Photo Credit: Peter Hellberg

Clarence Acox
Seattle JazzED Co-Founder
Director, Quincy Jones Ensemble

An outstanding educator for over 40 years, Clarence Acox directs the award-winning Garfield High School Jazz Ensemble, which has qualified andplaced among the top three bands in the Essentially Ellington competition at Jazz at Lincoln Center for many years. A native of New Orleans, he graduated from Southern University. In 2002 he received the national Educator of the Year Award from Downbeat magazine, and has been voted Earshot Jazz Musician of the Year.

My kids often come back and tell me how much playing in the band changed their lives. Playing music — especially jazz — can do that to you. I’ve dreamed of making that experience available to every kid who wants it.

Photo Credit: Mitya Ku

Kelly Barr Clingan
Director, Girls Ellington Project, Melba Liston All-Stars & WeBop

Kelly Barr Clingan is the former Director of Concert Bands and Jazz at Washington Middle School (her alma mater). A graduate of Roosevelt High School and the University of Washington, she is rooted in Seattle's celebrated tradition of music education. Kelly plays trombone in Banda Vagos, a traditional Mexican Banda, performing throughout the Puget Sound area on a weekly basis.

I am committed to driving gender and racial equity forward through music, from the beginning classroom to the professional stage. Join me in re-imagining music education that links artistic excellence to empowerment and social justice.


Darin Faul
Director, Dizzy Gillespie Ensemble

Darin Faul teaches at Mountlake Terrace High School where he has been directing the concert band and jazz band programs since 1998. Darin is a native of Tacoma, Washington and attended Pacific Lutheran University and the Vienna Music Academy before receiving his degree from the University of Washington. He also holds a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and has received several awards while at Mountlake Terrace including the PTSA Teacher of the Year award, the Rotary Educator of the Month Award, and the Celebrate Teachers Award.


Elizabeth Fortune
Director, Jazz Orchestra Project

Elizabeth Fortune is the Director of Orchestras and Eclectic Strings at Seattle’s Washington Middle School, and the Director of the award nominated Educational Programming at the Wintergrass Music Festival. For thirteen years, Fortune has been striving to bridge the gap between classical and roots music in the educational setting. She has built the strings program at Washington Middle School into a comprehensive program for players of all levels, including two roots music ensembles.

In 2014, Fortune was one of 25 semi-finalists out of 7,000 nominations for the Grammy Music Educator Award. Fortune received her Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music degrees with an emphasis on Music Education and violin performance from the University of Montana. She is an active contributor to the Washington Music Educators’ Association, the National Association for Music Education, The Jazz Education Network, The American String Teachers Association, and the International Bluegrass Music Association.


Wayne Horvitz
Director, New Works Ensemble

Composer, pianist, and keyboardist, Wayne Horvitz performs extensively throughout Europe, Japan, and North America. He is the leader of Sweeter Than the Day, Zony Mash, The 4 Plus 1 Ensemble, the Gravitas Quartet and co-founder of the New York Composer Orchestra. A prolific composer, he has been commissioned by the Seattle Chamber Players, the Icicle Creek Trio, Kronos, BAM, Meet The Composer BAM and others. He has produced albums for Eddie Palmieri, Fontella Bass, Robin Holcomb and Bill Frisell among others. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2008 NEA American Masterpieces Award the 2003 Rockefeller Map Grant. He is the music programmer for The Royal Room, a performance venue in Seattle, Washington, and a professor of composition at the Cornish College of the Arts.

The JazzED New Works Ensemble fills in the cracks with classic jazz from lesser known composers, famous jazz artists who do not get presented in big bands, band leaders and arrangers who tend to be relegated to the fringes, and modern composers. My ensemble fuses the best of classical and jazz ensemble traditions with an emphasis on improvisation and even the creation of new works by living composers, especially students.


Cora Jackson
Director, Ella Fitzgerald Vocal Ensemble

For more than thirty years, Cora’s career has been music ministry. She has performed with many great gospel musicians, and toured with several choirs as vocalist and music director.

