Middle School Band

LaToya Johnson

Ms. Johnson is a native of Anderson, South Carolina and attended Westside High School. Upon graduation, she attended Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in K-12 Music Education. During this time, Ms. Johnson performed with the Wind Symphony and Clarinet Choir. 

After college and a 3 year teaching stent at Southside Middle School in Florence, South Carolina, she returned to Winthrop full time to complete a Masters of Music Education degree, serving as a Graduate Assistant for the Director of Bands. During the course of her degree work, she took on additional studies to include Clarinet and Instrumental Conducting, while performing with the Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, Clarinet Choir, and Carolina’s Wind Orchestra. As a Graduate Assistant, she also had the opportunity to work closely with students in various Music Education classes and lead the Winthrop University Pep Band. Upon re-entering the workforce, Ms. Johnson served as the Band and Choir Director at A.R. Rucker Middle School in Lancaster, South Carolina, and in the same capacity at American Renaissance Charter School in Statesville, North Carolina before joining the team at Marvin Ridge. 


In her spare time, Ms. Johnson is a regularly performing Clarinetist with the Carolinas Wind Orchestra, various small ensembles in the Charlotte area, and occasionally subs in the Florence Symphony Orchestra. Her professional affiliations include the North Carolina Music Educators Association, the South Carolina Band Director’s Association, the National Association for Music Education, Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honors Society, and Delta Omicron International Music Fraternity. 

Courtney Kaplan

Courtney Kaplan is a passionate music educator and an accomplished saxophonist with experience teaching music to all ages. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Courtney attended Arizona State University, where she received a Bachelor's degree in Music Education in 2015. 

Ms. Kaplan's teaching career began in Houston, Texas, where she held the assistant band director position at V.W. Miller Intermediate School. She also has three years of elementary general music experience, including Meador Elementary School in Pasadena, Texas, and Greenway Park Elementary in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ms. Kaplan also has training in Orff Schulwerk pedagogy, and she has completed Level I training in Kodaly through Southern Methodist University. Throughout Ms. Kaplan's career, her focus has been to inspire children with a love of music by providing meaningful musical experiences and promoting music literacy. 

As a saxophonist, Courtney has studied under Dr. Christopher Creviston, Dr. Timothy McAllister, Dr. Michael Jacobson, and Roy Allen Jr. Her performance experience includes three undergraduate recitals and four years of saxophone quartet experience. She held the tenor saxophone chair in the Paradigm Shift Saxophone Quartet (2011-2012) and the Inferno Saxophone Quartet (2013-2014). Both of these ensembles competed nationally at the North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition. Currently, Courtney plays tenor saxophone in the Carolinas Wind Orchestra.