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Faculty & Staff

Faculty & Staff

Cooper Atkeson, Kerrville, Texas

Music Theory, Harmony I, Harmony II, Sight Reading II, Advanced Song Writing

Cooper has been involved in worship ministry since 2002. He completed his Public Worship Leadership Certification through the Singing School in 2009 and graduated from Freed-Hardeman University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Education in 2011. Cooper joined the TNSS faculty in 2012, focusing on music theory and sight reading. Cooper is a teacher by trade, published composer by hobby, an advocate of professional worship leader development, and a servant always seeking to better himself and the assembling of God’s people. In 2017 Cooper and his family moved from Missouri to Lubbock, Texas where Cooper earned a Bachelor of Theology at the Sunset International Bible Institute (2019).
Cooper, his wife Megan, and their two children reside in Kerrville, Texas where he works as Minister to Families and Worship Minister of the Riverside church of Christ.


Mike Dozier, Huntsville, Alabama

Song Leader Dynamics (SL401)

Mike has been a leading singing in worship for 30 years and is a 3rd-generation song leader with-in the Lord’s church.  He’s active in Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes program as a coordinator the Nashville convention and enjoys coaching song leading and singing for congregations in the North Alabama area.  Mike currently serves as a deacon at the Madison church of Christ. Mike attended Freed-Hardeman University where he was a member of the SonShine Singers.  He has a passion for singing and song leading and completed his Worship Leader Certification from the Singing School in 2014, joining the faculty in 2015.


Evan Darnell, Commerce, Texas

Technology and Videography

Evan was born into a singing family and he began leading singing as a teenager at his small home congregation, outside of Lubbock. He has studied at Electronics Service Technology at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas and also at the Sunset International Bible Institute. In the late 2000s he completed the Worship Leader Certification program and has been an active worship leader since then. Since 2013 he and his family have worshiped with the church of Christ in Commerce, Texas where Evan has served as a deacon and regularly leads worship.
Evan works on the campus of Texas A&M-Commerce and other university campuses as a technology administrator.
He married a singer and – little surprise – all four of his children love to sing, too!


Robin Entrekin, Huntsville, Alabama

Adult Beginning Song Leaders (SL101), Video Coaching, Graduate Studies (SL501)

Robin vaguely remembers leading his first song at the Diana, Tennessee Singing in the early 1970s and has been leading singing in his congregations ever since. He’s led singing for congregations ranging in size from 150 to his current church home of 1,200 (Madison church of Christ in Huntsville, Alabama). “I felt I was an accomplished song leader before I attended the Singing School for the first time in 2011. Boy, was I wrong.” Robin excitedly joined the faculty this in 2018, working with our Adult Beginners and our Video Coaching program.



Jim Fletcher, Friendswood, Texas

Women’s Special Music, Trends in Church Music; Board of Directors

Jim has been a Worship Leader and Special Music Director for over 40 years. He and Joe Ed Furr were instrumental in the development of Worship Leader Conferences in Houston, Texas. He has also conducted singing emphasis events and workshops in Texas and Oklahoma. Joining the Singing School staff in 2005, Jim has taught Beginning Men’s Song Leading, Advanced Men’s Song Leading, and Women’s Special Music.
Jim regularly leads worship at the Clear Lake Church of Christ in the Houston area.


Joe Ed Furr, Sherman, Texas

History of Church Music, Advanced Song Leading, Ministry of Public Worship Leadership; Board of Directors

Joe is a long time preaching minister in the churches of Christ, most recently having completed a nearly thirty-year work with the Western Heights Church of Christ in Sherman, Texas. He was the Curriculum Director for the Singing School in Sabinal, Texas from 1973 until the school moved to the campus of Abilene Christian University in 1988. He now serves as Director of the Texas Normal Singing School. Joe teaches the senior-level training class for worship leaders, Advanced Song Leading, and the History of Church Music.



