North Hall High School has a new band director.
The public announcement came just one day after news reports of former band director Alan Keith Kirkland’s “inappropriate relationship” with a female student.
Kirkland resigned just days before the end of the school year when school administrators confronted him about the relationship. Last Wednesday, Hall County Schools sent a letter to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission about the matter.
By Tuesday, it was time to move on, said North Hall Principal Joe Gheesling.
“Mr. Kirkland is gone and is old news,” he said. “I have to move ahead and can’t dwell on that. I need to continue to educate these kids and can’t keep looking back.”
Gheesling chose Kevin Carwile, who served as orchestra director and assistant band director at Central Gwinnett High School for 10 years. He started at Central Gwinnett after completing a master’s degree at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago with a bass and jazz emphasis, and a bachelor’s degree at Georgia State University in woodwinds. Carwile is married to Jennifer Carwile, band director at J.E. Richards Middle School in Gwinnett County, and they have an 18-month-old son.
At Central Gwinnett, Carwile focused on marching band, indoor drumline, the percussion ensemble and jazz band, and he taught music technology. He applied to the North Hall position “looking for a change” and hopes to bring his expertise to the school to enrich the award-winning program.
“This fall we’ll do a fun show and still be competitive,” he said. “So far, we have about 96 students in marching band, and I met a lot of them last week at a meet and greet. It was more than welcoming, and they made me feel at home. I want to continue the successes of the program.”
Carwile declined to comment about filling the band director position after Kirkland’s departure.
Gheesling chose Carwile from about 80 applications and said he “looked at several things and went far beyond musical acumen.”
“I wanted the person who could best relate to the students, and he was someone who had the moral compass to provide a good example to the students,” Gheesling said Tuesday afternoon. “He came in very confident about the position, had a good sense of self, knew what the expectations of the position were and expressed several times his strong faith.”
The applications ranged from recent University of Georgia music graduates to directors with more than 30 years of experience.
Gheesling interviewed around five candidates, and Carwile “stood head and shoulders” above the others, he said.
“At the meet and greet, I told him I didn’t expect to speak or have any part in the program,” Gheesling said. “The way he answered questions and presented ideas was extremely professional and articulate.”