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Emily Calhoun

Emily Calhoun
Michael Nestor

Michael Nestor
Michael Nestor is the new Director of Bands at Savannah Arts Academy. He is a native of Monterey, California and received his Bachelor of Music Education from Armstrong Atlantic State University. Mr. Nestor is currently working towards his Masters of Music Education at the University of Georgia. Prior to his appointment at SAA, Mr. Nestor served as Director of Bands at South Effingham High School in Guyton, Georgia, and H.V. Jenkins High School and Shuman Middle School in Savannah, Georgia.

Mr. Nestor also works with the Armstrong Atlantic Youth Orchestra in Savannah, assisting with brass and woodwinds.  Mr. Nestor is a member of the National Association for Music Education, Georgia Music Educators Association, and the Georgia Association of Jazz Educators and received the National Band Association Citation for Excellence in 2013 and 2014.  In addition to his duties at SAA, Mr. Nestor is a regular performer with the Savannah Winds, the Savannah Jazz Orchestra, and the Equinox Jazz Orchestra.  Mr. Nestor resides in Savannah with his wife, Leah.

Carl Polk
has been Director of the Savannah Arts Academy Orchestra since 2005, and in addition teaches Music Theory/Composition and AP Music Theory.  The SAA Orchestra has earned consistent superior ratings at the GMEA Large Group Performance Evaluation since 2006 both in Atlanta and Savannah.  Mr. Polk plays Principal Trombone with both the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra.  As well he has recorded and subbed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.  Before teaching at SAA, he was Principal Trombone and Personnel Manager with the former Savannah Symphony Orchestra.  He has played professionally all over the Southeast with the orchestras of Jacksonville, Columbus, Greenville, and the Atlanta Ballet and Opera Orchestras, and has spent summers in Italy with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra.  He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Arizona State University, and a Masters of Music degree from Northwestern University.
Christine Shawl
Ditrie Sanchez Department Chair
is the first Savannah Arts Academy Alumni to return as a teacher. She attended Armstrong Atlantic State University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music with emphasis in music Performance and Musical Composition. While at AASU, she also was awarded the Persse Scholarship for Music Theory, the Persse Composition award and the Presser Scholarship for Outstanding Music Major. She has taught music privately for ten years and has taught at SAA for four years. Ms. Sanchez teaches courses in music theory, composition and advanced music.


Russell  Watkins

Russell P. Watkins

Mr. Watkins is the newest addition to the music faculty at Savannah Arts Academy.  He has taught in both Georgia and Texas for many years.  For three of those years he was also teaching vocal methods and pedagogy along with private voice at Georgia College & State University.  He is a graduate of Angelo State University in Texas and earned his Master’s Degree in vocal performance from Georgia Southern University.  Prior to teaching, Mr. Watkins performed operatic roles and ensembles with numerous opera companies around the U.S. and in Austria.  Mr. Watkins is excited to be at the helm of the SAA Choral Department and in sculpting our students’ voices in preparation for their bright future.