Thana Furr, Sherman, Texas

The Role of Women, Children and Church Music

Thana has been married to Joe Furr for over 50 years. They have two sons, Darren and David. She has her BA in Sociology and has more than 40 years’ experience teaching all ages, specializing in ages pre-K through fourth grade. Her curriculum for those ages is used in churches around the Brotherhood.





Paul Hoffecker, PhD, Mesa, Arizona

The Science of Sound, Singers’ Workshop, Worship Renewal








Michael Kersh, Manvel, Texas

Office Administrator

Michael has been associated with the Singing School since 1964, when he attended the old Sabinal campus as a student for the full three year curriculum offered at that time. Today he functions as volunteer Office Administrator in support of the teaching staff. The goal of his position is to help the school function more smoothly, enhancing the overall experience of both student and staff.




Tony Kite, Lubbock, Texas

Harmony I, Song Writing; Housing and Dining Services Coordinator; Board of Directors

Tony, a student of the Singing School from 1993-1997, began teaching Song Writing and Music Theory in 1998. He has taught Song Writing, Music Theory, Harmony, and assisted with Men’s Beginning Song Leading. He loves singing tenor and currently sings first tenor with Generations, a gospel quartet in Lubbock, Texas. Tony leads worship at the New Home, Texas church of Christ, just south of Lubbock.




Tim Lowry, DVM, Weatherford, Oklahoma

 Song Leading 101 (Adults), Video Coaching, 5th Year (Graduate) Class; Board of Directors

Tim is a third-generation song leader. Since first attending the Singing School in 2001, Tim has brought many of his fellow church members – including his father, wife, and two daughters – to be part of the Singing School family. He brings a plainspoken Oklahoma charm to the classroom as well as a sincere heart for God’s people and their worship. He takes time to impress upon his students the fundamentals of leading singing and takes great pride in seeing their progress.
Tim is a 1987 graduate of Oklahoma State University where he studied veterinary medicine. He keeps a veterinary practice and pursues agricultural interests near his home in Weatherford, Oklahoma. Tim serves as an elder at the Weatherford church of Christ.


Marilyn Pineda, Comanche, Oklahoma

Music Theory 1; Remedial Music Theory, Song Writing

Marilyn grew up as the daughter of a preacher and has spent most of her adult life as the wife of a preacher. Marilyn and her husband, Mario, have worked for over forty years with the Prairie Hill Church of Christ between Duncan and Comanche, Oklahoma. They have three sons and seven grandchildren.
Marilyn attended Oklahoma Christian College, Oklahoma University, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education), and East Central University (Master of Science in School Counseling). Marilyn has taught at Comanche Elementary School for 30 years. She has been awarded scholarships and grants for professional development in Japan, China, Korea, and Alaska. She worked at various church youth camps for twenty years. On mission trips to Nicaragua, she taught VBS each summer for nine years. She has also spoken at Ladies’ Days, Bible Teachers’ Workshops, and National Geography Conferences in Puerto Rico and Savannah, Georgia.
Marilyn sang in the chorus at Oklahoma Christian and was in the band, majoring in instrumental music. She played in the Pride of Oklahoma band and was in the jazz band at USAO. She has sung in gospel quartets for many years and participated in the recording of Faithful God, the 2017 addition to Keith Lancaster’s Praise & Harmony series.
In 1994, Marilyn traveled to Abilene because she wanted to become a more proficient songwriter; she has never left. After she had attended four years, she was asked to assist in the songwriting class, and later to teach in Music Theory I.


