North Metro Music Education was established to assist students from all educational backgrounds in the North Metro Atlanta area of Georgia in music education. We support opportunities for children in public school, private school, and homeschool to participate in music education and performance programs and to develop musical talents and appreciation.
As a Christian organization, NMME promotes the social, cognitive, and emotional development of these students by providing organizational, logistical and financial assistance.
In 2019, North Metro Music Education began a weekly, after-school music program offering concert band, orchestra, chorus, jazz, and marching band classes that include professional instruction, musical development, and performance opportunities.
To Encourage, Educate and Inspire students to achieve their full musical potential in a Christ focused community.
In Grateful Memory:
Trish Fletcher - President at the founding of the North Metro Music School
Trish taught in the public school system for over ten years, but said she learned more about education through homeschooling her 3 children than she ever did in the classroom. Currently, two of her children are attending college, and her youngest is in high school.
Trish was blessed to journey through life beside her soul-mate and best friend, Eddie. She enjoyed spending time with her family; whether playing games around the family table, long walks in the woods, attending church, or travelling.
Watching her children blossom through music education made her passionate about providing an opportunity for all students and their families to develop their musical abilities to their fullest potential.
Trish had a vision for a music school that would serve the students in the North Metro Atlanta area who do not have quality music education available to them in their own school environments. She worked hard along with the other board members to see this vision come to life. In October of 2019, Trish was called to her Heavenly home after a tough battle with cancer. All of us at North Metro miss her terribly and are committed to carrying out the vision she had for making music education available and affordable for students in our area.
Meet Our Directors
Reginald Ferguson - Chorus Director, Percussion Director
Mr. Ferguson grew up in Central Florida as the fourth child of Bishop Cleveion and Dorell Ferguson. As a pastor's son, his love for the Lord, people, and music was cultivated through the ministry of his home church.
Mr. Ferguson earned a Master of Music Education from Valdosta State University in 2004 and holds a Georgia Teaching Certificate. He has worked as a musician and private music instructor for over 25 years. He has also worked as a public school music teacher for 12 years, producing competent and confident musicians and performance groups. He taught high school marching band, preparing the band for public performances such as half-time shows and parades. He also taught high school jazz band, concert band, and chorus. He taught beginning band at the 5th and 6th grade levels, middle school band, and high school chorus. He currently teaches private percussion and piano lessons.
Mr. Ferguson brings a genuine love for children as well as a commitment to music excellence. He is adept at recognizing a student's strengths and needs, and placing them in a position to succeed. One of his favorite quotes is, "Anything worth having is worth working for, and anything worth doing is worth doing well." He encourages and strengthens as he teaches. Mr. Ferguson says, "Music is more caught than taught. I have a passion for music and my prayer is that the students whom God has entrusted to my care will be influenced by me and experience the joy of honoring God with music." We are blessed to have Mr. Ferguson at North Metro.
Amy Gravitte - Marching Band Director
Mrs. Gravitte is the daughter of musical parents and grew up in a musical family. Since music was a part of daily life, it wasn’t unusual to be singing or playing multiple instruments, eventually settling on the flute as her main instrument. She played the flute and piccolo in the Dalton High School concert and marching bands. She was fortunate enough to be able to travel with the band to many locations for competitions and exhibitions, including The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, NY.
Mrs. Gravitte has taught music lessons privately as well as in various homeschool organizations. She has been the beginning and intermediate band director for 6 years, the assistant marching band director for 4 years and the marching band director for 8 years for Joyful Noise Homeschool Band and is currently the orchestra director at Grace Church-A Baptist Fellowship. She has been a member of the Believer’s Band in Gainesville, GA and is currently a member of the NW GA Winds in Rome, GA.
Mrs. Gravitte is a graduate of Dalton State College with a medical business degree and is currently continuing her music education at Georgia Highlands College. She and her husband, who is also a musician, are passing their love of God and music to their 7 children and 1 grandchild.
Vaughn Irby - Concert Band Director
Vaughn Irby is currently in his 33rd year of teaching band and is in his 14th year as Director of Bands at East Paulding Middle School in Dallas, Georgia. Prior to coming to Dallas, Mr. Irby taught band at MacIntyre Park Middle School and Thomasville High School in Thomasville, Georgia. Mr. Irby has also been the Director of Bands at Dodge County High School in Eastman, Georgia and Treutlen County High School in Soperton, Georgia. Marching and concert bands under Mr. Irby’s direction have received Superior and Excellent ratings at contests and festivals throughout his career. Additionally, Mr. Irby has been active in the Georgia Music Educators Association at both the District and State level as District Instrumental Chair and State Band Council.
Mr. Irby currently lives in Powder Springs, Georgia with his wife Elizabeth and their four children. Mr. Irby holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Troy State University in Troy, Alabama, and a Master of Music Education from Valdosta State College.
Richard (Dick) Shackelford - Orchestra Director
Mr. Shackelford studied violin performance at the University of Montana and transferred to to Montana State University where he received a Bachelor of Music and Education as well as a Master of Music Education. He has studied both viola performance as well as choral studies. While in college he met his lovely wife Marty, his stand partner in the viola section! Mr. Shackelford served as the strings instructor of Helena, Montana for 13 schools, elementary through high school. There he rebuilt the strings program from 22 students to 375. He also served as Musical Director and conductor of the Helena Symphony Society. While attending a school of theology in Anaheim, CA, he founded a worship orchestra and the school of theology choir. In Atlanta, he has served as the Orchestra Director of Mount Paran Church and Minister of Instrumental Music and Orchestra Director of First Baptist Atlanta. Over the years, Mr. Shackelford has started and led a number chamber and vocal ensembles, taught vocal seminars and much more. Mr. Shackelford serves as principal violist in the Johnson Ferry Baptist Church orchestra as well as a founding/performing member of the Inspiration String Quartet.
