Merlyn D. Beard II has taught in Waterford Schools for the last twenty-five years sharing his passion for
music with students. Mr. Beard has taught at the elementary, middle school and high school levels, including the
alternative high school, in orchestra and other music classes. While he developed a music technology class and a
guitar class for high school students, orchestra has always been his love and passion. This year his schedule
returned to teaching orchestra all day with adding the position of Director of Orchestras for Waterford Mott High
School to the half day schedule of Director of Orchestras at Waterford Kettering High School. He is completing
his twentieth year at Waterford Kettering High School.
Under Mr. Beard, the Waterford Kettering Orchestra performed at the National Orchestra Festival
(ASTA) in 2008 and the Michigan Music Conference in 2009. The performances and festivals outside Michigan
- Walt Disney World, Orlando Florida (2003, 2007,2011,2015,2019), the Smoky Mountain Music Festival,
Music Showcase Festival (Williamsburg, VA -2004, Grand National Champions), Dixie Classic Grand National
Invitational Festival (Chattanooga, TN) - have become highlights of the student's orchestra experience at
Budget restrictions have changed Mr. Beard's teaching schedule to include guitar, piano and History of
RockIPop Music at other Waterford schools. This year the schedule changed so Mr. Beard would be the
Director of Orchestras at Waterford Kettering and Waterford Mott High Schools. Reconnecting with some of
his former middle school students, he has enjoyed the return to teaching a complete schedule of orchestra. The
orchestras show their growth at both schools through earning Division I and II Festival Ratings and
performances for the community.
Mr. Beard has served District 4 as the President (2016-2018), Treasurer (2008-2013) Vice-President of
Workers (2006-2008) and as State Festival Improvements Committee Chair (2013-2019).
He is also an active Adjudicator for MSBOA. Mr. Beard was the District IV Orchestra Teacher of the Year
in 2007 and a finalist for the MSBOA State Orchestra Teacher of the Year in 2008.
Carol Johnson is Director of Orchestras at Jenison Junior High School, and has been teaching young string
players in Michigan for the last twenty years. During her tenure in Jenison, the JPS Orchestra Program has
doubled in size, and now boasts well over 500 string players. Carol has been recognized for her large group
string teaching methods at the elementary and junior high levels, and all three of her Junior High Orchestras
consistently receive first division ratings at MSBOA Festivals. Her students perform at many community
events, including an annual performance in conjunction with the Grand Rapids Symphony Holiday Pops
Concert. Over the last two decades, Carol has mentored twenty-two student teachers from various colleges
and universities, and her program is a frequent destination for visiting teachers and pre-intern teachers.
Carol is highly sought-after as a conductor, clinician, and coach at numerous schools, camps, and clinics
around Michigan. She has spent many years serving as director of orchestras at MSBOA String Clinics,
MASTA String Camps, and St. Cecelia Music Center's Sinfonia Youth Orchestra. Carol is a frequent
presenter at the MMC, and her 8th Grade Orchestra was the only middle school orchestra selected to perform
at the conference in 2010.
Carol was selected as the District 10 MSBOA Orchestra Teacher of the Year in 2010 and 2014, and as one of
three finalists for MASTA's Teacher of the Year in 2019.
In addition to teaching, Carol spends a great deal of time performing, composing, and arranging. As a
violinist, she has performed with the MSU Symphony Orchestra, the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, the
West Shore Symphony Orchestra, and for the last fifteen years with the Signature String Quartet. Carol has
always had a passion for creating music for her students to perform, and in 2007 began publishing her
educational works for young string orchestras through Alfred / Belwin Publications.
Heather earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Western Michigan University, master's in
educational leadership from Madonna University, and Master of Music from the University of
Michigan. She started her teaching career in Livonia Public Schools 26 years ago at Frost
Middle school and for the past eleven years has been the director of orchestra and bands at
Livonia Stevenson High School. At Stevenson Heather is responsible for teaching the grade 9-
12 string orchestra, 3 concert bands, music theory, and several extra-curricular ensembles.
Since Heather began teaching at Stevenson, the orchestra has more than doubled in size,
reflecting her dedication and impact on the student body.
Heather's influence extends beyond Stevenson High School. As a district teacher leader for
music, Heather worked with administration and music staff to reinstate the elementary
instrumental music curriculum in 1999. When Livonia Public Schools restructured the
district's grade configuration in the early 2000's, Heather again worked with stake holders to
ensure students had the opportunity to pursue instrumental music in fifth and sixth grades. As
district music teacher leader and now as the Stevenson Orchestra director, Heather organizes
the Livonia Public School's annual string concert, String Fling. This district wide concert
includes string students grades six through twelve and includes a clinic with a master string
clinician for the high school string students.
Outside the classroom, Heather has actively participated in MSBOA throughout her career.
Her performing ensembles have consistently received superior ratings at Michigan School
Band and Orchestra Festivals. In the past decade she has taken an active role on the District
12 executive board serving on the Festival Improvements Committee, as the secretary, and
currently as the Vice President of Band and Orchestra Festival. Heather continues to expand her
musical influence through student teacher mentorships and curriculum presentations. She has led
sessions on technology use in the music classroom and rhythm curriculum at state conferences.