Sharlan Proper, Lubbock, Texas

Music and Children, Music Theory I; Harmony I (assistant), Harmony III (assistant), Hymnwriting (assistant)

Sharlan wrote her first four-part song when she was seven years old and hasn’t stopped writing since. Today she is a published hymnist, author, and musician. Her credits include a hymn (Everything We Need) published by R.J. Stevens Music, a beginning piano book of hymns and praise songs, and multiple CDs as part of a Celtic band. In 2014 she released a solo album, Simple Words.
Sharlan has a bachelor’s degree in Technical Communication from Lubbock Christian University emphasizing Copyright Integrity in the Digital Age. She hails from Lubbock, Texas, where she and her husband, Mike, have two grown daughters who have creative ministries of their own. Mike plays the bagpipes, runs the family’s electroplating business, and frequently ministers with churches in South America to give eyeglasses to the congregation’s friends and neighbors.
Sharlan learned the value of vocal music notation when first attending TNSS in 2001. She is now a great proponent of shaped notation, especially in church music.
Sharlan graduated from the Singing school in 2009 and immediately began assisting in Hymn Writing classes. Soon she also began teaching in the Women’s Studies Department alongside her friend and co-hymnist, Linda Kite.


Luis Salazar, Monterrey, Mexico

Escuela de Canto








Aaron Shotts, Fate, Texas

Intermediate Song Leading, Advanced Sight Reading, Video Coaching, Finale, Arranging Songs for Congregational Use

Aaron is a native of Michigan, though he now calls Texas home.  He graduated from Western Michigan University in 2004 with a degree in Aviation Flight Science.  Aaron first came to the Singing School as a student in 2008 and immediately started making friends when he met a couple from his sister’s home church in Mesa, Arizona!  After earning his certification in 2011, he pursued a full-time worship minister position in 2012.  The Singing School brought Aaron on as an instructor in 2013.  After serving as worship minister for 2 1/2 years at a large church in the DFW area, he went back to his first love of flying the friendly skies.  Aaron still enjoys volunteering his musical talents in other areas.  He has recorded many albums with Keith Lancaster and the Acappella Company’s Praise & Harmony series.  He also helps them in the design process of their worship slides for those projects. In 2018, Aaron directed inaugural album of the ReGen Harmony project, Inhalation, in Denver City, Texas, for the Acappella Company.


Jerry Sisemore, Tulare, California

Song Leading 101 (Teens), History of Public Worship

Jerry is a graduate of Pepperdine University (Bachelor of Arts in Religion) and the Sunset School of Preaching (1977). He inherited his father’s love of singing the gospel in song and his talent for leading others in worship. Since 1968, Jerry has served churches in California, Texas, Hawaii, and Michigan. He was a full-time missionary to Barnaul, Russia for 15 years and served as the Director for the Barnaul School of Preaching (a branch of the Sunset International Bible Institute). He graduated from The Singing School in 2008. Jerry currently preaches for the church of Christ in Tulare, California.


Levi Sisemore, Fredericksburg, Texas

Sight Reading I (SR101), Adults Beginner Song Leading (SL101A), Trends in Church Music (MA201); Song Leader Dynamics (SL401); Registrar, Webmaster; Board of Directors

Levi first came to The Singing School as a student in 2001 from Barnaul, Russia where his family served as missionaries. He has been on staff since 2006. He has led singing and conducted Congregational Music Workshops for congregations in several states as well as teaching for two years at Music Camp for Northwest Christian Camps. In 2006 he graduated from the Sunset International Bible Institute with a degree in Bible and Ministry, to which he later added an advanced degree in Missiology; he completed a Master’s degree in Biblical and Ministry Studies in 2017. In 2018 he was accepted to begin studying at the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies in the Doctor of Worship Studies program. Levi is a collector of hymnals, especially of those from the Restoration Movement.
Levi, his wife Sara (whom he met at Singing School in 2001), and their two young boys have made their home in Texas, where he has preached full-time for the City Park church of Christ in Floydada (2007-2014) and for the 37th Street church of Christ in Snyder (2014-2017). He is currently Minister of Worship and Involvement for the church in Fredericksburg, Texas.
When he finds time, Levi writes about church music and hymnals at hymnalcollector.com.


