Staff Bios

CLIFTON THURMOND, DIRECTOR OF BANDS

Clifton D. Thurmond has been teaching in the Lee’s Summit R7 School District since the beginning of his career in 1999.  Before Lee’s Summit West opened, Mr. Thurmond spent the first five years of his career as the Associate Director of Bands at Lee’s Summit High School.  Mr. Thurmond also teaches 5th and 6th grade band at Summit Pointe Elementary and Cedar Creek Elementary.  In addition to his teaching job, he is also the Worship Leader at Deerbrook Covenant Church in Lee’s Summit.

Mr. Thurmond earned a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1998 and completed his Master of Arts at the University of Missouri, Kansas City in 2007. Mr. Thurmond is a tuba player but was wise enough to marry a better one. He and his wife, Angie, live in Lee’s Summit with their two children, Emory and Miles.

BRANDON JOHNSON, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF BANDS

Brandon Johnson is a band director and percussion specialist for Lee’s Summit West High School. He works with the Titan Pride Drumline and directs both the Lee’s Summit West Percussion Ensemble and The Symphonic Band. Before his career in Lee’s Summit, Mr. Johnson spent 12 years in the Independence School District at Truman High School, where he had very similar responsibilities. While in Kansas City, he has been an active teacher, percussion writer/arranger, adjudicator, and performer.

Mr. Johnson has served as the KC Metro Middle School Vice President, percussion coordinator for MCCGA, Board member for NorthWinds Symphonic Band, and he is a founding member of The Kansas City Chiefs Rumble Drumline. Brandon is married to Rachel Johnson, a 6th grade teacher at Hawthorn Hill Elementary.

SHAWN HARREL, TITAN JAZZ/MARCHING BAND ASSISTANT

Mr. Harrel has a B.S. in Music Education from Missouri State University (formerly Southwest Missouri State) and a Master of Arts in Jazz Studies, with an emphasis in arranging and composition, from the University of North Texas.

While at UNT, Mr. Harrel was a teaching fellow for several professors in the jazz studies department including Dan Haerle and Mike Steinel, two leading authors and educators in jazz. After Dan Haerle’s partial retirement in 2002, Mr. Harrel directed The Zebras, a jazz keyboard ensemble formed by Mr. Haerle in 1980.

As an arranger, Mr. Harrel writes regularly for high school bands and jazz bands. He recently composed the title track for an album released by Alex Caselman, former LS West student.

Mr. Harrel teaches jazz band, assists with marching band and is an instructor in Digital Media Technology at Summit Technology Academy.

STEPHANIE HILL, DIRECTOR OF ORCHESTRAS

Stephanie Hill is the Director of Orchestras at Lee’s Summit West High School in the Lee’s Summit School District Kansas City, Missouri. Prior to coming to Lee’s Summit West, she taught in the Park Hill School District for 16 years as the Director of Orchestras at Park Hill High School and Congress Middle School. She also previously taught in the Independence School District at Truman High School and associated middle schools. She has served as the Orchestra VicePresident of the Missouri Music Educators Association, Secretary/Treasurer for the Missouri Chapter of the American String Teachers Association, and the Orchestra Vice-President of the Kansas City Metro District No. 3. Mrs. Hill graduated from William Jewell College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and Violin Performance and holds a Master’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music. She is a freelance violinist and private violin instructor in the Kansas City Metro Area and serves as Co-Concert Master for the Liberty Symphony Orchestra. Her husband, Joseph Hill, is the Director of Bands at Raytown High School and they have two teenaged children who are both involved in music in the North Kansas City School District.

JACOB LOWRY, DIRECTOR OF CHORAL ACTIVITIES

Jacob Lowry is currently in his fifth year teaching at Lee’s Summit West High School and his 8th year of directing choirs. Outside of the Lee’s Summit West Choral Program, he is the director of Music at First Presbyterian Church in Lee’s Summit, serves as the head chaperone for the Missouri Music Educators Association’s All-State Choir, and spent four seasons singing with Kantorei of Kansas City.  He is currently an active member of ACDA and MCDA.