Mr. Shackelford believes his greatest calling is to give students the experience of belonging to something bigger than themselves, learning to sacrifice individual aspects of oneself to giving of a better self for the other members to ensure the best possible achievement of the entire orchestra. His focus is teaching them the importance of giving a better individual contribution, drawing from each musician MORE than EACH believes they are capable of while truly teaching the students to make music together. He emphasizes self-esteem, self-confidence and unity of purpose; for “Sinfonia” means literally, “to be as one.” His teaching exemplifies that the true “joy” comes with producing excellence and quality; achievement will always be a reward of its own. Maestro Shackelford looks forward to serving you as YOUR Maestro!
Meet Our Board Members
Theresa Dodd - Secretary
Theresa graduated with a degree in Computer Science and worked for 12 years as a Systems Engineer. She was involved in music at an early age playing in the school band and later in a community band. Knowing the benefits of a music education, she has intertwined music into the homeschooling education of her children.
Theresa is currently a consultant for an accredited distance-learning program that assist families in homeschooling their children. She is also a tutor at a local homeschool co-op, and enjoys working with children, guiding them in reaching their educational goals.
She has been involved with North Metro Music Education, Inc. since its inception and is happy to be part of this organization to spread the benefits of music to students in the community.
Ming Ligman - Co-Treasurer
Ming graduated with a degree in nursing, became an RN, and then pursued a second degree in accounting and is an active CPA. She has been married to her high school sweetheart for 31 years and has thoroughly enjoyed raising two children who are now in their 20s. Her family enjoys traveling, being at the lake and trying new foods!
She has played the violin and piano since she was a young child and continues to enjoy playing for fun, therapy, and community. She also fondly recalls the excellent music education that her own children have enjoyed over the years and wants to make those opportunities available to all students.
Ming became involved with North Metro Music Education in response to the need for a non profit that promotes music education for our community. She is excited to be part of this vibrant organization that has dedicated, supportive and positive people who continue to give generously of their time and resources.
Christy Cannon - Co-Treasurer
Christy graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech, where she also met Jason, her husband of 21 years. For several years, Christy and Jason served with The Navigators, a college ministry that focuses on evangelism and discipleship. Christy and Jason are the parents of 5 wonderful kids ages 19 to 5 years old. Her children enjoy playing in band, marching band, and orchestra. Christy is active in her church, teaches a women’s Bible study and sings in the choir. If she doesn’t have something claiming her time, she loves to read classics, historical fiction and listens to book podcasts. On free weekends, you can find the Cannon family hiking and camping together.
Christy’s own education included piano and chorus. She sang in the Georgia Allstate Chorus, the Georgia Tech Chorale, and the choral ensemble, The Vocalities. She was also a part of the First Baptist Atlanta college ensemble, Sonlight. A highlight for Christy was singing Carmina Burana with the Atlanta Ballet.
Christy is grateful to be a part of North Metro Music Education. Music education opportunities for homeschoolers and private school students are often challenging or inaccessible, and Christy feels strongly that this program will impact, prepare and enrich kids for the rest of their lives.
Karen Gibby - Fund Raising Coordinator
Karen and her husband, Cecil, have raised and homeschooled 5 children. They have enjoyed watching their children mature in their perspective endeavors which includes participating in various music courses: piano, flute, percussion, violin, guitar, voice, marching band, church choirs, student praise band, as well as Christmas and Easter musical dramas.
Karen’s passion for music began when she was a small child at church - singing hymns, being the “page-turner” for the church pianist and singing with the adult choir through elementary school. Then she joined the public school choir in middle school and continued throughout her high school career in the show choir and the madrigal choir. She continues to be involved in church choir and Christmas musicals.
Ashley Mullins - Website and Social Media Administrator
Ashley and her husband, Brian, are raising and homeschooling their 4 daughters in Acworth, GA. A graduate of Liberty University with a bachelor’s degree in education, Ashley has taught in public school, private school, homeschool coops, and at church. She has taught preschoolers through high school in general music and voice instruction, as well as English and History and general middle school subjects. She is currently involved with music at her church through choir, solos, ensembles, and the student praise band. She has actively supported her daughters in marching band over the past 7 years.
Ashley has a passion for nurturing and promoting growth in children. Music is a beautiful vehicle for growth and development. She is excited and grateful to be able to serve with North Metro Music Education to help young men and women grow to their full potential through music education.
Greta McDonough- Consulting Board Member
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from, University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Mrs. McDonough worked for eight years in this field until her first child was born. At this point she stayed home to raise her family and began homeschooling her 4 children. She currently works as the Coordinator of Administrative Services for Regina Caeli, Inc.
Throughout their homeschooled years, Mrs. McDonough's children have been involved in music. They have taken piano lessons, sung in choirs, participated in band programs and marching band. She feels that music is integral to the education and formation of all children and is excited to be a part of an organization that works to provide music opportunities to homeschooled students.