Oak Grove High School

Mr. Mike Howell

Mike Howell is beginning his fifth year as the band director at Oak Grove High School.  The Oak Grove School Community includes the first new middle and high schools built in Davidson County in over 30 years.  Before being given the opportunity to start the band program at OGHS, he served as the first director at Oak Grove Middle School.  Since opening in the fall of 2012, the band has grown from 140 students to over 400 in grades 6 - 12!  Before coming to Oak Grove, Mike was the band director at Ledford High School (2004-2012), Ledford Middle School (2002-2004) and Lexington Middle School (1996-2002) all of which received numerous awards under his leadership.

Mike is a native of “Eastern North Carolina” (Martin County) and graduated from Jamesville High School in 1992.  He attended the University of North Carolina – Greensboro where he was a member of the Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Trumpet Ensemble, having studied trumpet with Dr. Ed Bach and conducting with Dr. John Locke.  He completed his student teaching at Ledford Middle and High School with Phillip Riggs and Charles Simpson.  Mike earned his Bachelor of Music in Education in 1996.

A North Carolina Teaching Fellow, Mike is also a member of the National Band Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Professional Music Fraternity, the Northwest District Bandmasters Association, the National Association for Music Education, the North Carolina Association of Educators and has been a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certified teacher since 2004.  Mike has conducted honor bands in Rowan, Alamance, Stokes, and Surry Counties.  He also served on the staff of UNCG Summer Music Camp from 1993 – 1997 as a rehearsal assistant and as a band conductor from 1998 until 2005.  He currently serves as treasurer and as a past chairman of the Northwest District Bandmasters Association.

Mike lives in Huntsville (Yadkin County) with his wife Shannon, and son Jason.  His daughter Lauren is a sophomore at Appalachian State, pursuing a degree in Sociology with a concentration in criminology and law.

Oak Grove Middle School

Mr. Matt Liner

A graduate of Appalachian State University, Matt Liner is currently in his 21st year of teaching and is the band director at Oak Grove Middle School in Davidson County, North Carolina.

Ensembles under Mr. Liner’s direction have received consistent superior ratings at the district/region concert and jazz band evaluations. Each year, numerous students from his program regularly qualify for membership in county, district, region and all-state honors concert band and jazz band ensembles. His students have also had consistent participation in the district solo and ensemble music performance adjudication.

Mr. Liner has had the honor of conducting several honors jazz/concert band clinics and has adjudicated marching and concert band competitions/festivals/MPA’s across the southeast. Matt has also had the privilege of instructing three ensembles that have performed at the North Carolina Music Educator Association Annual Professional Development Conference.
Matt was a member of the world championship finalist Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps and was a part of the corps’ instructional staff. As a marching arts visual designer, Mr. Liner writes for several ensembles across the Carolinas.
In 2011 Mr. Liner was selected as the Band Director of the Year by the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Band Directors Association. He is also the 2013-2014 recipient of the Northwest District Bandmasters Association Award of Excellence and the 2019-2020 recipient of the North Carolina Music Educators Association Jazz Section West Region Educator of the Year.
Matt has served as a member of the board of directors for the Northwest District Bandmasters Association and is currently the organization’s chairman elect. Mr. Liner is the current chairman of the North Carolina Band Director’s Association Marching Band Committee. Matt is also a past-chairman for the North Carolina Music Educators Association Jazz Section. Mr. Liner’s professional affiliations include the National Association for Music Education, North Carolina Music Educators Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and the American School Band Directors Association.
Matt, his wife Laura, and their four-year-old daughter Naomi, reside in Lexington, NC with their cat Harvey.