President & CEO
Ernest Stackhouse is a native of Georgetown, South Carolina and a proud graduate of South Carolina State University where he studied under Ronald Sarjeant and Dr. Barbara Vaughn. He then matriculated to The Graduate School at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he studied under Dr. Patricia Sink and Dr. David Teachout. He is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Professional Music Fraternity, and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. Mr. Stackhouse has 18 years of teaching experience and has served as Band Director, Music Teacher, and Mentor to thousands of students ranging from grades K – 12. He takes pride in being able to reach students at any level of learning; beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Mr. Stackhouse has directed ensembles ranging from 16-piece Jazz Ensembles, advanced Wind Ensembles, to 150-member Marching Bands all of which received multiple superior ratings at competitions and festivals in South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida. He is most proud of his students who have earned scholarships to various colleges and universities across the country totaling over eight million dollars.
Mr. Stackhouse has been recognized by numerous school boards. He has received awards for achievement in his profession, including being recognized as Teacher of the Year three times throughout his career. His skills, abilities, dedication, and passion for the band and all forms of music education earned him the distinguished position of Fine Arts Director of Twiggs County Public Schools in Jeffersonville, Georgia. He is currently working as a well respected Music Educator for the Houston Independent School District in Houston, Texas. Mr. Stackhouse currently holds teaching credentials in South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas. He is happily married to his wife, Jennifer, of 16 years and they have three beautiful children; EJ, Raegan, and Kaydence.
Johnnie Smith Jr.is a native of Columbia, South Carolina. He began his musical career at the age of six while performing on the trombone at his family’s home church, The United House of Prayer for all People. His love for music grew throughout his grade school years, which motivated him to pursue and obtain a B.A. in Music Education from Claflin University. Following his matriculation through Claflin University, Johnnie spent eight years teaching band on the middle and high school level. During his time as director of bands, Johnnie positively impacted the lives of not only the students in his class, but he also instilled an appreciation of music and the arts into the student body of the schools that he taught. His students have been recognized regionally and on the state level for their excellence in musicianship.
Johnnie now serves as an assistant principal in Orangeburg County School District. Although he is no longer in the classroom, Johnnie seeks out opportunities to instill the love of music into students, as well as help young musicians perfect their craft. Johnnie continues to utilize his talents as a guest conductor, clinician, and brass specialist for the local band programs.
Treasurer & CFO
Aza Gates is the Founder and Chief Financial Officer of the Advocates for Music and Music Education Association (AMMEA). Her intentions with AMMEA include bridging gaps between poor secondary schools and collegiate level music programs, providing resources for collegiate level music majors in South Carolina, and bringing solutions to the hidden curriculum in South Carolina music classes. Aza is a graduate of South Carolina State University (B.A. Music Education), and currently working on her Masters in Music Education at Kent State University. Although an Atlanta native, her passion is to impact the music programs in South Carolina. Her teaching career began at Allendale County Schools where she was responsible for increasing band participation from 9 to 75 students over a four-year span. Throughout her time in Allendale County, she created a musical culture that was noticed throughout the marching band community. She also represented her school as Teacher of the Year during her tenure there.
Aza is currently an employee of Orangeburg Consolidated Schools and serves 115 students on a daily basis. Her routine includes giving private lessons on the weekends to the community of Orangeburg, SC. Throughout her 7.5 years of teaching, her students’ participation in SCBDA Region Band increased, her former students received thousands of dollars for band scholarships, and her knowledge of the needs of students in poverty-stricken areas was strengthened. She is a member of Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority Incorporated, Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, and Golden Key International Honour Society.
Amanda “Mandy” Greene holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Claflin University (2012). She made history in May 2018 as she became the first female to earn a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting from Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music. Prior to graduate school, Mandy taught middle school band and music appreciation for four years in Darlington, South Carolina and assisted with the Darlington High School Marching Band. She also served as the Band Director for Darlington County School District’s summer arts gifted and talented program for five years, teaching students in both band and strings ranging from 6th through 12th grade.
While in graduate school, she served on campus as a graduate assistant to Dr. Douglas Hill, the director of the Mercer University Wind Ensemble and of undergraduate studies while simultaneously serving as an assistant band director at Mount De Sales Academy, a private, Catholic school in Macon, Georgia. Postgraduate school, she is in her second year at Fairfield Middle School as the band director and Fairfield Central High School as the Assistant Marching Band Director. Many of her former students have auditioned and participated in various band clinics and are now considering the music field as they prepare for college. She continues to give back to her home district as well as several surrounding districts in South Carolina through various band clinics and practice sessions.
Tyrone McCollum is an upcoming Entertainment Business Mogul from the Washington, DC area, and a product of the Prince George’s County Visual and Performing Arts Music Program at Suitland High School. During his years at Suitland High School, He studied Music Theory and Saxophone. He also performed in the High School’s Jazz/Combo Band, Concert Band, Go-Go/Pep Band, and Saxophone Choirs. During this time, He also attended DJ Promotional Parties/Recording Label Events where he met several Recording Artists and performed with local bands. These events influenced Tyrone to attend South Carolina State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music Industry and performed in the University Bands. He also served the University Band’s as a members of South Carolina State University Zeta Eta Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity. Thereafter, Tyrone attended Full Sail University earning a Masters of Science Degree in Entertainment Business and started the Working Media Firm that promotes the positive achievements of High School, and College & University Bands known as Eight-To-Five Entertainment.
Tyrone is currently working as a Film Director, Cinematographer, Videographer, Editor, Arranger, Music Producer, Film Composer, Media Relations Specialist, and Music Business Consultant for organizations such as AMMEA, Eight-To-Five Entertainment, Horror-ble Society Studios, Legendary Crown Productions, A Pair of Kingz Films, and Imperial Force Music Group (a division of Imperial Force, LLC).
Davaron Edwards is a former Educator of the Public School systems in Pennsylvania and Maryland. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Hampton University in Hampton, VA. He then went on to earn a Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC.
Davaron is a member and frequent guest conductor of the Savannah Wind Symphony where he also serves on the Board of Directors. Professional affiliations include: the National Association for Music Education, South Carolina Music Educator’s Association, South Carolina Band Director’s Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Fraternity of America, Inc.
Davaron is currently the Director of Bands at Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School in Ridgeland, SC where he has taught for the past 5 years.