by Aubree Weaver
Jim Leatherwood is a very outgoing teacher. Inside and outside of school and at the football games, students and the community can see that he has a lot of passion and that he wants to do everything he can for the students.
“Mr.Leatherwood will pull out his alto saxophone and play along with us during the stand tunes,” said junior Madison Pulley. “He is a teacher that focuses on learning by doing and hearing. Also, he does the soul train dance line with us, which was awesome. He always does what’s best for the band. Brevard is lucky to have him.”
Leatherwood is the newest band director. He attended Western Carolina University and has an undergrad and master’s degree in music education. He taught in Graham County, Charlotte and Germany.
Outside of school Leatherwood enjoys hiking, being outdoors, and spending time with his family.
His inspiring band directors led him to his interest in band. Leatherwood said the most rewarding thing about his job is when students come together with energy that elevates them to levels of joy.
“The kids are more challenged,” said Brian Wilson, the drum line director. “And not only does the staff feel like they are more challenged, but the students are too.”
Students feel that challenge and are rising to meet Leatherwood’s expectations.
“I used to be a quiet player,” Pulley said. “I switched to lower instruments that would have parts that were not as important as the melody. But this year he put me on another instrument that has to be amplified to hear. Therefore everyone hears my sound and depends on me for the beat and melody. He puts me outside my comfort zone musically and now I can help improve the band even more. He helped me step by step and continues to help me every day to be the best I can be.”
With new equipment, musical styles and uniforms, the band is moving in a new direction. Wilson is very excited about the new teaching style Leatherwood brings.
“He is a talented and creative,” Wilson said. “He is going to take the kids musically far and inspire them.”