Cooper Atkeson | Nixa, Missouri
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 worked in Kerrville, Texas as the as Minister to Families and Worship Minister at the Riverside church of Christ for three years before moving to Nixa, Missouri where he now works full-time in youth ministry.
Sarah Burns, DMA | Jacksonville, Alabama
Vocal Coaching, Music for Children I, Women’s Ministry Development I & II
Sarah is a general music specialist, having earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Shenandoah University. She is certified in Kodály and Orff music education and has been trained in the Dalcroze Eurhythmics and World Music Drumming methods. She is a choral and band director, a trombonist, and a Montessori and homeschool music advocate.
She is presently Assistant Professor (Music Education) at Jacksonville State University.
Mike Dozier | Huntsville, Alabama
Song Leader Dynamics (SL401)
Mike has been leading singing in worship for 30 years and is a third-generation song leader within the Lord’s church. He’s active in Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes program as a coordinator of the Nashville convention and enjoys coaching song leading and singing for congregations in the North Alabama area.
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.
Mike currently serves as a deacon at the Madison church of Christ.
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, the 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 in 2018, working with the Adult Beginners and Video Coaching program.
Jim Fletcher, J.D. | 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. Jim joined the Singing School faculty in 2005.
Jim regularly leads worship at the Clear Lake Church of Christ in the Houston area.
Paul Hoffecker, PhD | Phoenix, Arizona
The Science of Sound, Singers’ Workshop, Worship Renewal
Paul leads worship for the Desert Sands Church of Christ in Gilbert, Arizona.
Tony Kite | Lubbock, Texas
Harmony I, Song Writing; Housing and Dining Services Coordinator; Board of Directors (Secretary)
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.
Darla Lowry | Weatherford, Oklahoma
Special Assignments Coordinator
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 operates a veterinary practice and pursues agricultural interests near his home in Weatherford, Oklahoma. Tim serves as an elder at the Weatherford Church of Christ.
In 2021 Tim helped to move the Alva, Oklahoma Singing School to Weatherford and serves on its board of directors as well. It lives on as the Western Oklahoma School of Music.
Eric Petty | Charlotte, Tennessee
Primary Video Coach
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 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.
Paula Rivoire | Sherman, Texas
Women’s Ministry Development I & II
Paula grew up in a singing family. She attended All-State Choir her junior and senior year in high school in Pierre, South Dakota. While at York College (University), she continued developing her singing and music skills in the chorus. When she transferred to Lubbock Christian College (now Lubbock Christian University), she continued using her talents as a part of the Meistersingers. As a long-time member of Sherman, Texas community, Paula has sung in the community chorus when her busy schedule as a high school math teacher (now retired) allows.
Paula is a member of the Western Heights Church of Christ where she eagerly teaches in the children’s classes and helps coordinate several aspects of the women’s ministry. Paula first attended the Singing School in 2001 and considers it the highlight of each summer. She came on-board as TNSS faculty in 2022.
Luis Salazar | Monterrey, Nuevo León, 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 in the design process of their worship slides for those projects. In 2018, Aaron directed the 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. 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), Beginning Song Leading (Adults) (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. In 2006 he joined the teaching faculty and administration at TNSS.
Levi has preached, led worship, conducted congregational music workshops, worship leader clinics, and served as a worship consultant at over 100 congregations, lectureships, events, camps, or schools – from Washington to Florida. In addition to teaching at TNSS, Levi has taught singing schools at Music Camp (Washington), White River Youth Camp (Texas), and the Western Oklahoma School of Music.
Levi graduated from the Sunset International Bible Institute with an undergraduate degree in Bible and Ministry; later he added an advanced degree in Missiology and a master’s degree in Biblical and Ministry Studies. He is currently pursuing the Doctor of Worship Studies program at the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies.
Levi, his wife Sara (whom he met at Singing School in 2001), and their two sons make 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.
Levi is a collector of hymnals, especially of those from the Restoration Movement. When he finds time, Levi writes about church music, hymnals, and ministry at HymnalCollector.com.
Sara Sisemore | Fredericksburg, Texas
Women’s Song Leading
Sara is a lifelong 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. Sara has taught at the Texas Normal Singing School since 2007. In 2021, Sara began assisting at the Western Oklahoma School of Music – a summer camp-style singing school for 10-18 year-olds – n Weatherford, Oklahoma.
Jerri Skelton | Henrietta, Texas
James Tackett | Austin, Texas
Music Theory; Harmony II, Singer’s Workshop, Finalé (seminar), Copyright Laws (seminar); Board of Directors (President)
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
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 choruses 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- and 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.
Shawn Winton | Sallisaw, Oklahoma
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).