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NHS names new band director

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By John R. Schirmer

News-Leader staff

The Nashville High School band soon will have a new director who will come to Nashville from the University of Central Arkansas Department of Music.

In a special meeting Thursday, May 27, the Nashville School Board named Cody A. Ford of Conway as NHS band director effective in July.

Ford has served as conductor of the UCA Chamber Winds since 2018.

He is also a UCA band librarian and Dixie Band Camp worker. He has experience with the purchase of mechanical and synch licensing through ViaMedia Professional Recordings, LLC.

Ford gives private instruction on the tuba, trombone and euphonium. He has taught undergraduate music history and music literature at UCA, along with assisting beginning and advanced conducting classes.

Ford received a bachelor of arts in instrumental music performance from Louisiana Tech University. He received a bachelor of music in music education, instrumental track, from UCA and a master of music in instrumental conducting from UCA.

While at Louisiana Tech, he served as drum major for two years with the marching band.

Ford is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi national honorary band fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and the College Music Society.

Ford will succeed Daniel Dunn, who will become band director at De Queen July 1.

The school board also hired Clarissa Brizo as high school Spanish teacher. She will succeed Regina Westfall, who has accepted a teaching position at Maumelle.

Brizo, a Nashville graduate, has been an ESL paraprofessional, NHS Principal Tate gordon said. The selection committee “is excited about having Clarissa on staff as a classroom teacher,” Gordon said.

The board accepted the resignation of dyslexia interventionist Viri Gallardo. She has been accepted into the MAT program at Southern Arkansas University. Gallardo has spent more three years with the school district, starting as an ESL paraprofessional and becoming a full-time dyslexia interventionist.

The board approved the use of federal ESSER funds to increase pay for after-school tutoring and summer school teachers to $50 per hour from the current $35 per hour.

The raise took effect with night classes last week and will continue through July 31, 2022, Graham said. 

Board members also voted to use district operating funds to pay teachers in the summer ACT school $50 per hour June 1-11.

“ACT school is one of our best programs,” Graham said. “We average an increase of eight points per student” on the college entrance exam.

The increase will cover ACT schools this summer and in 2022.

Board members Jerry Wilson, David Hilliard and Tem Gunter voted for the hourly pay increases for ACT school and for after-school tutoring and summer school. Members Jamar Finley and Nick Britt were absent.

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