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Presentations and activities from ||:Leaders Creating:|| are custom-designed to address the unique challenges facing your organization, with a blend of team-building exercises, experiential learning, group discussions, and keynote presentations. Every workshop is guaranteed to be fun and challenging.

If funding is an issue, please contact us. At LCL, we'll find the win-win.

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Tyson Wooters
LCL Mentor


Tyson has been called an entertainer, a comedian, and most importantly an educator. His life mission is to educate people through humor, shared experiences, and win-wins, about the phenomenal power of helping those around you by activating them to help each other.

Although Tyson spent his first career educating in public schools, colleges, and corporate events, these days he serves educators in the classroom, in personal development, and even in retirement.

Tyson lives in Salem, Oregon. He enjoys travel, scuba diving, and hugging strangers, which he has done in 45 U.S. states and 15 countries.

Gary Rupert
Lead LCL Mentor


Gary L. Rupert was a music educator for 40 years and was most recently the Band Director at Smithsburg High School in Smithsburg, Maryland where his bands consistently achieved Superior ratings at local, state and national levels. He is a sought-after conductor and adjudicator in the areas of symphonic bands and jazz ensembles. An avid blogger whose daily entries are followed by people in over 57 countries, Mr. Rupert is the author of a daily inspirational book for students and teachers, "Today, No Every Day." He is also a sought after speaker on leadership, motivation and creating a positive learning environment.


Mr. Rupert has been named an Outstanding Maryland Music Educator, a Teacher of Excellence in both the Frederick and Washington County public schools, and has been twice nominated as a Disney Teacher of Excellence.

John Franklin
LCL Mentor


John is an educator in music and leadership who also happens to be a band director, a role that he has served for 22 years in a variety of settings including middle school, high school, small college, large state university, and both private and public institutions. His diverse experiences in developing and growing band programs have provided opportunities for John to learn from his students how to help them become effective peer leaders in order to create positive, intentional, and goal-driven band cultures. John’s work as a leadership clinician ranges from self-development and improvement, effective communication and pedagogical skills, and the application of servant leadership in the music ensemble setting. His materials are adaptable for a variety of settings including large and small groups, one-on-one coaching, virtual and in-person clinics, and for both students and educators of all levels.

Dr. Nikki Gross
LCL Mentor


Dr. Nikki Gross serves as the Assistant Director of Athletic Bands at Auburn University. In addition to her work with the Auburn University Marching Band and Basketball Bands, Dr. Gross is an associate conductor for the Concert Band and an instructor of music appreciation.


Prior to her appointment at Auburn she served as Director of Athletic Bands at Indiana State University, marching and concert band director at the University of Dayton, and Assistant Director of Bands at West Virginia University. During her career she has taught courses within the music education curriculum, general music elective courses, and has served as a supervisor for student teachers.


Dr. Gross is active as a guest conductor, clinician, and drill writer and has written for high schools and colleges such as West Virginia University, the University of South Carolina, the University of Dayton, Indiana State University, and Elon University. She serves on the Board of Directors of the John Phillip Sousa Foundation and holds membership in the College Band Director’s National Association. Dr. Gross has also been a staff member with Mid-Atlantic Camps (Richmond, VA) since 1992 and has served as lead instructor for the drum major area since 1998.

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Veronica Juarez
LCL Mentor


Veronica is a communication guru who has taught thousands the art of effective communication in a FUN, high-energy learning environment. She presents research-based methods in ways that are engaging and practical. This award-winning university instructor, wife, and mom-of-four can crack up an audience with her funny stories about life & miscommunication. With over a decade of experience as a public speaker and working in higher education, Veronica has a proven record of helping people create better organizations, workplaces, & families.

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James Keller
LCL Mentor


James is a humble servant-leader with a decade of experience recruiting musicians for the military. He offers an extraordinary course on how to build a sustainable recruiting program for any collegiate band program.

Dr. Zachary E. Shirley
LCL Mentor


Dr. Zachary E. Shirley serves as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leader for Cambium Assessment, Inc. (CAI). In his role, Dr. Shirley oversees the DEI efforts and strategic plans for the company, while also providing training and education around DEI initiatives to members of the organization along with direction and support to the Diversity & Inclusion Council and employee resource groups. Prior to his role at CAI, he served as a Partner Success Manager at Mainstay, where he worked with a portfolio of 28 institutions of higher education. 


Prior to making the pivot into the EdTech industry, Dr. Shirley spent 16 years as an administrator within the field of higher education, with roles focused on student engagement, leadership development, diversity and inclusion initiatives, mentorship initiatives for marginalized populations, and programming. 


