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 34 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 14th year of teaching and 9th 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.
Kelly Moss is so very excited to begin her 2nd year at Lake Highlands High School and her 16th year of teaching overall! 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 STARS teacher for RISD during the 2020-2021 school year. Ms. Moss is an active member in TMEA, TCDA, and TMAA.
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. Reinhart, currently serving in her 6th year of teaching, is thrilled to start her second year as head director at Lake Highlands Junior High School. 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", Mrs. Reinhart has since published various works with Hal Leonard Publications. Additionally, severalof her pieces have been included in TCDA new music reading sessions. Mrs. Reinhart 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 or snuggling with her two cats, Porter and Luna.
Mrs. Velez is currently in her eleventh 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 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 an RISD STARS teacher for the 2015-2016 school year.
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. She also served for 2 years as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Texas Choral Directors Association. When not doing all things choir, she can be found watching 90 Day Fiancé, spending time with her wonderful husband, Edras, or playing with the cutest rescue pup of all time, Gidget Evangeline.
This will be Miz. Medrano’s second year on the Lake Highlands team and as Forest Meadow's assistant director. Their passion lies in teaching the changing voice with an emphasis on both healthy technique and creating an environment where students can explore building confidence as singers. They look forward to another year of collaboration and pushing the boundaries of musical excellence.
Miz. Medrano obtained their bachelor’s degree in music education from Texas Christian University in May of 2021. During their time there, they were a member of three of the school of music's choral ensembles as well as the opera studio, the Music Educators Association, and the Mu Phi Epsilon music fraternity chapter. They were a featured singer when TCU’s Concert Chorale performed at the 2018 TMEA convention under the direction of Christopher Aspaas, and was a credited performer in three opera studio productions. Performance is one of Miz. Medrano's passions in life and they hope to share that love with their students.