Staff

M. Bearden Jr., Director of Bands at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia, is a native of Newnan, Georgia.  Mr. Bearden oversees all aspects of the North Paulding Band Program including a 200 member marching band, four wind ensembles, jazz ensemble, percussion ensembles, indoor percussion, and winterguard.  He received a Bachelor’s of Music Education Degree from Valdosta State University and a Masters of Music Degree in Instrumental Conducting from Reinhardt University having studied with Dr. David Gregory and Dr. Tom Fraschillo; both nationally known conductors and educators.

The North Paulding High School Bands have received superior ratings at all adjudicated events including the first Grand Champion award in the program’s history during the fall of 2013 and has continued that tradition since.  The Wolfpack Pride has also appeared in the Children’s Healthcare Parade of Atlanta numerous times and the 2016 Outback Bowl game and parade.  The North Paulding High School Wind Symphony participated in the 2014 Kennesaw State University’s Department of Music Concert Band Invitational and the 2017 University of Alabama Honor Band Festival.   In 2013, North Paulding High School was represented in the Georgia Music Educators Association’s All State Band for the first time in school history.  Many students each year school year participate in regional honor bands, district honor bands, and all county honor band.

Mr. Bearden most recently has served as Director of Bands at Stockbridge High School in Stockbridge, GA where he conducted the Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, and Percussion Ensemble.

Mr. Bearden has also served as Director of Bands for Port St. Lucie High School in Port St. Lucie, Fl where he conducted The Marching Jaguar Band, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, and Percussion Ensemble. While under his leadership, the Port St. Lucie High School Marching Band and Concert Band programs consistently received straight superior ratings at all performance evaluations, competitions, and festivals attended by the program.  Most notable appearance for the PSLHS Band was the 2007 Orange Bowl Parade, Marching Competition, and Bowl Game where the Marching Jaguars placed first in class AAA and performed in the 2007 Orange Bowl Halftime festivities.  Mr. Bearden’s concert programs consistently qualified for the state level of the Florida Bandmasters Association’s Music Performance Assessment.

Prior to Port St. Lucie High School, Mr. Bearden served as Director of Bands for Yearling Middle School and Assistant Director of Bands for Okeechobee High School located in Okeechobee, FL.  Under his leadership, both successfully received superior ratings at all performance evaluations, competitions, and festivals attended by the program.

As a composer, arranger, and drill designer, Mr. Bearden has compositions published by Grand Mesa Publications.  He currently has compositions on the Middle School Solo & Ensemble required performance list in Florida.  Mr. Bearden is owner and head arranger/drill designer for MIKE BEARDEN MUSIC AND DRILL DESIGN where he designs marching band shows for bands across Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, and Arizona.

While in Florida, Mr. Bearden served as District Chairman for the Florida Bandmasters Association overseeing all aspects of district business for District 13 of the Florida Bandmasters Association.  While serving as a District Chair for the Florida Bandmasters Association, he also served on the state executive board.

Mr. Bearden’s professional affiliations include memberships with Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Pi Kappa Lamda, Alpha Chi National Honor Society, Georgia Music Educators Association, Florida Bandmasters Association, Florida Music Educators Association, United States School Band Association, the National Band Association, and the National Association for Music Educators and has been invited to participate as a staff member with the 2018 Georgia Ambassadors of Music European Music Tour.

Mr. Bearden was awarded in 2017 a Citation of Excellence by The National Band Association for outstanding contribution to bands and band music.

Mr. Bearden resides in Canton, Georgia with his lovely wife Robbye and handsome sons Michael (12), Christian (9), and Jackson (5).


Stan Phillips is currently in his third year as Assistant Band Director at North Paulding High School. He is the Director of the Symphonic Band I and the Concert Band. Since arriving at North Paulding, the bands have consistently received Superior ratings at the District’s Large Group Performance Evaluation. Mr. Phillips has also helped the Wolfpack Pride marching band further its success with multiple grand championships and high honors at marching competitions around the state.

Mr. Phillips obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Georgia in 2007. During this time, he studied under Professor David Zerkel. He performed with the Wind Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Symphonic and Concert Bands, the Redcoat Marching band, and the Tuba Euphonium Ensemble.

Highly active in the marching arts, Mr. Phillips has assisted numerous bands in Georgia and Alabama since 2003. He has also performed with several drum and bugle corps on tuba including Carolina Crown, the Blue Devils, and Atlanta CV.

For the past ten years, Mr. Phillips has also been composing and arranging music for Countermotion, Inc. Between Countermotion and freelancing, he has written works primarily for marching bands as well as small orchestral works for various ensembles across the United States.

