The Faith West Fine Arts faculty is ready to instill a love for the arts in your child.
- Mr. Flenoyd Turner, Band Program Director
- Mrs. Carren Ellis, JH & HS Choir Director, 6th Grade Choir Director, 4th & 5th Grade Music Teacher
- Mr. Daniel Barrett, JH & HS Theatre Classes, Theatre Performance
- Mr. George Jolliff, Photography
- Ms. Kerri Beckman, Elementary and Secondary Art
- Ms. Grace Hood, PK-3rd Music Director
- Mrs. Kim Maxwell, JH Band Director, HS Assistant Band Director
Mr. Turner’s Story
Instrumental music has played an important part of my life. I became a believer in Jesus Christ as my Savior when I was about ten years old. It was about that time when I joined the band as a fifth grader. The reason I joined the band at that time was because a buddy of mine said I could get out of regular class for an hour. That sounded good to me. As I look back, I really think the Lord was directing that situation. I continued on into high school where I started taking private lessons and excelled very quickly making All State the last two years.
At summer band camp I learned much and got to know many students from different parts of the state and met many college and university band directors. As a result, I was offered scholarships in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. The Lord directed me to the University of Houston where I had the opportunity to play many times as an extra with the Houston Symphony, New York Ballet, Corpus Christi Symphony, and others. I had the opportunity to play under the direction of many famous conductors, for example, Sir John Barbirolli, Malcolm Sargent, Andre Previn, and Arthur Fiedler.
While I was in college, I attended a small Bible Church where I led the music and also where I met my wife. After college I move to a larger Bible Church where I was involved with the music program playing my instrument, leading children and adult choirs, as well as orchestra.
I started teaching band in 1966 in the Spring Branch ISD, first at Spring Forest Junior High and then at Memorial High School. After several years away from the band field, in 2007 the Lord led me to Faith West Academy.
The Lord has been involved in all of my music pursuits and has blessed me with a talent and gifts. Because of my history, I find such joy in spending time with students asking the Lord to show us what instrument He has in mind for that student. The Lord knows the future and path of each of my students and I want to ensure I mentor them in seeking God’s guidance for their lives and their art.
I praise the Lord for the privilege of teaching instrumental music in a setting where He is honored and praised with no restrictions.
Mrs. Ellis’s Story
It is a marvelous privilege to lead students in song! I began teaching in the Alief school district in 1989 after receiving my BS in Education from Baylor University. Since then, I have taught in several private & public school settings, including Katy ISD, and I have gained much valuable insight by teaching every single grade level, from Kindergarten through 12th grade seniors! Wow!
Several of my years included self-contained classroom teaching, which was wonderful experience, but my passion is Music & Choir. I believe that music education is a crucial part of the development of the whole person, and that music plays a vital part in the worship of our Heavenly Father. Therefore, music has great inherent value! I believe that singing is simply good for the soul. It always amuses me when students leave my classroom at the end of class, and I continue to hear them singing down the sidewalk!
Through the elementary classes & in our JH & HS choirs, I seek not only to train students in the mechanics of singing, but also to teach strong musicianship skills through musical games, recorder instruction, movement & dance, theory lessons, and through fun learning experiences with our new Orff instruments! The music room is a fun place to be, and my personal opinion is that music is the very best subject to teach!
I believe that the study of music teaches various life lessons: commitment, working together, achieving a goal, and creating a work of beauty through hard work and diligence. It provides an opportunity to learn discipline, and a challenge to achieve excellence. It gives joy to both the listener and the singer alike. In worship, it pleases our Creator! The Bible tells us that the Almighty Himself sings…“…He will rejoice over you with singing.” ~ Zephaniah 3:17. Thus, music is an activity of heaven!
In addition to teaching music & choir, I also teach private piano lessons, and I try to stay current in the profession by attending music workshops and TMEA clinics, adjudicating at vocal contests, and working with students to participate in the Texas All-State Process through the Small School Chorus. In any free time left over, I enjoy reading and traveling with my husband of 27 years. We have two sons … a 23-year-old now working in Denver, CO, and a 20-year-old college student at Pepperdine University. They definitely make my heart sing!
Mr. Barrett’s Story
Epic backyard productions with neighborhood kids and marionette puppet shows in the garage started Daniel James Barrett’s love for theater and performing. He did not begin formal acting until junior high with a production of Brigadoon. Daniel acted all throughout junior high and high school. He was saved as a junior in high school and had the opportunity to attend a Christian school for his senior year. It was there that the Lord gave him two great teachers for Speech and History and clearly showed Daniel that he could use his talents for the Lord through education. He attended Bob Jones University and was selected, as a freshman, to be on the Truth In Action Drama Team. During his second semester of sophomore year, he and the team traveled the southern states. His senior project was Flowers For Algernon. Daniel graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Education with a minor in history.
He wrote and directed an original play for his Master’s production. It is called Listen to the Silence which was published and filmed for Bob Jones University Press. Daniel was in charge of the student theater and taught freshman Speech while he worked on his Master of Arts degree in Dramatic Productions.
Upon graduation, Daniel entered three different areas of education and teaching opportunities. First, he taught in traditional classrooms for three different schools. He taught in Tampa, FL, West Hartford, CT, and Memphis, TN. He was the Fine Arts Director at these schools where he directed all the plays, musicals, and concerts. He also had national winners in duet acting, oral interpretation, and poetry.
