STAFF

Directors

Eleni Miller

Eleni Miller is in her fifth year of teaching and serves as the Director of Bands and Director of Orchestra at John Overton High School. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, holding a Bachelor of Musical Arts and Master of Education. While at Vanderbilt, Ms. Miller studied French horn with Principal Horn of the Nashville Symphony, Leslie Norton, and was coached by Gilbert Long, Allan Cox, Jared Hauser and Jeremy Wilson. She toured with the Vanderbilt Orchestra and her woodwind quintet, allowing her to study with members of the Berlin Philharmonic and Lyon Opera House Orchestra. She was also a member of the Spirit of Gold Marching Band, Blair Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, Nashville Collegiate Brass Quintet, and Tau Beta Sigma music service sorority. While getting her master’s, she served as the graduate assistant for the Vanderbilt Marching Band. This will be Ms. Miller’s fifth year teaching in Metro Nashville Public Schools. Since beginning her career as an educator she has shared in many successes with her students, including superior performances for both band and orchestra at concert performance assessment, as well as the Award of Distinction in Concert Performance with the wind ensemble in 2018. Ms. Miller has also been named a CMA Music Teacher of Excellence. She is an active member of MTSBOA, TBA, TMEA, and NAfME. Ms. Miller is a Nashville native, as well as an alumna of John Overton High School. She finds joy in culminating the love and joy of music in her students, and hopes to provide many meaningful musical opportunities that will create life long lovers and advocators of music.  

Contact Ms. Miller: Eleni.Miller@mnps.org

 

Nathan Barna

Nathan Barna is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, receiving his Bachelor of Music while studying trumpet under James Ackley and Allen Vizzutti. He is currently in his first year as the Assistant Director of Bands and Director of Jazz at John Overton High School in Nashville, TN. Prior to moving to Nashville, Nathan was the Director of Bands at Blythewood Middle School in Blythewood, SC. In his one year there, he received straight superior ratings at Concert Performance Assessment with his concert program and created a jazz program. He also acted as the assistant band director at Blythewood High School where he had spent two years prior on staff with the marching band. While working with the Blythewood High School marching band, the band participated in the 2016 BOA Super Regional in Indianapolis and received a placement of 2nd at the SCBDA 4A State Championships, the band’s highest placement. Nathan is an avid runner and has run multiple marathons including The Great Wall of China Marathon in Beijing in 2015. Nathan has also been on staff with the Music City Drum Corps for 6 years.

Contact Mr. Barna: Nathan.Barna@mnps.org

Support Staff

David Watkins, Percussion

David Watkins completed his Master of Music in Performance from Miami University (OH), where he was the Graduate Assistant in Percussion and Athletic Bands under Dr. Bill Albin and Dr. Stephen Lytle. At Miami, he served as the drumline instructor and composer/arranger, as well as co-director of the Miami Pep Band. His master’s thesis is entitled The Snare Drum: An Analysis of Performance Applications and A Comparison of Teaching Approaches. He also holds a Bachelor's degree in Music Education from Eastern Kentucky University, where he studied intensely under Dr. Jason Koontz. During his time at EKU, he was trained in classical music, and specialized in African, Indian, Brazilian, and Caribbean Music. He also served as the drumline section leader, instructor and composer/arranger.

David has performed with many professional and collegiate ensembles, including competing in the 2016 Panorama competition in Trinidad with the Silverstars Steel Orchestra. At EKU and Miami, he participated in percussion ensembles, steel bands, wind bands, orchestras, and marching bands. In 2008, he marched snare drum for Tates Creek Indoor Ensemble in WGI finals. He has also had multiple performances with Global Rhythms and the PANorama Caribbean Music Festival in Virginia Beach, VA, and has collaborated with artists such as Andy Narell, Ellie Mannette, Liam Teague, Jeff Queen, Srinivas Krishnan, Dave Longfellow, Tom Miller, and Ray Holman.

