Director of Bands
After marching baritone with Spirit of Atlanta in 1983, John Pruitt completed his B.M.E. at East Carolina University (NC). Upon graduation he completed Aviation Officer Candidate School and received an officer’s commission into the US Navy, where he trained as a Naval Flight Officer. Mr. Pruitt remains certified as a commercial pilot and flight instructor. In 1992 he started his career as a music educator at McColl Middle School (SC) and later served as band director at Cheraw HS (1996-2007), leading them to the SC AA State Championship in his final year. Mr. Pruitt was named Director of Bands at Fort Mill HS in the spring of 2007, when the school split and Nation Ford HS prepared to open for the fall of 2007. He is the father of three: a stepson, Tim, who serves in the US Navy; another son, Sam, who is a graduate student in architecture at Clemson University; and a daughter, Aimee, who is a music major at Anderson University. Mr. Pruitt is an active trombonist, performing with the Carolinas Wind Orchestra at Winthrop University, his church orchestra, and other jazz and brass ensembles.
Associate Director of Bands
Prior to Fort Mill, he was an assistant band director at James F. Byrnes High School in South Carolina and Lost Mountain Middle School in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Mr. Pence received his undergraduate degree in music education from the University of Kentucky. He performed with the wind ensemble, orchestra, and numerous brass ensembles; including The Lexington Brass Band and The Four Horsemen Tuba-Euphonium Quartet. While at UK, Chad studied tuba with Dr. Skip Gray.
Currently, Mr. Pence is the brass caption head for the Boston Crusaders from Boston Massachusetts. Chad Pence maintains professional affiliation with both MENC and SCBDA.
Individual & Ensemble Visual
Mr. Ford joined the Fort Mill staff in 1988, after four years as a member of the FMHS Band, including serving as Drum Major his senior year. He earned his B.A. in English at Furman University, where he also studied saxophone with Dr. Clifford Leaman and performed with the jazz bands. Mr. Ford earned an M.A. in English from USC-Columbia and has taught English at Fort Mill High School since 1995. He currently teaches AP English, Film & Fiction, and serves as department chair. Mr. Ford often judges visual captions and drum majors for shows in SC, NC, VA, and TN. He is a long-time Carolina Crown volunteer and currently serves on the corps’ Advisory Board.
Color Guard Director & Visual Designer
Mr. Rainer marched with the Cavaliers and Carolina Crown before finishing his B.S. in chemistry at USC-Columbia. He was named Fort Mill’s color guard director in 1996 and started teaching science at FMHS in 2006. In addition to his color guard, choreography, and visual design duties with the marching band, Mr. Rainer directs Fort Mill’s winter guard and Etude, a WGI Independent World winter guard. He previously served on the guard staff for Carolina Crown and the Crossmen; he currently judges, designs, and advises color guard programs in both Carolinas.
Drill Designer & Banks Trail MS Band Director
Mr. Godbey finished his B.M.E at James Madison University in 1986 and joined the Fort Mill staff soon after. From 1987-1999 he was the marching band’s principal drill writer; he returned to that role and the marching band staff in 2008. He has served as a middle school band director at Fort Mill MS, Gold Hill MS, Springfield MS, and now teaches at the newly-opened Banks Trail MS. Mr. Godbey earned his Master’s in Music Education and a Master’s in Public School Leadership at Winthrop University. He is an active member of SCBDA, SCMEA, MENC, and the Carolina Crown Advisory Board. Mr. Godbey frequently judges marching and concert bands throughout the southeast.
Woodwinds & Gold Hill MS Band Director
After four years as a member of the Fort Mill HS Band, Ms. Hughes started assisting with percussion instruction in 2001 and was named Percussion Director in 2007. She earned her B.M.E. at Winthrop University and teaches daily at Fort Mill HS, along with frequent visits to Gold Hill MS and Banks Trail MS. Ms. Hughes also directs Fort Mill’s winter percussion ensemble.
Color Guard Instructor
Before joining Fort Mill’s guard staff in 2008, Mr. Winder directed the Greater Johnstown HS (PA) guard and assisted with the Kiski Area HS (PA) guard. He spent eight summers performing with The Cadets, Crossmen, and General Butler Vagabonds, and later served on the Colts’ guard staff. Mr. Winder earned his business degree from Cambria Rowe Business College, and he is the unit clerk coordinator at Gaston Memorial Hospital. In addition to his work for Fort Mill, Mr. Winder is a designer for the Itawamba Community College guard in Fulton, MI and the Trinity HS guard in Washington, PA.
Color Guard & Dance Instructor
Front Ensemble Percussion
Brady started his marching band experience at Fort Mill HS and then moved to Nation Ford HS, graduating in 2010. He played timpani for the Madison Scouts in 2009 and is currently performing as front ensemble section leader for Palmetto Percussion, the 2010 WGI Percussion Independent Open World Champions. Brady began working with Fort Mill’s front ensemble in 2010.