Pride of Atoka 2019 Directors and Staff
Samuel Karafotis (Director of Bands)
Mr. Karafotis is in his 5th year as Director of Bands at Atoka High School. His responsibilities include the Atoka High School Symphonic Band, the Pride of Atoka Marching Band, Atoka Indoor Percussion Ensemble, the Pride of Atoka Winterguard, and the AES 5th Grade Beginner Band. Mr. Karafotis is also responsible for the Harmony Bulldog Band Program.
Prior to coming to Atoka, he was a flute private studio teacher in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. His flute students were selected for numerous honor bands, youth orchestras, and the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest as well as continued study at the university level. Mr. Karafotis has held teaching positions in Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and South Korea.
Mr. Karafotis is a 2011 graduate of Eastern Michigan University where he earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree. He was a member of the Symphony Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, Jazz Combos, and University Choir. A member of the McNair Scholars Program, his article "The Composition and Performance Practice of the Cadenza in the Classical Era" was published in the McNair Scholars Research Journal, vol. 2. His primary teacher at EMU was Dr. Julie Stone, Professor of Flute. His other teachers include Mr. Jeffrey Zook and Dr. Mary Karen Clardy.
Mr. Karafotis was involved with the drum and bugle corps activity at the DCI World Class level as a performer and section leader with Pioneer for 4 years (2005-2007, 2009) and as a music staff member and administrator following his ageout. During his rookie year, Mr. Karafotis won the DCI Performer's Showcase.
Sierra Canler (Associate Director of Bands, Lane Eagle Band Director)
Mrs. Canler is the Associate Director of Bands at Atoka Public Schools where her responsibilities include the Atoka Elementary School 5th Grade Band, the McCall Middle School Band, and assisting with the Atoka High School Symphonic Band. Mrs. Canler is also the Head Band Director at the Lane School where she is responsible for all aspects of the Lane Eagle Band.
Mrs. Canler will also be serving in the role of lead instructor for the 2019 Pride of Atoka Winterguard. Her experience includes All-District and All-State Honors in both voice and clarinet, and several Superior rated performances as a member of the Tishomingo High School Band. Her background also includes experience in graphic design and visual art.
Stuart Spoon (Percussion Clinician/Program Consultant)
Stuart is an educator, clinician and performer in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He currently serves as Assistant Director of bands and Director of Percussion at Boswell High School, instructing the front ensemble, percussion ensemble and winter drum line, as well as the Boswell Sub Non-Varsity band. Stuart is a graduate of Texas A&M-Commerce, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance and studying with Brian West, Paul Rennick, Nate Buonviri, Kennan Wylie and Michael Varner.
Throughout his career, Stuart’s ensembles have achieved multiple championship titles and awards. His marching ensembles have placed first at numerous competitions, including the Plano, Crowley and Lone Star Drum line Competitions, and have twice been named North Texas Drum line Association (NTCA) Grand Champions. Under Stuart’s direction, his concert percussion ensembles have achieved multiple division 1 ratings at Texas State Solo & Ensemble, won the call for tapes and performed at the 2009 Music For All National Percussion Festival, and performed with guest artists Michael Burritt, Steve Smith, Lalo Davila and Ignacio Berroa. In addition, Stuart is the founder and director of Network Percussion Ensemble, an international touring group that offers its students the opportunity to perform on a world-stage. In 2011, the group traveled to Sydney, Australia, to perform a showcase concert at the world-renowned Sydney Opera House; future tours include Spain and Brazil.
Stuart has also spent over 20 years in the drum and bugle corps activity, as a member, instructor, caption head, arranger and program coordinator. He marched Lone Star Drum & Bugle Corps from 1993 until aging out in 1997. After that, he spent ten years on the percussion and program staff at Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps, followed by three years with Revolution Drum & Bugle Corps as a consultant and, later, the Program & Staff Coordinator. In his spare time, Stuart performs with a funk-shuffle band, Kalumet, in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.