Cora's numerous public appearances include: Sankofa Maafa, Port Townsend Blues and Jazz Festivals, televised Black History Month programs, Children’s Defense Fund National Conference, Black Dollar Days banquet with Dick Gregory, singing of the national anthem for the Seattle Supersonics ball game, radio and television appearances and countless other special occasions. She ministers at schools, juvenile detention centers, prisons, homeless shelters, recovery centers and churches across the Northwest


Robert Knatt
Director Emeritus

A recipient of the Washington State Golden Apple Award, Robert Knatt has been an educator for over 35 years, most recently at Washington Middle School, where he directed the award-winning middle school jazz ensembles and concert bands. A native of New Iberia, LA, he graduated from Grambling State University. He has inspired thousands of students and helped them develop the discipline to perform jazz at the highest levels.

A lot of people are surprised when they hear for themselves just how good a middle school or high school jazz band can be. But I know for a fact that when you raise the bar high, kids rise up and play at that level. My job is to set that bar.

photo by steve korn

Ricardo Luna
Director, Louis Armstrong Ensemble & Introductory Ensembles

Ricardo is a music educator and trombonist from Los Angeles, California. He recently moved to Seattle and is currently working on his Washington State teaching certificate at the University of Washington. Before coming to Seattle, Ricardo worked for the Los Angeles School District’s Beyond the Bell Branch coordinating after-school music programs, ensembles and events that continue to positively impact students throughout the district. His most recent work included creating and teaching the BTB after-school community music program which provided quality music education for elementary and middle school students in under-served neighborhoods.


Reshard Radford
Director, Mary Lou Williams Ensemble

Reshard Radford began his musical journey at the age of 6 years old playing drums. Like many musicians, Reshard gained his experience in church, playing piano/organ for the youth choir. Throughout his life, gospel music has been his main musical influence. Reshard attended Nathan Hale High School where he got his first taste of Jazz. Currently he is the keyboardist for 'Turning Point Church', the E. Pruitt Band, and Smooth Jazz saxophonist Darren Motamedy.  Reshard has a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Piano Performance from Cornish College of the Arts and Masters of Music Education from Seattle Pacific University. In addition to JazzED, Reshard is an Elementary Music Instructor for Highline Public Schools.

Tanesha Ross
Director, WeBop

Tanesha Ross was shaped as a performer by the vast and rich theater and music community in Seattle. A graduate of Cornish College of the Arts, she began her career at the Village Theatre, the 5th Avenue Theatre, and Seattle Childrens Theatre, all of which propelled her to New York, where she performed on Broadway and a Broadway National Tour. With her training in Kindermusik, she has taught with ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty), working with children in Florida, New York, and South Africa. Tanesha's philosophy is that everybody can sing. Yes, that means you!

Adam Rupert
Director, Count Basie Ensemble

A saxophonist and music educator in the Seattle area for over 20 years, Adam Rupert is an energetic and passionate jazz educator.  He has performed and recorded with many local and national artists in a variety of ensembles from Blues, R&B, Afro-Reggae, and Ska, to Fusion, Jazz, Funk and Salsa. Adam completed his bachelors and Masters degrees from Central Washington University.  He spent the next 12 years in Snoqualmie, Washington as the Director of Bands at Mount Si High School.  Adam is currently in his third year as the Director of Bands at Kent-Meridian High School in Kent, Washington. He currently performs with The PH Factor Big Band run by Paul Harshman and keeps an active performing and workshop schedule throughout the year.


Deb Schaaf
Director, Benny Goodman Ensemble

Deb Schaaf has built the instrumental music programs at both Orca K-8 as well as Aki-Kurose Middle School. She has developed significant arts partnerships for students throughout the Seattle Public School district and also serves as lead teacher through the Career Ladder teacher program. With nearly 20 years of music experience, Deb is in her third year as director of bands at Jane Addams Middle School in north Seattle.