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Mike Bearden, Director of Bands
Mike Bearden Headshot.jpg

Mike Bearden, Director for Bands for Ola High School in McDonough, GA is a native of Newnan, GA.  Mr. Bearden oversees all aspects of the Ola Band Program including The Marching Mustangs, three wind ensembles, jazz ensemble, percussion ensemble, and winterguard. He received a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Valdosta State University and a Master of Music Degree in Instrumental Conducting from Reinhardt University. 


Prior to Ola High School Mr. Bearden served as the Fine Arts Department Chair and Director of Bands at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia.  The North Paulding Band Program included a 200-member marching band, four wind ensembles, jazz ensemble, percussion ensembles, indoor percussion, and winterguard.  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 off 2013 and continued that success through his tenure.  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 received numerous invitational performances that included the 2014 Kennesaw State University’s Department of Music Concert Band Invitational, the 2017 University of Alabama Honor Band Festival, the 2018 University of Georgia JanFest Honor Band, the 2019 Reinhardt University Honor Band, and most notably, the 2019 Georgia Music Educators Association’s Annual In-service.  In 2013, North Paulding High School was represented in the Georgia Music Educators Association’s All State Band for the first time in the school’s history.  Many students each school year participated in regional honor bands, district honor bands, and the Paulding County Honor Band. 


Prior appointments also include Associate Director of Bands at Hiram High School in Hiram, GA, Co-Director at Creekview High School in Canton, GA, Director of Bands at Stockbridge High School in Stockbridge, GA, Port St. Lucie High School in Port St. Lucie, FL, Okeechobee High School in Okeechobee, FL, and Yearling Middle School in Okeechobee, FL. 


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’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.  


Mr. Bearden was awarded a Citation of Excellence by The National Band Association for outstanding contribution to bands and band music in 2017, 2018, and 2019. 


Mr. Bearden resides in McDonough, GA with his lovely wife Robbye and handsome sons Michael, Christian, and Jackson.

Jake Williams, Assistant Director of Bands

Jake Williams is an enthusiastic percussionist, composer, and music educator from Huntsville, Alabama. In 2021, Mr. Williams graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Music Education. While attending Auburn, Mr. Williams was an active member of the percussion studio under Dr. Doug Rosener and performed in many ensembles, including the Auburn University Marching Band, the Auburn University Percussion Ensemble, and the Auburn University Concert Band.


Before coming to Ola High School, Mr. Williams held the positions of Assistant Band Director and Percussion Director for Benjamin Russell High School in Alexander City, Alabama, from 2022 to 2024. Before this, he served in the same roles for Appling County Schools in Baxley, Georgia, during the 2021-2022 school year. Under his guidance, bands and percussion sections have consistently excelled, receiving superior ratings at all marching contests and state assessments.


As a composer and arranger, Mr. Williams' pieces have been performed by multiple groups and ensembles across the Southeast. His piece “Aurora”, for large percussion ensemble, was premiered by the Auburn Percussion Ensemble in Spring 2021. Mr. Williams has composed and arranged for multiple high school marching and concert percussion sections in Alabama and Georgia, including Appling County High School, Benjamin Russell High School, and Chelsea High School.


In his free time, Mr. Williams enjoys hiking and traveling to new and exciting destinations. He also enjoys watching sports, cheering on his Auburn Tigers and hometown soccer and baseball teams, Huntsville City FC and the Rocket City Trash Pandas. Mr. Williams is also an avid reader and has begun a rapidly expanding home library.


Mr. Williams is an active member of NAFME, the Alabama and Georgia Music Educators Association, the Alabama Bandmasters Association, and the Percussive Arts Society.


Mr. Williams is excited to join the team and get started with the Ola Bands!

Devin Conner, Color Guard Director

Devin Conner has been a performer in the pageantry arts since 2016 and has been an educator since 2018. Marching experience includes Central Carroll High School (16-18), Spirit of Atlanta (18-19), Paramount (19), Reverie (20), The Cavaliers (22), and Noir Independent (23). Through his teaching career he has taught a variety of schools and levels, ranging from Middle School to College.

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