We have an AMAZING team that supports our students and each other with decades of experience between them. They are from all over and are excellent leaders for our students both in and out of the classroom. Our directors teach at all of our campuses throughout the week, sharing and caring for all of our students to create an incredibly rich musical experience for all of our entire choir family every day.
While each campus has their designated directors, it's good to get to know each member of the team. We even have an incredible team of voice teachers available for our students to work with!
Kari Gilbertson has been teaching choral music for the last 30 years. She has teaching experience at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. In 2013, Ms. Gilbertson was named the Head Choir Director at Lake Highlands High School. Prior to that, she spent 15 years at Forest Meadow Junior High and played an active role in many Lake Highlands Choir and Espree traditions throughout those years. During her tenure in Lake Highlands, she has directed many Sweepstakes and award winning choirs. She has also had the privilege of receiving such professional honors as “PTA Lifetime Member,” “PTA Teacher of Excellence,” and was “Secondary Teacher of the Year” for Richardson ISD in 2001.
Ms. Gilbertson has a Bachelor's Degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. While there, she sang for Dr. René Clausen in The Concordia Choir for four years. She also has a Master's Degree in Music Education and Conducting from Southern Methodist University.
An active soloist, adjudicator, clinician, and consultant, Ms. Gilbertson is a Lead Author and Consultant on Hal Leonard/McGraw-Hill’s latest national choral textbook project, Voices in Concert. She is a member of ACDA, TCDA, TMAA, and TMEA. Most recently, Ms. Gilbertson completed a 2-year term as President of the Texas Choral Directors Association.
Jared Wade is in his twelfth year of teaching and seventh year in the Lake Highlands Choir team as an Associate Director at Lake Highlands High School. He previously taught at high schools in Mesquite and Houston. Mr. Wade earned his Bachelor of Music from Texas State University - San Marcos where he sang with Chorale under the direction of Dr. Joey Martin.
Outside of class, Mr. Wade enjoys spending time with his wife, daughters, and their dogs, doing outdoorsy activities, and building and fixing things.
LHHS Associate Director
LHHS Associate Director
Nick Standish joins the Lake Highlands High School choir program having spent the past year teaching choir at Colleyville Heritage High School. Prior to this, he studied music education at the University of North Texas. Mr. Standish received a Bachelor's degree in Choral Music Education where he had the pleasure of studying with Dr. Jessica Napoles. Mr. Standish was a part of the UNT A Cappella Choir for the three years he studied at UNT (where he served as President of the choir for one year) and had the honor of working with Dr. Allen Hightower. He was lucky enough to be a part of the 100th TMEA Convention in San Antonio where he and the UNT A Cappella Choir performed. He was a member of the UNT Concert Choir under the direction of Dr. Jessica Napoles and a member of the UNT Grand Chorus. Standish was a member of the UpFront! Organization at UNT and served as lead intern for the UNT All-State Choir Camp for two years. He also sings at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas under Steve Jobman. He is a member of the Texas Music Educator's Association and the Texas Choral Director's Association.
Standish lives in the Irving area with his brand new puppy. He enjoys traveling and eating his way through different cultures, all things Harry Potter, building and collecting Legos, baking, being outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.
Kelly Moss, currently in her fourteenth year to teach, is thrilled to be in her ninth year as director at Lake Highlands Junior High School. She received a Bachelor's in Music Education from Sam Houston State University in 2008. During her time at Sam Houston, she was tremendously inspired by her director Dr. Allen Hightower and attributes to him a great deal of her passion towards teaching. After Ms. Moss graduated, she taught in Wylie for five years where she led a successful program that grew in numbers and integrity while earning a few Sweepstakes awards along the way.
Ms. Moss was selected as the Exchange Club of Lake Highlands Teacher of the Year in 2017 and 2020. She was also extremely honored to be named a STAR teacher for RISD during the 2020-2021 school year. Ms. Moss currently serves as the MS/JH Coordinator-Elect for Region 20 Music and is an active member in TMEA and TCDA.
When she is not teaching, Ms. Moss loves reading and re-reading books (especially Harry Potter), leading worship at her church, watching episodes of The Office, and spending time with her wonderfully supportive friends and family.
Mrs. Velez is currently in her ninth year as the Head Director of Choirs at Forest Meadow Junior High in the Richardson ISD, serving previously as associate director for five years. In addition to directing choirs at Forest Meadow, Mrs. Velez works with colleagues and choirs at Lake Highlands High School and the area elementary schools. On her campus, Mrs. Velez is the NJHS sponsor, a mentor teacher, and was selected as Teacher of the Month in 2009 and FMJH PTA’s Teacher of Excellence for the 2012-2013 school year. In addition, Mrs. Velez was humbled and honored to be named a STAR teacher for RISD the 2015-2016 school year and completed a 2 year term as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Texas Choral Directors Association.
Mrs. Velez holds a BBA in Finance, Summa Cum Laude, and BA in Music, Summa Cum Laude, from Texas Tech University. While at Texas Tech, she was a member of University Choir as well as Madrigal Singers and was selected to be an Ambassador for the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Beyond her collegiate studies, Mrs. Velez has completed all four levels of coursework for her Kodály Certification at the West Texas Kodály Institute and is a member of TMEA, TCDA, and TMAA.
FMJH Associate Director
Kelsey Reinhart is currently serving in her fourth year of teaching as the Assistant Director of Choirs at Forest Meadow Junior High in Richardson ISD. She graduated from Texas Tech University in December 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree of Music, including a double major in composition and music education. First published by TFS Music Publications in 2012 for her piece "Irish Blessing", Kelsey has since published various works with Hal Leonard Publications. Additionally, several of her pieces have been included in TCDA new music reading sessions. Kelsey is tremendously grateful to have received the following prestigious awards: the 2017 Raymond W. Brock Student Composition Competition and the 2017 Ruth Boshkoff Composition Prize; where she was also commissioned to write a piece for the O.A.K.E. National Youth Choir.
As a product of Lake Highlands, Mrs. Reinhart was active in choir and band throughout her junior high and high school careers and is excited to be back home! When she is not teaching or composing, Mrs. Reinhart likes to spend time trying new restaurants and coffee shops with her husband.