Currently, he is the Director of Percussion Studies at John Overton High School, where he teaches many music classes, including guitar, world percussion, and classical percussion ensembles. He is also the Percussion Caption Head for the Vanderbilt University Spirit of Gold Marching Band, where he serves as the percussion director, as well as composer/arranger. He proudly endorses Innovative Percussion sticks and mallets.

 

Heather Arnett, Color Guard

Heather Arnett found her love for color guard 25 years ago right here with the Awesome John Overton High School Marching Band. She marched four years of color guard both in the fall and winter programs. During her time at Overton she was a Tennessee State Champion at COC, making finals all four years, and she had the honor of winning two gold medals at Winter Guard International. After high school she went on to march two years of independent world class guard with the Chimeras Winter guard. While she studied music performance on viola at MTSU she also marched with the Band of Blue for two years. After a ten year stay in Portland, OR she returned to Nashville and has been working with the color guard here at Overton for the past 6 years. As a performer she really appreciates the qualities of hard work, discipline, determination, and artistic expression that this art has instilled in her. Nothing makes her happier then to see the kids she teaches enjoying the same amazing experience that Marching band and Winter guard gave to her for so many years!

Jeff Scales, Color Guard

Jeff Scales is a native of Nashville Tennessee. He graduated from Page High School in Franklin, TN playing baritone his freshman year, trumpet his sophomore through junior year, and was drum major his senior year. He performed as a color guard member with the MTSU Band of Blue for two years and marched with the Chimeras world class Winter guard for four years. His teaching experience includes Page High School color guard in Franklin, TN for four years, Riverdale High school color guard for three years in Murfreesboro, TN, E93 Winter Winds at Stewart's Creek High School in Smyrna, TN for two years, and the Father Ryan color guard in Nashville, TN for one year. He is returning for his fourth year with the AWESOME John Overton High School Color Guard! He is looking forward to continuing working with the AWESOME staff, students, and parents of the John Overton High School Marching Band.

 

Chris Cloar, Visual and Music Tech

Chris Cloar has been an instructor for the John Overton marching band since 2014. He received his B.S. and M.Ed from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development. He has been of a member of the Vanderbilt Wind Symphony, Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps, and Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps with performance experience on the Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, and Mellophone. Outside of instructing the Overton band, Chris works in development at Vanderbilt University. 

Feeder School Directors

Susan Waters, Oliver Middle School

Mrs. Susan G. Waters is currently the Director Bands at Oliver Middle School and is in her 26th year of teaching. A native of Nashville and a product of the Metro Nashville Public School system, she received her Bachelors of Music from Middle Tennessee State University and her Masters from Western Kentucky University. The Oliver Band Program, which represents 42% of the school, prides itself on superior performances, cultural diversity and community outreach.  In addition to her full-time teaching responsibilities, Mrs. Waters frequently serves as a guest conductor/clinician and professional development coach for local, regional, state, and national conferences.

 

Katie Harrah, Oliver Middle School

Mrs. Katie Harrah is completing her 7th year as the Assistant Band Director at Oliver Middle School. She holds a Bachelors degree in Music Education from Otterbein College (Columbus, Ohio) and a Masters in Trumpet Performance and Brass Pedagogy from Belmont University (Nashville).

 

She has taught at both the high school and middle school levels directing marching band, jazz band, and concert band. At Oliver, Mrs. Harrah co-teaches the Beginning, Intermediate, and Symphonic Bands, as well as the Wind Ensemble.While at Belmont, Miss Harrah was a member of the Faculty Brass Quintet and the University Orchestra. Orchestra performances included

 

Christmas at Belmont which was filmed at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center and televised on PBS. She completed two solo recitals at Belmont and was chosen by audition to perform the Pakhmutova Trumpet Concerto as a soloist with the orchestra. Mrs. Harrah currently performs with the Tennessee Valley Winds and the Nashville Wind Ensemble. She is a member of MTSBOA, TMEA, NAfME, and Phi Beta Mu, and is a two time recipient of the National Band Association Citation of Excellence.

