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Music-Loving Alum Turned Passion Into Profession Assistant band director enhanced his music leadership skills at NLU

3 - CopyBefore Willie Snipes Jr.  came to NLU to earn his M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision in 2010, he made history at the college where he obtained his bachelor’s degree. He was the first recipient of a degree in music from Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama. Today he is still bringing music to his (first) alma mater.

Snipes’ interest in music came at an early age, which helped him to stay focused and out of trouble while he was growing up. From then on, music played a key role in the trajectory of his life.

In high school, Snipes’ band director helped him qualify for a scholarship to Miles College. And when a degree in biology turned out to be the wrong pursuit for Snipes, the academic staff at Miles helped him to graduate with a degree in music instead.

During a rewarding career as a band director at Van Buren Middle School, Snipes’ colleague encouraged him to take success a step further by honing his educational leadership skills at National Louis. When he started the program, Snipes quickly realized he was the only student with a music background enrolled in the NLU Master of Education program. Not content to let any student feel out of place, Stuart Carrier, Ph.D., Program Coordinator for Educational Leadership at the Florida campus, was there to encourage Snipes. In fact, the NLU faculty always cheered him on, Snipes recalled, and that made a lasting impact.

Now Snipes is the Assistant Director for Bands at Miles College, leading band clinics and high school camps, offering his expertise as a marching band judge across four states and recruiting for the Purple Marching Machine, the Miles College marching band. He’s on the lookout for students that need a bit of extra inspiration, so he can make his own lasting impact on the next generation of lifelong musicians.