"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time." - Leonard Bernstein

Nate Courtright

Director of Bands and Orchestra

Mr. Courtright decided at the age of 3 that he was going to be a band director. Growing up in a rural community in northern Michigan, with parents who were a band director and a dance teacher, performing was in his blood. He began playing the bassoon in 4th grade, continued through high school and was able to play his way into college. Mr. Courtright has performed as a bassoonist and contrabassoonist with several professional symphonies and concert bands. In high school, Mr. Courtright also performed on String Bass with Chamber Orchestra, Bass Guitar and Trombone in Jazz Band and Tuba in marching band.

During his college years, Mr. Courtright performed with the Towers Woodwind Quintet, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band. Marching Band and Symphony Orchestra. After graduating from Central Michigan University, he began teaching as the assistant band director at Benton Harbor High School and then moved on to Covert Public Schools in Michigan. Upon moving to California, he taught at Indio High School, then New Jerusalem Elementary School and Delta Charter High School before coming to Florin High School and James Rutter Middle School in 2014. At Florin High School he has taught Intro/Intermediate Band, Concert and Marching Band, Jazz Band, Chamber Orchestra, AP Music Theory and Guitar Workshop.

"I'm so proud of the work that the students at Florin High School have done to grow this program during my tenure. We started with only 41 kids in the band and, as of the 2020/2021 school year, have grown to over 150! The Orchestra has been one of the highlights of my time at Florin as well; having started with just one student who asked if she could learn to play Cello and grown to over 40 this year."

"The greatness of the band program extends far beyond our successes in concerts, festivals and competitions. I truly believe that the skills that we are able to develop through our musical studies, and the life philosophies that I look to instill in my students are the foundation of a successful life. The habits and skills that we build in Band/Orchestra will carry you farther than you can possibly imagine."

Ryan Perry

Assistant Director of Bands

Ryan Perry graduated with distinction from Sonoma State University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education. Immediately after graduating, he received his California Single-Subject Music Teaching Credential in 2020, also from Sonoma State.

While attending Sonoma State, Mr. Perry was the principal clarinetist for the Sonoma State University Wind Ensemble (2015-2019) and Symphony Orchestra (2016-2019). In 2017, Mr. Perry was elected President of Sonoma State's National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Chapter by the students involved. During his two terms, Mr. Perry helped develop professional development opportunities and community outreach projects for other music education students.

Mr. Perry is goal-oriented and has a deep passion for teaching music. With a background in marching band, wind ensemble, and orchestra, he is committed to teaching fundamentals of music while instilling life lessons that push students to their goals after high school.

Jason Cruz

Percussion Instructor - Front Ensemble

Jason is a multifaceted percussion instructor that serves public schools in Sacramento County. Being Alumnus from Florin High School, Class of 2014, teaching at this school holds a special place in his heart. Cruz obtained an ADT in General Music from Cosumnes River College in 2018. Cruz is currently in pursuit of a Bachelors of Music Education and Teaching Credential from Sacramento State University.

Kenya Hilliard

Colorguard Instructor

Kenya Hilliard is a Sacramento State Sociology BA graduate (2016) and MFA Dance graduate from Mills College (2019). During her undergraduate experience, she pursued her passion for performance with the Sacramento State Marching Band and Colorguard where her love for dance and performance was amplified.

Kenya is trained in Contemporary, Jazz, Modern, and Afro Caribbean dance and has performed in many student and faculty-choreographed productions at Sacramento State as well as Mills College. She has had the privilege of performing works at the American College Dance Association in 2015 with "Morning Psalm" choreographed by Dr. Linda Goodrich which was invited to the Gala Concert and in 2019 with "We Have Not Come This Far to Fail" choreographed by Latanya Tigner. Also in 2019, Kenya's solo and self-choreographed piece, "Hand Me Down" was invited to the Informal Concert at ACDA. "Hand Me Down" was also performed for Sacramento State's S/BAD concert in 2020. For her Master's Thesis Concert, Kenya choreographed "Compos Mentis"; a whimsical commentary on the American social structure of today.

Kenya often teaches master classes of her developing pedagogy in Dynamic Self/ Body Awareness, a concept of dance as it relates and interacts with mindfulness meditation practices. Kenya currently teaches preschool dance in the Sacramento area, high school color guard, and is the Artistic Director of Florin High School's Master"Peace" Dance Company. She aspires to explore the therapeutic elements of dance through Dance/ Movement Therapy while incorporating elements of dance as activism.

Demetrius Riley

Percussion Instructor - Battery

Demetrius Riley has been an avid participate in the music community of Sacramento. Since his time in college he has performed in multiple concert, collegiate and competitive ensembles. Most notably his 7 years performing with Mandarins Entertainment, a professional percussion ensemble in the greater Sacramento region. He has used his years of experience as a performer to teach young high school musicians in hopes of improving their individual skills and inspire passion to continue music all through their lives. He hopes as an instructor that all the students feel they are getting better, even just a little, each and every day.