Mr. Phillips’ professional affiliations include NAfME and GMEA and he currently resides in Dallas, GA.


Joseph Stephens, a native of Newnan, Georgia graduated from East Coweta High School in 2009. He attended Jacksonville State University where he obtained a bachelors in Music Education and having studied under Dr. Ken Bodiford, Clint Gillespie, Dr. Tony McCutchen, and Chris Lindley.

During his tenure at Jacksonville State, Mr. Stephens was a member of the Marching Southerners. He was appointed drum captain during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. While attending JSU, he performed with numerous ensembles within the department of music. Mr. Stephens has also marched with various independent ensembles including Odyssey Percussion Theater in 2009, Terminus Atlanta Percussion in 2011, Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps in 2013, and Atlanta Quest in 2014.

Mr. Stephens instructional experience includes numerous scholastic groups throughout Georgia and Alabama including East Coweta High School, Hillgrove High School, North Cobb High School, Carrollton High School, Baldwin High School, Albertville High School, Buford High School, Gilmer County High School, Jacksonville High School, Calera High School, Shelby County High School, and St. Clair County High School.

Mr. Stephens is currently an Assistant Director/Percussion Director at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia and serves as the Battery Coordinator for the DCA Open Class Finalist Atlanta CV Drum and Bugle Corps.

Mr. Stephens is currently endorsed by Dynasty USA and Bergerault percussion instruments and Vic Firth sticks and mallets.


Taylor Thompson, a native of Villa Rica, Ga and graduated from Villa Rica High School in 2011. While participating in Villa Rica High School’s marching program, Taylor also ventured outside of his school’s program to participate in various small and local independent percussion ensembles.

After high school, Taylor attended the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Ga where he received a bachelor’s in Marketing and Public Relations. While still in college, Taylor began spending his summers with The Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps and his winters with Music City Mystique.

After aging-out of the marching activity, Taylor continues to teach various high school programs as well as The Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps and Equinox Percussion/Palmetto Percussion. Taylor also merged his college education and music education by working as the Media Marketing Coordinator for The Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps during the summer of 2016.

This is Taylor’s first year as the Front Ensemble Coordinator for North Paulding High School.


Alex Naughton is the Guard Director at North Paulding High School. He is a native of Newnan, GA, but currently resides in Woodstock, GA. Mr. Naughton has a background in theatre and performing arts and started performing color guard in school. He graduated from East Coweta High School in 2015 and currently attends Kennesaw State University. He has performed with Atlanta CV and won a gold medal in DCI with the Bluecoats and is still in the color guard with them to this day. He has also competed at a national level in winter guard at WGI with Reverie Independent. He has made a finals appearance the past 3 years. Mr. Naughton has also worked with Flowery Branch High School and Flowery Branch High School JV winterguard. He has learned from Hall of Famers Jon Vanderkolff and Jim Moore, along with instruction by Greg Lagola, Shavon Garcia, Carol Abohatab, Kathy Pearson, and Lauren Drislane.


Elijah White, Assistant Guard Director, is originally from a small town in upper East Tennessee called, Limestone. Elijah started his love for music and the marching arts in 6th grade when he became a woodwind instrumentalist for his middle school band program – West View Elementary. He carried his love for music and marching into high school at Sullivan South High School in Kingsport, TN.  There, Elijah marched and played for the Mighty Rebel Band during both the marching and concert seasons for two years. Shortly after seeing his first DCI show in 2009, Elijah fell in love with the beauty, artistry, and precision of color guard. He started color guard as a junior and marched for two years both during the fall and winter seasons at Sullivan South High School. As captain, he took his high school’s winterguard to 1st place in circuit AA during his senior year.  Elijah started marching DCI as a 16 year-old junior in high school with the world class drum and bugle corps, Spirit of Atlanta from Atlanta, GA.  Elijah continued his passion for DCI over the next 5 summers marching Spirit of Atlanta during 2012, 2013, and 2015 seasons. Elijah also traveled to Santa Clara, CA where he marched with the Santa Clara Vanguard during the 2014 season. Elijah aged out in 2016  marching and performing his final season with the 17 time world-class champions from Concord, California – The Blue Devils.

Elijah has an extensive WGI background that includes Étude Winterguard in 2014, Paramount World Winterguard in 2015 and 2016.  Elijah currently resides in Atlanta, GA where he is pursuing a degree at Georgia State University in Global Communications with a minor in Dance.