Carisa Velez (Niemeyer)
Mrs. Velez is currently in her eighth year as the Head Director of Choirs at Forest Meadow Junior High in the Richardson ISD, serving previously as associate director for five years. In addition to directing choirs at Forest Meadow, Mrs. Velez works with colleagues and choirs at Lake Highlands High School, Lake Highlands Freshman Center, and the area elementary schools. On her campus, Mrs. Velez is the NJHS sponsor, a mentor teacher, and was selected as Teacher of the Month in 2009 and FMJH PTA’s Teacher Excellence for the 2012-2013 school year. In addition, Mrs. Velez was humbled and honored to be named a STARS teacher for RISD the 2014-2015 school year.
Mrs. Velez holds a BBA in Finance, Summa Cum Laude, and BA in Music, Summa Cum Laude, from Texas Tech University. While at Texas Tech, she was a member of University Choir as well as Madrigal Singers and was selected to be an Ambassador for the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Beyond her collegiate studies, Mrs. Velez has completed all four levels of coursework for her Kodály Certification at the West Texas Kodály Institute and is a member of TMEA and the Secretary/Treasurer of TCDA.
Kelsey Reinhart is currently serving in her third year of teaching as the Assistant Director of Choirs at Forest Meadow Junior High in Richardson ISD. She graduated from Texas Tech University in December 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree of Music, including a double major in composition and music education. First published by TFS Music Publications in 2012 for her piece "Irish Blessing", Kelsey has since published various works with Hal Leonard Publications. Additionally, several of her pieces have been included in TCDA new music reading sessions. Mrs. Reinhart is tremendously grateful to have received the following prestigious awards: the 2017 Raymond W. Brock Student Composition Competition and the 2017 Ruth Boshkoff Composition Prize; where she was also commissioned to write a piece for the O.A.K.E. National Youth Choir.
A product of Lake Highlands, Mrs. Reinhart was active in choir and band throughout her junior high and high school careers and is excited to be back home!