Director of Bands
Jerry Whorton was announced as the Director of Bands for Melissa Independent School District in March of 2016. He serves as the director of the Mighty Cardinal Marching Band and the Wind Ensemble.
Mr. Whorton was previously the Director of Fine Arts and Bands at Winona Independent School District in Winona, Texas. He comes from a family of educators, of which both of his parents are retired band directors in addition to his three siblings who are currently a middle school principal, middle school band director, and an early education teacher.
Having only ever earned 1st divisions at UIL competition, Mr. Whorton’s bands have received 8 consecutive years of UIL Sweepstakes awards. Under his direction, his programs have routinely increased in size as well as musicianship. Jerry's students have consistently earned chairs in the all-region band, received first divisions at Region Solo & Ensemble competition, as well as advancing to Texas State Solo & Ensemble competition. His concert bands have won the TMEA Region and Area Honorband competitions as well as placing twice as a State Finalist in the TMEA State Honorband competition. In 2013 Mr. Whorton’s band placed 2nd in the ATSSB Outstanding Performance Series concert selection with their recording of “Summer Dances”.
Mr. Whorton is a 2006 graduate of Northwestern State University where he earned his Bachelors of Music Education. While at Northwestern, Mr. Whorton studied under William E. Brent, Dr. Kevin Richardson, Dr. Caroline Beatty, and Dr. J. Mark Thompson. While receiving his degree, he was the Head Drum Major for the 300-member "Spirit of Northwestern", tenor trombonist of the wind ensemble and the principal bass trombonist of the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra.
Jerry and his wife, Alexandria, look forward to joining the Melissa Cardinal family in the early summer of 2016.
Associate Director of Bands
Jordan Hayes began his career at Robert E. Lee High School in Tyler, TX where he spent two years as an Associate Band Director. While at Lee High School, Mr. Hayes conducted one of the four concert ensembles and assisted with the marching band, as well as taught beginner band classes and assisted the middle school concert ensembles.
A native of East Texas, Mr. Hayes graduated from Winona High School in 2013 before attending Texas A&M University at Commerce where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Music Education and a minor in business in 2017.
While at Commerce. Mr Hayes gained performing experience in concert, jazz, and chamber ensembles while studying under Phillip Clements, Allen Goodwin, and Dr. Daniel Kelly. Mr. Hayes marched four years with the Pride Marching band where he served as section leader his final two seasons. He taught private lessons on his primary instrument of trumpet and worked with various local marching band programs such as McKinney Boyd and Denison High Schools. He also spent two summers touring the country and performing with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps where he was awarded the 2016 I&E Mellophone World Champion.
When not teaching, Jordan enjoys reading, running, watching TV, and spending time with friends and family.
Assistant Band Director
David Landry is in his thirty-first year of teaching and his second year as an Assistant Band Director at Melissa ISD. His current responsibilities include assisting with the Mighty Cardinal Marching Band, conducting the Melissa Middle School Symphonic Band, teaching beginning band, and assisting with all concert ensembles in the Melissa ISD band programs.
Mr. Landry has teaching experience at the middle school and high school levels in Louisiana and Texas in conferences 2A through 6A. As head and associate director, Mr. Landry’s groups have achieved much success over the years, including: Sweepstakes Awards in Louisiana and UIL Sweepstakes Awards in Texas, state-level First Division performances in Louisiana, six appearances at the UIL State Marching Finals in Conferences 3A and 4A, UIL 3A State Marching Champions in 2002, 2004, 2006, and TMEA Honor Band in 2003.
Individually, he was selected as Lake Arthur High School’s Teacher of the Year in 2009, and the Louisiana District V Band Director of the Year for 2010-2011. He was inducted into Phi Beta Mu, International Bandmasters Fraternity, in 2012. Mr. Landry remains active as an adjudicator and clinician in Louisiana and Texas. His professional affiliations include Texas Music Adjudicators Association, Texas Music Educator’s Association and the Association of Texas Small School Bands.
A native of Andrus Cove, LA, Mr. Landry is a proud graduate of Lake Arthur High School (1984), holds a BMEd. from McNeese State University (1989) and a MMEd from the University of Southern Mississippi (1996). He currently lives in McKinney, TX with Jonesy Kitty Cat and is especially proud of his former students’ successes in their adult lives.