Sara Sisemore, Fredericksburg, Texas

Women’s Song Leading

Sara is a life-long learner and lover of music, who began studying shaped notes and music theory when she was five. She comes from a family who loves to sing, but gained her special love of singing and music from her aunt (herself a longtime student at The Singing School). Sara’s music experience includes seven years of piano lessons, singing with a quartet in high school and the University Singers at Harding University, teaching song leading to girls for Leadership Training for Christ, and leading singing for Ladies’ Chapel at the Sunset International Bible Institute of Lubbock, Texas. In 2011, Sara was a featured speaker at the Sunset Workshop on the topic of church music.


Ken Spoor, Snyder, Texas

Voice Lessons


James Tackett, Austin, Texas

Music Theory; Harmony II, Singer’s Workshop, Finalé (seminar), Copyright Laws (seminar); Board of Directors

James first attended the Texas Normal Singing School in 1963 and studied under Holland Boring Sr., Austin Taylor, and others. In 1968 he started teaching first year theory. After a three-year absence from the Singing School, he has been on staff ever since. Besides teaching at the ACU Singing School, he has taught theory at the Acappella Christian Music Seminar and ACAFest in Paris, Tennessee; Murray, Kentucky; and Nashville, Tennessee. For a few years, he joined former TNSS instructor John Blackstone at the singing school at Thorp Springs, Texas. James has directed The Sweet Expressions, a mixed choral group of Austin-area singers for some thirty years. After a career of 34 years with NCR (National Cash Register) where he was a large systems technician, he has devoted his retirement years to The Paperless Hymnal™, which supplies hundreds of churches with song slides that display both music and lyrics. He married his best friend, Wally, in 1969, and they have one son, Michael, who was a sound tech for Acappella for several years. James and Wally live in Austin, Texas where James is a deacon and the song leader for the church of Christ in Hyde Park.


John von Tungeln, Waipahu, Hawaii

Music Theory 101; Video Coaching

John first attended the Singing School in 2003, and earned a Certification in Public Worship Leadership from The Singing School in 2007. He attended the Singing School for several years as a graduate student and joined the faculty in 2019. He currently leads worship each Sunday for the Kapolei Church of Christ in Kapolei, Hawaii.

John works in the information technology field, and is a part-time college instructor and youth soccer coach. He is married with two sons, and has lived in Hawaii for 30+ years.

David Williams, Mount Laurel, New Jersey

Worship Development, Singers’ Workshop; Chapel Coordinator; Board of Directors

David first came to the Singing School in 1998 after learning about it at the Tulsa International Soul-winning Workshop in 1997. He was in the first certification class (2002), and has been a permanent fixture ever since. David performed in musicals and chorus throughout high school and college. A graduate of Penn State University with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and a B.A. in Liberal Studies, David currently works as an actuarial consultant, specializing in financials and retirement benefits, such as Pension, Retiree Medical, and Long & Short Term Disability. David is the Ministry Leader of Worship at his home church, the Collingswood Church of Christ, where he has been a member since 1987. David and his wife, Bibiana, who also loves to sing, reside on the East Coast in southern New Jersey outside Philadelphia.

Mel Witcher, Austin, Texas

Song Leading IV (SL401), Singers Workshop

Mel first came to the Singing School in 2018, helping to teach the Advanced Song Leaders and sitting in on other classes as an observer. He returned the next year as a full faculty member.
Mel serves as an elder-shepherd of the Brentwood Oaks Church of Christ in Austin, where he worships with his wife, Judy. Mel and Judy both sing with the Sweet Expressions, a mixed, a cappella group based in Austin. He has been a classroom teacher since 1989 and has taught at Brentwood Christian School since 1993. At BCS he serves as curriculum coordinator and head of the Bible vertical team and the Bible Department.
Mel holds the Bachelor of Music Education degree from Abilene Christian University, the Master of Music Education from the University of North Texas, and a Bachelor of Arts from Austin Graduate School of Theology and is certified in both music and social studies. Mel was named Fine Arts Teacher of the Year by the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (1998), Teacher of the Year for Outstanding Contributions to Christian Education by the Texas Charter Schools Association (2013), and Educator of the Year by the National Christian School Association (2018).