Dr. Ben ShafferDirector of Bands
Dr. Shaffer is in his seventh year of teaching at Wayside Middle School. He has taught for four years as the assistant band director and will begin his third year as the head director of the Wayside Wildcat Band. Previously, Dr. Shaffer was the instructor of trumpet, brass pedagogy, brass literature, and music history at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and North Central Texas College. He also taught private trumpet lessons to middle and high school students.
Dr. Shaffer completed his undergraduate degree in music education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). He then attended Ohio University and earned his Master of Music degree in trumpet performance while teaching trumpet methods. His final degree in trumpet performance came from The University of North Texas where he taught brass methods and pedagogy.
Dr. Shaffer lives in Saginaw with his wife (who is a band director at Ed Willkie Middle School) and his twin daughters Olivia and Adeline! He loves to fly fish, golf, read, watch anything involving Pittsburgh sports teams (he grew up in Pennsylvania), and being with his family!!!
Dr. Shaffer teaches all beginning brass classes, leads the Honor Band, and co-teaches the Concert Band.
Taylor GaskinsAssistant Director of Bands
Taylor Gaskins, originally from Austin, Texas, is excited to begin her third year at Wayside Middle School. Miss Gaskins holds a Bachelors of Music in Music Education from the University of North Texas. At UNT, she performed and recorded with the Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band on both Bb and bass clarinet and was a member of the North Texas Green Brigade for three years, serving as the Student Assistant for Marketing and Student Engagement for two. Miss Gaskins performed the world premiere of Lisa Neher's “Gulper” for solo clarinet in 2018, taught private lessons in Ponder ISD and Melissa ISD, and was a member of the Timber Creek High School Band’s (Keller ISD) visual staff in 2018.
When she is not at work, Miss Gaskins enjoys learning new instruments, writing and reading, replicating her grandmother’s pie recipes, and spending time with friends and family.
Miss Gaskins’ professional affiliations include the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Bandmasters Association, Young Band Directors of Texas, Mu Phi Epsilon, and Pi Kappa Lambda. Gaskins is the 2018 recipient of TBA’s Malcolm Helm Memorial Scholarship and the 2015 recipient of the TMEA Executive Board Scholarship.
Miss Gaskins teaches all beginning woodwind classes, leads the Symphonic Band, and co-teaches the Concert Band.
Stuart SpoonDirector of Percussion
Stuart is an educator, clinician, and performer in the DFW area. He currently serves as Assistant Director of Bands and Director of Percussion at Boswell High School, instructing the front ensemble, percussion ensemble, and winter drumline, as well as the Boswell Sub Non-Varsity band. Stuart is a graduate of Texas A&M-Commerce, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance and studying with Brian West, Paul Rennick, Nate Buonviri, Kennan Wylie and Michael Varner.
Throughout his career, Stuart’s ensembles have achieved multiple championship titles and awards. His marching ensembles have placed first at numerous competitions, including the Plano, Crowley and Lone Star Drumline Competitions, and have twice been named North Texas Drumline Association (NTCA) Grand Champions. Under Stuart’s direction, his concert percussion ensembles have achieved multiple division 1 ratings at Texas State Solo & Ensemble, won the call for tapes and performed at the 2009 Music For All National Percussion Festival, and performed with guest artists Michael Burritt, Steve Smith, Lalo Davila and Ignacio Berroa. In addition, Stuart is the founder and director of Network Percussion Ensemble, an international touring group that offers its students the opportunity to perform on a world stage. In 2011, the group traveled to Sydney, Australia, to perform a showcase concert at the world-renowned Sydney Opera House; future tours include Spain and Brazil.
Stuart has also spent over twenty years in the drum and bugle corps activity, as a member, instructor, caption head, arranger and program coordinator. He marched Lone Star Drum & Bugle Corps from 1993 until aging out in 1997. After that, he spent ten years on the percussion and program staff at Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps, followed by three years with Revolution Drum & Bugle Corps as a consultant and, later, the Program & Staff Coordinator. In his spare time, Stuart performs with a funk-shuffle band, Kalumet, in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
The last eight years at Boswell have been amazing! We have had so much success and have really changed the landscape on how percussion education is perceived. Since 2011 Boswell has been a 2-time state drumline champion as well as Nationally ranked drumline. Over the last three years, we have placed in the top 20 in the country. The 2019-2020 season is in full swing and we look forward to more great things from the BPD.
Stuart proudly endorses Zildjian Cymbals and Vic Firth sticks and mallets.