MEET THE DIRECTORS
Director of Bands / FINE ARTS COORDINATOR
Dimitrios Icossipentarhos is the Director of Bands/Fine Arts Coordinator for J.J. Pearce High School in Richardson, Texas. His responsibilities include conducting the Wind Ensemble and the Mighty Mustang Band, as well as overseeing all aspects of the Pearce Area Cluster Fine Arts Team.
Originally from Austin, Mr. Icossipentarhos holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Music Education degrees from Texas Tech University. During his time at Texas Tech, he performed with numerous ensembles, studied saxophone with David Dees, conducting with Dr. Sarah McKoin, and had his educational philosophy shaped through continuing interactions and coursework with Dr. Keith Dye.
Prior to his appointment at J.J. Pearce, Mr. Icossipentarhos served as Associate Director of Bands at Hebron High School in Lewisville ISD, Liberty High School in Frisco ISD, and Curtistene S. McCowan Middle School in DeSoto ISD. Bands under his direction have consistently received Sweepstakes Awards in University Interscholastic League competition for Concert and Sight-Reading performances. Mr. Icossipentarhos’ professional affiliations include the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Bandmasters Association, Phi Kappa Lambda, and Kappa Kappa Psi. Dimitrios resides in Frisco with his wife, Amy, who is also extensively involved in music education serving as the Director of Bands at Westwood Junior High in Richardson ISD.
Associate Director of Bands
LeAndre Benton is joining us as the Associate Director of Bands at J.J. Pearce High School, where he serves as an instructor of the marching band, conducts the Wind Symphony, assists with other concert ensembles, and teaches beginner classes within the Pearce cluster. Mr. Benton is a native of Longview, Texas, and graduate of Longview High School. Mr. Benton was the Associate Director of Bands at Little Elm High School, in Little Elm, Texas.
Mr. Benton earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree with certifications in both vocal and instrumental music (K-12) from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, where he studied trombone under Dr. J. Mark Thompson and Andrew Eden, and conducting under Dr. Jeffrey C. Mathews. Mr. Benton, a trombonist and past member of the “Spirit of Northwestern” Marching Band, served as a trombone section leader, piccolo section leader, and drum major. Mr. Benton was also a member of the Northwestern State University’s Wind Ensemble, University Jazz Orchestra, University Men’s Chorus, Trombone Choir, and Tuba & Euphonium Ensemble.
Mr. Benton is an active trombonist in the DFW area, preforming recently in the Metropolitan Winds of Little Elm. He has also served as an adjudicator, band clinician, a summer camp conductor, and drum major instructor. In addition to music, he is also an NCAA Women’s Basketball Official, a former Texas High School Basketball Official, a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, International Trombone Association, and a Gamma Rho alumnus of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity. Mr. Benton was selected twice by the UIL to officiate in the 2015 and 2016 Girls State Basketball Tournament, and the AAU Nationals in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has completed the 2nd edition of his fundamental studies book for band entitled “The Daily Regimen”. Mr. Benton enjoys officiating, traveling, arranging music, and spending time with family.
Assistant Band Director
Molly Neal is a recent graduate from Texas Christian University where she received her Bachelor of Music Education and studied horn with Heather Test. At Texas Christian University, Ms. Neal was a member of the Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, and the TCU Horn Ensemble, performing at venues such as TMEA and ABA. During her last two years, Ms. Neal served as the Drum Major for the TCU Horned Frog Marching Band.
Outside of TCU, Ms. Neal spent three summers performing in Drum Corps International. In 2016 she marched with Carolina Crown, winning both the Jim Ott Best Brass Performance and John Brazale Best Visual Performance awards. In both 2017 and 2018, Ms. Neal was a featured soloist for The Blue Devils and won the DCI World Championships in 2017. Ms. Neal’s professional affiliations include Texas Music Educators Association and Kappa Kappa Psi.
Assistant Band Director
Kaitlin Harrison is a recent graduate from Sam Houston State University where she earned her Bachelor of Music Education degree with certification in EC-12 instrumental music. She studied under Dr. Henry Howey on euphonium. At Sam Houston State University, Mrs. Harrison was a member of the Wind Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Matthew McInturf, Bearkat Marching Band, SHSU Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble, and the SHSU Tuba Quartet. She has performed at the American Bandmasters Association Convention and has participated in intercollegiate bands such as the College Band Directors National Association band and the Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma National Intercollegiate band.
Mrs. Harrison has served in numerous leadership positions while at Sam Houston State University. These include the Wind Ensemble Librarian, Bearkat Marching Band Student Assistant of two years, and as the Tau Beta Sigma Vice President, Recording Secretary, and Service Coordinator. Mrs. Harrison’s professional affiliations include Texas Music Educators Association and Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority. Katie is originally from McKinney, Texas and now lives in Garland, Texas with her husband, Alex. He is a middle school band director in Garland ISD.
Director of Percussion studies
Cameron Zawadzki is a recent graduate from Texas A&M in Commerce where he earned his Bachelor of Music Performance. At TAMUC he studied under Dr. Brian Zator, Sandi Rennick, Kent Hillman, and Cory Doran. During his time at the university he was able to perform with the Pride Marching Band, Percussion Ensembles, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and Panamation Steel Drum Ensemble.
Mr. Zawadzki participated in numerous extra curriculars and competitions throughout his time at Texas A&M in Commerce. In 2017, he placed first in the P.A.S.I.C. Collegiate marimba competition. In 2018, he marched with the Santa Clara Vanguard and won the DCI World Championship as well as the Fred Sanford high percussion award. In 2019, he won the TAMUC Concerto Competition and got to play Gillingham’s Concerto No.2 for Marimba and Wind Ensemble with the TAMUC Wind Ensemble.
Amanda Harrison is currently twenty-nine years old and resides with her husband in Oak Cliff, Texas. Her colorguard journey started at Flower Mound High School. During her junior year of high school in 2008, she marched with The Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corp, and was the youngest member of the corp. Regiment went on to win the DCI World Class Championships that year. The following year she went on to march with Crossmen in and then ending her DCI career with The Santa Clara Vanguard from 2010-2012. After High School and finishing her DCI career she began teaching colorguard around the DFW area. She was the Assistant Director at Highland Park Highschool and helped lead them to placing second place in 5A UIL Final State Competition and NTCA grand champions.
This is her first year with Pearce and is looking forward to the future with this amazing program!