 

Kevin Jankowski, Oliver Middle School

Mr. Kevin Jankowski is entering his third year as the Assistant Band Director and Director of Percussion at Oliver Middle School.  He was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee where he attended Father Ryan High School (2002 - 2006).  After high school, Mr. Jankowski went on to receive his degree from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville where he was an undergraduate instructor for the University of Tennessee Pride of the Southland marching band for two years (2009 - 2010).  During this time, Mr. Jankowski marched Drum Corp with The Academy from Tempe, Arizona (2008) and The Cavaliers from Rosemont, Illinois (2009).  Mr. Jankowski marched indoor percussion with Chattanooga Independent (2007) and Father Ryan Independent (WGI PIO Silver Medal 2009).  

 

Before arriving at Oliver, Mr. Jankowski directed the percussion program at Powell High School in Knoxville, TN while working on his degree (2007 - 2010).  After graduating, Mr. Jankowski was the  head band director at Springfield High School (2012 - 2014).  Mr. Jankowski's teaching experience includes being the snare tech at Chattanooga Independent were they received the Silver Medal in PIA class at WGI World Championships (2012) and Father Ryan High School where he helped the group place 7th and 3rd in PSW class at WGI World Championships (2012 & 2013).  

 

Mr. Jankowski, wife Heather, and their French bulldog dog "Daisy" love being part of the Oliver Middle School Family.  

 

Kevin is an active member of the Percussion Arts Society and he is sponsored by Innovative Percussion.

 

Heather Roland, Croft Middle Design Center

Heather Roland is the band director at Croft Middle Design Center. A native of Nashville and a product of the Metro Nashville Public School system, Ms. Roland is an alumna of John Overton High School. She received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Columbus State University and her Masters in Education from Auburn University. Ms. Roland began her teaching career 10 years ago teaching in Columbus, Ga before returning to MNPS in 2013. Since beginning her career as an educator she has shared in many successes with her students, including performances at concert performance assessment, MTSBOA Solo and Ensemble Festival, performing and traveling with student groups, and receiving the Mr. Holland’s Opus grant. Ms. Roland’s primary instrument is French Horn. She has taught private horn lessons and has MNPS Middle School band camp staff as the horn masterclass teacher. Ms. Roland has performed locally with the East End UMC Orchestra and Tennessee Valley Winds. Ms. Roland’s goal is to encourage students to be lifelong lovers of music and support all students to reach their musical potential. Ms. Roland delights in seeing MNPS students enjoying and achieving in Nashville’s great music programs.

Marianne Wheeler, McMurray Middle School

McMurray Middle Prep Band Program is under the direction of Mrs. Marianne Wheeler.  She received her Bachelors of Music Education from the University of Memphis and her Masters of Music at Michigan State University.  Mrs. Wheeler has been teaching band for over 30 years.  She taught for 16 years at Hernando Middle School in Hernando, Mississippi.  She also taught in West Tennessee at Brownsville Jr. High School is Haywood County for 2 years and at Newbern Middle School in Dyer County for 3 years before coming to Nashville.  Mrs. Wheeler has been teaching at McMurray Middle Prep for over 10 years.  She is a woodwind specialist with her major instruments including saxophone, flute, and clarinet.  

 

The band students at McMurray Middle Prep have participated in JOHS 8th grade Band Night, MNPS Middle School Honor Band, MTSBOA Solo and Ensemble Festival, and MNPS Summer Band Camp.  Students may take group lessons after school with Mrs. Elaine Braun on brass or Mr. Matt Rhea on woodwinds.  Students travel each year to hear the Nashville Symphony perform at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center and to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.  The bands perform two to three concerts a year in the winter and in the spring.  The 7th and 8th grade band also performs at school pep rallies, for the 4th grade orientation tour at McMurray as well as performing at Haywood Elementary for 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders in May of each year.