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Fine Arts

Matt Ainsworth : Teacher

Matt Ainsworth | Teacher

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  • Theater Foundations I
  • Theater Foundations II
  • Language Arts 7

Steve Jolley : Teacher

Steve Jolley | Teacher

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Mr. Jolley is the visual art teacher at Lava Ridge and since he is the only art teacher, he considers himself to be the "dean" of that department. His hobbies are watercolors, family, spending summer on the water, fall in the mountains, winter on the slopes, and spring in the garden or at the ballpark. He also enjoys searching out unique, hole in the wall eateries in completely out of the way places. His goal is to retire and become a "Duck Boat" driver in Boston.

  • Associate of Arts Degree from Dixie State College
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree from Southern Utah State College
  • Master of Education Degree from Utah State University
  • Graduate of St. George City Online Traffic School

Nate McGary : Teacher

Nate McGary | Teacher

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Mr. Nathan McGary has been a band teacher since 2002, working at San Juan High School, Enterprise High School, and is currently the band director at Lava Ridge Intermediate School. He has taught grades 6-12, and has taught concert band, jazz, percussion, guitar, and choir classes. As a band director, Mr. McGary’s groups have participated in local & state festivals, receiving Excellent & Superior Ratings. He has also served as Fine Arts Department Chair and PLC coordinator for Intermediate Band Directors in the district. During his time teaching, Mr. McGary has continued to perform locally. He has been a member of the Southwest Symphony since 2005, has been in the Rebel Jazz Band since 2012, and performed in the pit orchestra for Tuacahn Amphitheater’s Summer Broadway productions from 2006-2015. Mr. McGary has performed with such artists as: Peter Cetera, Kurt Bestor, Allen Vizzuti, Wayne Newton, Wayne Bergeron and Marie Osmond. He also had the opportunity to perform in the Olympic Spirit Band for the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics. In addition to music, Mr. McGary loves sports, video games, movies, and his family. He is married to Crystal, and they have 4 children - Dan, Jake, Brianna, & Rebecca.

  • Associate of Arts from Dixie College
  • Bachelor of Music in Education from Brigham Young University (BYU)
  • Master of Music Technology from Southern Utah University (SUU)

April Nielsen : Teacher

April Nielsen | Teacher

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Mrs. Nielsen's passion for music ignited at the age of six when she pleaded with her mother to allow her to start violin lessons. From that moment on, she immersed herself in music, eagerly joining the orchestra as soon as she could. Her orchestra teacher left an indelible mark on her life, inspiring her to pursue a career in teaching.

In high school, Mrs. Nielsen's dedication to music was recognized with the Sterling Scholar award for music at SCHS, earning her a full ride scholarship to study violin performance at Dixie State University. Over the years, she has had the privilege of performing in the pit orchestra at Tuacahn multiple times and being a member of the Southwest Symphony. Currently, she co-directs the Zion Youth Symphony Orchestra outside of her teaching responsibilities.

Outside of her musical pursuits, Mrs. Nielsen is happily married to an incredible man, and together, they cherish their three adored children. A lifelong horse lover, she still finds joy in riding whenever she can. When it comes to vacations, Mrs. Nielsen's heart belongs to the beach, and she takes pleasure in baking delicious chocolate chip cookies to share with her loved ones.

Each year, Mrs. Nielsen delights in sharing her passion for music with her students, aiming to inspire and uplift them through the power of music.