Karen George is the orchestra director at Johnson High School in San Antonio, Texas. Mrs. George studied violin at the University of Southern Mississippi with Stephen Redfield where she earned a bachelor's degrees in both Violin Performance and Music Education. She then attended University of Texas at Austin where she studied violin under Vincent Frittelli and received a Master of Music Education with a minor in conducting.
Mrs. George has also toured with several orchestras in Europe including the American Institute for Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria. In addition to her teaching job, she conducts one of the seven orchestra ensembles for the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio and performs in the Corpus Christi Symphony.
Mrs. George opened Johnson High School in 2008. In its very first year, the Johnson Forza orchestra won the Music in the Schools competition earning a $5,000 grant. Since then it has continued to excel, earning “Sweepstakes” at UIL competitions every year in both string and full orchestras. The Johnson full orchestra has been a finalist three times at the TMEA Full Orchestra competition and in 2013, the string orchestra was a finalist in the String Orchestra competition. The Johnson Orchestra was invited and performed at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago in December 2016 and the full orchestra was invited to perform in December 2022.
Bethany Smith is an Assistant Band and Full Orchestra Director at Claudia Taylor Johnson High School. She returned to San Antonio from Spring, Texas, where she was the Assistant Band Director at Westfield High School. While in Spring, her duties included directing the non-varsity concert ensemble and assisting with the marching band. Both ensembles received superior ratings at UIL Marching Band Contest and UIL Concert and Sight Reading.
Prior to her time in Spring, Ms. Smith received her Bachelor of Music degree with minors in business administration and psychology from Texas State University. While at Texas State, she studied under the direction of Dr. Caroline Steiger and performed as principal horn with the Wind Symphony and Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Dr. Caroline Beatty and Dr. Jacob Harrison. In 2020, she was accepted into both the World Youth Wind Orchestra Project (WYWOP) in Schladming, Austria, and the Saarburg International Music Festival in Saarburg, Germany.
Ms. Smith is a native of San Antonio and an alumna of North East ISD, attending Roan Forest Elementary School, Tejeda Middle School, and graduating from CTJ in 2015. During her time at Johnson, she was a member of the Wind Ensemble, Forza Full Orchestra and All-State band. She is incredibly happy to be back home at CTJ where she leads the brass program, works with the non-varsity ensembles, and assists with the full orchestra.