Recently, Mr. Lowry co-directed the Lee’s Summit West Chamber Choir at the ACDA National Convention to present a live demonstration of Dr. Archibeque’s session, “Reposition Your Choir, Refine Your Sound!” based on the DVD by GIA Publications “How to Make a Good Choir Sound Great”. in 2018, he had the pleasure of conducting the Kansas City Metro Middle School Honor Choir. His previous positions include Director of Music at Country Club United Methodist Church, Director of Choirs at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School (6-8) in Lawrence, KS and Assistant Choral Director at Lee’s Summit High School (9-12). 

Mr. Lowry received his Bachelor of Music Education and Masters of Music in Choral Conducting at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX under the tutelage of Dr. Allen Hightower and Dr. James Franklin. Jacob and his wife, Dr. Laura Lowry, live in Lee’s Summit and share a love for music and teaching.

KATIE FISCHER, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF CHORAL ACTIVITIES

Katie Fischer is a Choir Director at Lee’s Summit West High School. Katie holds an undergraduate degree in Vocal Music Education from the University of Central Missouri, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. She is also a graduate of LSW and is the first alumni to serve as a director in the music department. Katie has served as the assistant conductor of the UCM Women’s Choir as well as the Children’s Choir Director at Woods Chapel Methodist Church. Katie is an active member of both ACDA and NAfME.

Katie is married to Grant Fischer, a Band Director at Odessa High School. They recently added a member to their family, Panda, a rescued border collie mix who they love dearly.

AMY KRINKE, K-12 MUSIC CURRICULUM SPECIALIST/CHOIR DIRECTOR

Amy Krinke is currently in her eleventh year at Lee’s Summit West High School and in her 20th year as a choral director.  Amy is currently serving as the newly appointed LSR-7 District Music Curriculum Specialist and Music Department Chair as well as co-directing choirs at LSW.  In 2015-2016 Amy was selected as Lee’s Summit R-7 Teacher of the Year, and was named one of six finalists in the Missouri Teacher of the Year program. Ensembles under Mrs. Krinke’s leadership have performed for the Missouri Music Educators Association Annual Conference in 2018, 2016, 2012, and 2007. In 2013, Lee’s Summit West Chamber Choir, Una Voce, was featured on a choral pedagogy DVD by GIA Publications “How to Make a Good Choir Sound Great” featuring the research of Dr. Charlene Archibeque. Most recently, Mrs. Krinke co-directed the Lee’s Summit West Chamber Choir at the ACDA National Convention to present a live demonstration of Dr. Archibeque’s research.  

The Lee’s Summit West choral program under Mrs. Krinke’s leadership has earned a reputation for performing diverse choral repertoire at the highest standard of excellence.   Currently, the 400 students involved the school’s comprehensive choral program represent students in every subculture of our community. Krinke has led LSW choirs in premier performance venues locally and nationally, including: Chicago’s Symphony Hall, Avery Fisher Hall (New York City), St. Matthew the Apostle (Washington D.C.), and Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (Kansas City), and on a masterclass with multiple Grammy Award winning ensemble Chanticleer.   Mrs. Krinke has chaperoned students on three separate summer tours of Europe through Voyageurs International Ambassadors of Music Program. The Lee’s Summit West Choral Department’s spirit of service has resulted in relationships with local charity organizations, such as Pro Deo, “Make a Ripple, Change the World” – Jewish Community Center, DAV (Disabled American Veterans), and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church.