Assistant Band Director
Eric Boyett is an Assistant Band Director and Director of Percussion Studies at Melissa ISD. Prior to his appointment at Melissa, he was percussion director at Mabank High School. Under his direction, the Mabank High School Drumline has received numerous superior ratings at UIL Marching Competitions. The drumline was awarded “Best in Class Percussion” in 2013 and 2018 at the Northwestern State University Marching Contest and finished second overall in 2018. The marching Percussion Section received Grand Champion along with all battery captions at the Drums on Point Competition.
Boyett has worked with percussion programs across south Louisiana and southeast Texas, and was also a member of the percussion staff for the Louisiana Stars Drum and Bugle Corps. He is the founder of the Cedar Creek Summer Drummin’ camp as well as co-founder of Drums On Point Drumline competition, and has been a staff member for both the McNeese State University and Southeast Texas Summer Percussion camps.
Mr. Boyett holds a Bachelor's Degree from McNeese State University in Music Education as well as Master of Musical Arts Degree in Percussion Performance from The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Boyett has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with many world class percussionists such as Lonny Benoit, Troy Breaux, Travis Fife, Tom Neville, Mark Ford, Dean Gronemeier, Andrew Beall, Jeff Mills, Brian Zator, and Adam Mason. His primary teachers include Lonny Benoit and Troy Breaux.
Boyett is an educational artist for Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets and Zildjian cymbals.
Taylor Tucker grew up in Mesquite, Texas. She graduated from the University of North Texas in the honors college with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She spun in the Colorguard and Winterguard all four years at North Mesquite High School, and in her first year of college, she marched in the UNT Green Brigade Colorguard. She then marched the White Gold Independent A and Open, and Black Gold Independent World.
Ms. Tucker performed with Colorguard Theatre of Dallas, which made open class finals at the Winterguard International World Championships in its inaugural year. She went on to march with the Cypress Independent Winterguard, this time making world class finals. Her drum corps experience includes marching with the Blue Stars drum and bugle corps.
While in college, Ms. Tucker was a tech for Lakeview Centennial High School. She then became the Head Colorguard Director at Naaman Forest High School from 2014-2015.
Ms. Tucker served for three years as the Head Colorguard Director at Sachse High School. During that time, the colorguard received Best Colorguard at marching competitions all three seasons, and jumped from the Regional A division to the National A division at NTCA. Sachse also is a 2017 WGI Dallas and Austin regional finalist.
Ms. Tucker joined Melissa ISD in 2017. She has worked with students in elementary, middle, and high school. The middle school colorguard earned the bronze medal in Cadet Class in 2018 and was promoted to Cadet RA in 2019. The high school colorguard earned Best Colorguard caption awards. The high school winterguard was promoted from RA to SAA in 2018 and earned the SAA bronze medal. In 2019, the winterguard was promoted from SAA to SA, and then to National A, after making finals at the WGI Tulsa regional. Melissa became the 2019 National A bronze medalist for the first time in school history.
Along with teaching at Melissa, Ms. Tucker has taught camps, clinics, and worked with colorguards from all over the world, with students from all ages. Most notably, she was a flag tech for CGT Denton, and is currently a clinician for Banda Municipal de Zarcero winterguard, a colorguard from Costa Rica.
She is excited to continue growing the program at Melissa.
Middle School Band Director
Sasha Blankenship began her career as the Assistant Band Director at Westwood Junior High, where her newly formed Concert Band quickly received their initial 1st Division Superior ratings. She spent six years as the Head Director of Bands at Parkhill Junior High School. Mrs. Blankenship has helped grow the enrollment in the Parkhill Bands by 125%, and the Symphonic Band has consistently received “Sweepstakes” at their UIL Concert and Sight-reading Contests. During her time at Parkhill, Mrs. Blankenship was nominated for Teacher of the Year and awarded the PTA Life Achievement Award. She was recently awarded the Pearce Community Women’s League Star Teacher.
A product of Richardson schools and fine arts programs, Mrs. Blankenship graduated twelfth in her class with Honors from Lake Highlands High School, where she was a Texas Music Scholar and a member of many national organizations such as NHS and Mu Alpha Theta.
Mrs. Blankenship received her Bachelor in Music Education from the University of Houston and graduated summa cum laude. She was also accepted into Pi Kappa Lambda, the National Music Honor Society. She has studied clarinet with Paul Garner, Associate Principal Clarinet of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Randall Griffin, Principal Clarinet of the Houston Ballet Company. Her professional affiliations include TMEA and the American Federation of Musicians.
Sasha is married to Joshua Blankenship, Director Bands at Lowry Freshman Center in Allen, TX and has a cat named Arya.