LIZ LEATHERBERRY has served as Band Director at Zionsville West Middle School for the last fifteen years and has loved being a part of the Zionsville community. She has a Masters of Music Education with an emphasis in conducting from Northwestern University and an undergraduate degree from Butler University where she received the Outstanding Instrumental Music Educator Award. At Northwestern University some of her favorite experiences included studying conducting with Mallory Thompson (Director of Bands), clarinet lessons with Laurie Bloom of the Chicago Symphony and a visit to New Orleans to conduct primary source research on the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Miss Leatherberry also received a generous ZEF grant titled “Composers at Work” which supported the commission of a new piece for the 8th grade band called When They Were Kings. The grant also allowed for composer Rick Kirby to visit for the premiere concert and attend class during the day to provide the students with guidance on their own compositions. Miss Leatherberry serves as the advisor for the Tri-M Music Honor Society and has guided the students to share their love of music though events such as Dancing with the Faculty, Karaoke Night, Caroling for Cans, Teacher Appreciation Breakfast and the Young Music Educators Project.
In addition to her teaching duties, Miss Leatherberry plays clarinet in the Indiana Wind Symphony where she served on the board of directors for three years and currently holds the position of Guest Artist Concierge. She has conducted productions of White Christmas and Spamalot for Footlite Musicals, and had her on-stage debut as a “Pick-a-little-talk-a-little lady” in the 2011 production of the Music Man.
Miss Leatherberry is also a 200-HR certified yoga instructor and teaches weekly classes to students of all ages through the Children’s Bureau in Indianapolis. Running is another of her passions and has enjoyed completing thirteen half marathons and one full marathon at various locations in the US. She is married to Mike Villano, a trombone player and band director at Clinton Prairie Junior Senior High School, and has a very sweet cat at home named Merlin.