A native and current resident of Dallas, Texas, Dr. Shirley earned a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education/English from Paul Quinn College (2005), a Master of Science in Higher Education/Counseling from Texas A&M University-Commerce (2006), and a Doctor of Education in Higher Education from the University of North Texas (2014).

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Paul Richardson
LCL Mentor


AREAS OF EXPERTISE: Program finances/ strategic planning/ effective rehearsal and communication systems/ building a highly effective band staff (including volunteers)


Paul has a strong leadership background in both the marching and business worlds. For 15 years, he held a corporate level director position for one of the nation's fast growing and most successful audio-visual companies while founding and running a world class WGI percussion ensemble, Gateway Percussion.


This unique pedigree has allowed Paul to take lessons from top business leadership concepts and apply them to the marching world. Whether it's budgeting, planning a marching season, or developing systems for a flawlessly run rehearsal with your band staff, Paul brings positive energy and experience to find actionable steps to move your program forward. 


Paul has developed a DCI endorsed program to help DCI / WGI marchers plan for financial success paying for dues in those activities which you can find here:  He has performed with the Blue Stars (1999, 2000), Blue Knights (2001), and taught Magic of Orlando (2004). Paul is a proud Innovative Percussion educator.

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Betsy McCann
LCL Mentor


Betsy McCann is the Assistant Director of Bands and Director of Marching and Athletic Bands at the University of Minnesota. In this position, she directs the “Pride of Minnesota” Marching
Band, conducts the University Band, instructs undergraduate conducting, and manages the comprehensive Athletic Bands program. McCann is the first woman to head a Big Ten Marching
Band and Athletic Bands program. She has guided the program to great success on and off the field, including internationally renowned performances in the Super Bowl LII Halftime Show and World Expo 2020 in Dubai, UAE.

McCann is active nationally as a guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and speaker. She has presented on leadership,  culture, and other topics at a variety of public and private events for students, teachers, and corporate leaders.


Prior to McCann’s appointment at the University of Minnesota, she served as a high school band director in Minnesota and Illinois, teaching in both suburban and rural schools. When not
doing something band-related, McCann can be found triathlon training, cooking, or parenting her two children.

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John Phillips
LCL Mentor


In demand as a conductor, adjudicator and clinician, John Phillips shares his unique brand of music education through workshops with State and Provincial Music Educators’ Associations, the National Association for Music Education, and at the Midwest Band Clinic. He is an Adjunct Professor at Florida Gulf Coast University. Prior to moving to Florida, he taught at the University of Western Ontario, the University of Toronto, and York University.


Phillips has been a clinician for music festivals and events globally, including South America, Europe, Asia, and Indonesia. He regularly guest conducts honour bands across North America. For twenty years he conducted the Wind Ensemble at the National Music Camp of Canada. Most recently he conducted the 2023 Association of Concert Bands convention band.


Phillips has extensive background in Arts Leadership and management. He served as facilitator and course director at the Ontario Educational Leadership Centre for over 20 years. He led a team of arts educators in the review, revision, and implementation of the Ontario Arts Curriculum. He served as Principal for the Arts Teacher in-service programs at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Most recently he served as Artistic Coordinator and General Manager for the Southwest Florida Symphony.


Known for his expertise in the marching arts, Phillips serves as Chief Judge for Bands of America. He has also been Judge Administrator for Drum Corps International since 2000, and was inducted into the DCI Hall of Fame, Class of 2015.

Throughout his career, Phillips has contributed to numerous initiatives with Music for All including the National Concert Festival, the annual Summer Symposium, and the Bands of America Grand Nationals. He is a Conn-Selmer Educational Clinician and on faculty at the Conn-Selmer Institute.

Frank Petrik
LCL Mentor

Frank Petrik is a highly accomplished music educator, celebrated for his exceptional teaching and leadership. With over 24 years of experience in instrumental music, he has made a significant impact on music education in various roles and has earned a reputation as a dynamic and influential Educator.


Frank has led performing ensembles, inspiring students to achieve their full potential. His commitment to fostering an inclusive, safe, and welcoming environment has inspired countless young musicians. Frank's instruction, strategic planning and leadership has led to state, national and international recognition for his students and ensembles, cementing his position as a driving force in the field.


Beyond the classroom, Frank's leadership extends to advocacy and community initiatives. As President Elect of the Oregon Band Directors Association, he spearheads efforts to promote inclusivity, diversity, equity, and access in music education. He has also volunteered as the Chair of the Oregon Music Education Association Advocacy Committee. Moreover, his efforts with the Silverton Harmony Project provides free instruments and individual instruction to underprivileged students, leaving a lasting impact on their lives and aspirations.


Frank Petrik's leadership, coupled with his commitment to music education and the community, continues to inspire and elevate the field of music education.

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