Second phase, Daniel worked at Walt Disney World for seven years, mainly in the education department. He developed programming for Youth Education Series (Y.E.S.) programs, Disney Institute, and Camp Disney. He also created programming for the Disney Institute Team and Professional Development programs. He helped create the first day training class for the Magic Kingdom Human Resources department. Daniel also became very good friends with Tigger.
Third phase brought Daniel to Knoxville, TN for ten years. The Lord did not let him teach in the conventional classroom but in community theaters. He acted or directed for the Oak Ridge Playhouse, Foothills Community Players, Theater Knoxville, and Caritas Players. Daniel also was asked to be a company member of The WordPlayers, a Christian theater company. It was during this time that Daniel had more time to perform. Some of his favorite roles were Dr. Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace, Rev. Paris in The Crucible, Matthew Clark in Twentieth Century, Mr. Kirby in You Can’t Take It With You, Baker in Into The Woods, and Wilbur Turnblad in Hairspray. Daniel was cast in his first national commercial which was for DIY Network.
All these phases of life were in preparation for his return to the traditional classroom. He spent two years in California where he grew as a teacher in the art of acting. All of these experiences have prepared Daniel to be here at Faith West Academy.
Mr. Jolliff’s Story
George Jolliff has filled key roles in government training (Department of Labor), private sector training and Marketing (AT&T), youth ministry, advertising, public (K-undergraduate) and private education for over forty-five years.
After George graduated from Southwest Missouri State University with a BS Ed-Art Comprehensive, specializing in the psychology of learning, he accepted his first position of teaching art near Jefferson City, Missouri. In Jefferson City he served on the State Curriculum Review Board for Art Education. After his brief teaching experience, he was called to active duty and served in the U.S. Army two years as a combat cinematographer for the Department of Defense while in Vietnam and other Asian countries. George has a Master of Science in Education-Curriculum Design with statistical research study “Media-An Influence on Learning,” from the University of Missouri, Columbia. He has also studied film arts at the University of California at Berkeley. George has a Life Teaching Certification (K-12) from Missouri. He is currently a member of the Houston Center for Photography and the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.
George believes education is a lifelong process and is a lifelong learner himself. He firmly believes it is the duty of Christian Education to be constant with God’s (Biblical) truth. It is the duty of the instructor to encourage growth in Christian character. The student must be challenged to integrate knowledge with spiritual values. George has taught Bible, photography, and journalism while serving as Director of Marketing for ten years at Faith West Academy. His students have won numerous state competitions in newspaper, yearbook, and photography.
He, his wife (Marilyn), and two adult children are members of Second Baptist Church-West Campus where he serves as a Deacon and technical contributor for the Winning Walk production team. He enjoys being with family, his Siberian Husky, and traveling.
Mrs. Hood’s Story
“Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.” (Psalm 147:1) This verse sums up my heart and passion for music and worship. Music has been a part of my life from the time I was a little girl. I grew up singing in church youth ensembles and choirs. Music has always been a way for me to draw close to God. The bible says that “He inhabits praises.”
In 1996, I received a BS in Education from Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. Afterwards, I taught Kindergarten and music for both public and private schools. While at Delta State, I had the privilege of singing in the university’s Delta Choral. This was quite an honor for me considering I was one of only a few non-vocal majors selected to the Choral. I was also a vocalist for the Baptist Student Union’s ensemble for three years. It was during my freshman year that my heart for leading worship was birthed. I was asked to lead worship at the BSU’s weekly student service. We started with an acoustic guitar player and me. After my third year, we had expanded to a full band. Over the past 20 years of leading worship, God has blessed me with many amazing opportunities including: building a youth worship band, building and leading a worship band for a start-up church, being one of the lead, female worship leaders at the largest church in the New Orleans area, and being the guest worship leader for several women’s retreats as well as churches in Texas and Illinois.
Music and worship are my passions. I am so thankful I have the opportunity to share this with the Faith West pre-school – third grade students! Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto me, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Mrs. Maxwell’s Story
My musical career started with a prayer request. I prayed for piano lessons when I was six years old. God answered that prayer and, just like that, I was in love with music! Growing up I was always fascinated with the sound of wind instruments, so it was no surprise when I wanted to join the band. In sixth grade I was chosen to play trombone because I had long arms that allowed me to reach 6th position and I could already play low Bb, F, and high Bb. I earned a Bachelor of Music Education and a Master of Music in Trombone Performance from Stephen F. Austin State University. While studying at SFASU I was graduate assistant and was a member of various ensembles including the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Marching Band, Pep Band, chamber music groups, musicals, and the faculty brass quintet.
In 1995 I was hired to be the Assistant Band Director at Spring Forest Middle School in Spring Branch ISD. Ironically, this is the same school where Mr. Turner started his teaching career! After ten years at Spring Forest, I taught private lessons in surrounding school districts and then had my daughter, Molly. I was blessed to be a stay-at-home Mommy through her Kindergarten year in 2012-2013. During her time in first grade I went back to teaching lessons again during her school day. In the Spring of 2014 I began looking for the perfect job and God led me right to Faith West Academy. I am enjoying being in charge of the Junior High School Band and assisting Mr. Turner with the Beginning Band, Intermediate Band, and High School Band.
It is so exciting to be working in a Godly environment where our classes are guided by God’s Word. Learning to play an instrument and playing in an ensemble is an amazing experience. Students learn so many life lessons: discipline, perseverance, responsibility, how to manage stage fright, improve concentration, and even strengthen the math and language centers in the brain. Applying scripture to these life lessons reinforces the importance of God’s Word in our everyday lives. Of course the sheer enjoyment of the music itself is priceless! Making music is truly a gift from God and we want to honor Him in all we do.