During one or more of the class periods throughout the school day, students will be scheduled into Encore classes. These courses meet daily for either a quarter, trimester, or semester. All sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade students take these classes, but not all in the same twelve-week period. The 6th graders will have a semester of LA Plus with their core teachers and a quarter of Music and a quarter of Art. The 7th-grade Encore classes are LA Plus, Art, and Music. The 8th-grade Encore classes are LA Plus, Health, Art, and Tech Integration.

Encore Team Teachers:

Greg Allen, Jeffrey Brauns, Jody Gaffner, Andrew Gibb-Clark, Katelyn Hagarty, Maria Knedel, Patrick McGinthy, and Courtney Sellers

Mr. Allen holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and a Master of Arts in Education from Greenville College. Greg is a third generation school band director.

His maternal grandfather worked for forty-one years as a school band director in Hammond, Indiana. Both of his parents are retired band directors. A brother is a band director in Champaign and another brother is an administrator for the School Of Music at U of I.The Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to Greg in 2010. He was awarded the National Band Association Citation of Excellence in band performance for 2011. Mr. Allen was inducted into the American School Band Directors Association in 2012. Greg serves as principal tuba in Saint Louis Wind Symphony and prior to that, played for the St Louis Brass band. He performs as a free-lance musician throughout the St. Louis region. He has participated as guest conductor for Highland Municipal band, St. Claire County Honor Band, Madison County honor band and Greenville College band. He served as IMEA Junior Band chairman, hosted Illinois Grade School Music Association (IGSMA) solo contests and IMEA District VI Auditions.

Mr. Greg Allen
Director of Bands

Mr. Brauns currently teaches 7th and 8th grade LA+. He has been teaching English Language Arts at Highland Middle School for over 20 years. 

Mr. Jeffrey Brauns
Language Arts

Mrs. Gaffner graduated from Nokomis High School in 2005. She attended Millikin University and earned a BS in Physical Education/Health in 2009. She began my teaching career in 2009 at Pana Junior High School where she taught 6-8th grade PE, Health and coached 8th grade basketball from 2009 - 2016. She joined the HMS staff in 2016 where she now teaches PE, coach 8th grade basketball and sponsor a variety of intramurals.

In her free time she enjoys being outside as much as possible, attending sporting events, and spending time with her husband, family and friends.

Mrs. Jody Gaffner
Physical Education

Mr. Andrew Gibb-Clark
Choral Music Director, Grades 5-12
HHS Music Department Chair

Mrs. Katelyn Hagarty graduated from McKendree University with Bachelors in Health Education in 2009. Along with her Bachelor’s degree she received a number of endorsements as well- Physical Education, Driver’s Education, Adaptive PE, and Middle School Health and PE. She earned her Master’s in School Counseling from Lindenwood University in 2013.

She began her teaching career at Mt. Vernon Township High School (2009-2011). Then taught Physical Education and Health Education at O’Fallon Township High School for 6 years (2011-20-2017). She joined the Highland Middle School staff in 2017. I teach 6th, 7th and 8thgrade Physical Education and 8th grade Health Education here at HMS. She is also the varsity volleyball coach at Highland High School.

In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband and two little boys, attending sporting events, and being with family and friends.

Mrs. Katelyn Hagarty
Physical Education/Health

Mrs. Maria Knedel
Tech Integration

Mr. McGinthy teaches 6th and 7th Grade General Music, as well as 5th Grade Beginning Band at Highland Elementary. In addition to teaching classroom music at HMS, Mr. McGinthy serves as a clinician, private instructor, and guest conductor for local bands and orchestras, including serving on the staff of the Highland Marching Bulldogs. Mr. McGinthy also coaches Weightlifting at HMS and HHS, and hosts Intramural Beginning Guitar. He lives in his hometown of O'Fallon, IL with his wife, daughter, and son, Miles.

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Music - emphasis in performance - University of Missouri-ColumbiaMaster of Music - emphasis in performance - University of Louisville Illinois Education Certification - Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville

Mr. Patrick McGinthy
General Music

Mrs. Sellers graduated from Highland High School in 2006 and from Webster University in St. Louis with two degrees. One in K-12 Education and one in Studio Art. She has coached softball since 2006 and is coaching 7th grade softball at HMS.

She has twin girls who were born at the end of May, 2012, two dogs, a black pug named Sarge and a mini-pin named Chief. She lives in Collinsville, IL and is originally from Indianapolis, IN. Mrs. Sellers is an avid runner and runs 5k's for fun.

Mrs. Sellers likes to paint and draw when time allows and has a passion for teaching, because "I love to see how you can make an impact on a student".

Mrs. Courtney Sellers
7th Grade Art
8th Grade Softball Coach