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John Pruitt

Director of Bands

John Pruitt earned his B.M.E. at East Carolina University (NC) after marching baritone with Spirit of Atlanta in 1983.  Upon graduation from ECU, he completed Aviation Officer Candidate School and received his 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 began 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 marching band title in his final year.  Mr. Pruitt was named Director of Bands at Fort Mill HS in 2007.  He is an active trombonist, performing with the Carolinas Wind Orchestra, church orchestras, and other ensembles in the greater Charlotte area.  He is the father of three (Tim, Sam, Aimee) and became a grandfather in 2013.



Chad Pence

Associate Director of Bands

In the spring of 2013 Chad Pence was honored for ten years of outstanding service to the band program at Fort Mill HS.  He previously served as an assistant band director at James F. Byrnes HS (SC) and Lost Mountain MS (GA).  He earned his undergraduate degree in music education at the University of Kentucky, where he studied tuba with Dr. Skip Gray and performed with the Lexington Brass Band and The Four Horsemen Tuba/Euphonium Quartet, as well as the university’s wind ensembles and orchestra.  He currently performs in the Carolinas Wind Orchestra.  In addition to his work with the Fort Mill HS symphonic bands and marching band, Mr. Pence has more than twenty years of drum corps experience.  He marched with Star of Indiana in 1993 and Star’s Brass Theater in 1994.  He earned his first DCI title marching with the Cadets of Bergen County in 1998 and two more titles as a brass instructor for The Cadets in 2000 and 2005.  He has served on the brass staff of The Cadets, Carolina Crown, Boston Crusaders, Magic of Orlando, and Capital Regiment.  Mr. Pence maintains professional affiliations with MENC, SCBDA, and Phi Beta Mu.



Jason Ford

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.



Philip Rainer

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.

Kirk Godbey

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 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.


Sean Carney

Woodwinds & Gold Hill MS Band Director


Jennifer Hughes

Percussion 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.


Samantha Oliver

Color Guard & Choreography

Sam graduated from Fort Mill HS in 2007, after marching with the band all four years. She performed with Etude winter guard for five seasons and served as a tech in her sixth year. Sam joined Fort Mill’s guard staff in 2008 and assumed choreography responsibilities in 2010. She is completing a B.F.A. in art at Winthrop University and is engaged to be married in November of 2014.


Brady Hartness

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, marimba for Teal Sound, and continues to perform as a section leader for Palmetto Percussion, WGI World Class Finalists and 2010 champions.  He will join the Colts’ percussion staff in 2014 as a front ensemble instructor.  Brady also composes and arranges music for Fort Mill’s indoor percussion ensemble, while working towards his music education degree at Winthrop University.