Mrs. Krinke has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards including:  “Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Teaching Award”, “Bud Hertzog Leadership Award”, “Cathy Paulson Heart to Heart Award”, “Lee’s Summit West Teacher of the Month Award”,  “Blue Springs School District Teacher of the Month Award.” Formerly, Mrs. Krinke taught in the Blue Springs School District (9-12), Independence School District (9-12), and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe (K-8).  Over the years, Mrs. Krinke has held numerous leadership roles in the Missouri Choral Directors Association and Missouri Music Educators Association. Leadership roles include: MMEA Vice-President/Choral, MCDA Kansas City District Representative, MCDA High School Resource and Standards Chair, KC District #3 All-District Choir Audition Coordinator, KC District #3 All-State Choir Coordinator, and MCDA New Teacher Mentor Program, Advisor.  She has been a featured presenter of interest sessions at state conferences: “Slaying the Data Dragon” KCDA, “Sight-Singing Super Stars in Six Minutes” MCDA. Mrs. Krinke sang seven seasons with Kantorei of Kansas City including involvement in the UK-based label Resonus Classics recording projects:  “Choral Music of Matthew Harris” – 2013, and “To Bethlehem” – 2016  This spring, Mrs. Krinke will be a featured in a women’s trio with the Lee’s Summit Symphony Orchestra.  As a church musician, she has served in various capacities at Blue Ridge United Methodist Church and Unity Temple on the Plaza.  Mrs. Krinke formerly directed the Young MAIsterSingers, through Music Arts Institute and prepared the ensemble for annual performances with the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra.  Mrs. Krinke graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wichita State University (Bachelor of Music Education), and UMKC Conservatory of Music (Master of Music Education).

LI-HSIN CHEN, STAFF ACCOMPANIST

Dr. Li-Hsin Chen joined Lee’s Summit West High School as the staff accompanist in 2016. He maintains an active performing career as a soloist, collaborative pianist, and chamber musician throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. As an enthusiastic collaborative and chamber musician, he enjoys performing both vocal and instrumental works. His accomplishments as a soloist include performing with several orchestras around the globe and winning awards and recognition in competitions.

 During his studies, Dr. Chen was invited to participate in many music festivals and master classes, working with renowned musicians, such as Alfred Brendel, András Schiff, Leon Fleisher, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and Jonathan Biss. Dr. Chen completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance under Dr. Jane Solose in the summer of 2017 at UMKC, and he is currently completing a Master of Music degree in musicology under Dr. William Everett.

He holds a Concert Soloist degree from the Nürnberg Conservatory of Music, a Master of Music degree with Distinctions from the Karlsruhe Conservatory of Music in Germany, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Taipei National University of the Arts in Taiwan.

RETIRED STAFF

TERRIN PABST, STAFF ACCOMPANIST (Retired from LSW in 2016)

After graduating from Lebanon High School in 1978, Terrin (Gilpin) Pabst spent three years at Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, MO, then transferred to the University of Missouri-Columbia. There she completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocal Music Education, K-12, with piano concentration. Her first position was with the Ft. Zumwalt School District teaching vocal music at St. Peters Elementary School.

She then moved to Independence, MO and taught vocal music at Spring Branch Elementary and Luff Elementary. Her last year there, she married her husband, Damon Pabst. They went into the ministry for the next thirteen years, eventually moving to Texas for eight of those. They have two sons, Josiah and Gage, both of whom attended LSW High School and participated in its instrumental music program.

Upon returning to the Kansas City area, Mrs. Pabst accepted the staff accompanist position in 2004. She continues giving private piano lessons and thoroughly enjoys her work at West with both the students as well as the music staff.

KIRT MOSIER, ORCHESTRA DIRECTOR
Kirt N. Mosier is a veteran educator who has been with the LSR7 School District since 1995. In addition to his duties at Lee’s Summit West, Mr. Mosier created the Digital Media Technology Center of Excellence for the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District. Students from multiple school districts enroll at Summit Tech to learn how to produce music and video for today’s media market.

Mr. Mosier holds a BME degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, as well as a Masters of Music in composition from the same institution.

Mr. Mosier is an internationally active clinician and adjudicator. Mr. Mosier is also a composer and has had works featured at countless venues around the globe.

Mr. Mosier lives in Lee’s Summit with his wife and four children.