.