Band Directors & Staff



John Palmer,  Director of Bands

John Palmer has been in the Walton High School cluster since 1999, directing the band at Dickerson Middle School for 17 years, and at Walton since 2016. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Furman University, a Master of Music Education degree from Louisiana State University, and an Education Specialist degree from the University of Georgia. Prior to coming to Cobb County he taught for three years at South Effingham Middle and High Schools in Guyton, Georgia.

Under Mr. Palmer’s direction, the Dickerson Middle School Band was invited to perform at the Music for All Southeastern Regional Concert Band Festival (2015), the Music for All National Concert Band Festival (2010, 2014), the Georgia Music Educators Association Annual Convention (2006, 2016), and the University of Georgia Middle School Band Festival (2002, 2009, and 2013).  Since Mr. Palmer’s arrival at Walton, the Wind Symphony has been invited perform at the Music for All Southeastern Regional Concert Festival (2020) and the GMEA In-Service Conference (2021 virtual, 2022).

Mr. Palmer has served as an adjudicator for GMEA Large Group Performance Evaluations, as a guest conductor for several GMEA Honor Bands and collegiate band clinics and served on the committee to revise the Georgia Performance Standards in 2017. Mr. Palmer’s professional associations include Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the Georgia Music Educators Association, the National Band Association, Phi Kappa Lambda, the National Association for Music Education, Kappa Delta Phi, the Georgia Association of Educators, and the Professional Association of Georgia Educators. He has received seven Citations of Excellence from the National Band Association, was elected to Phi Beta Mu in 2008, and most recently inducted into the John Philip Sousa Legion of Honor in December 2021.

Outside of band, Mr. Palmer is a vocal advocate for public education and for teachers and state employees. He lives in Marietta with his wife, Elaine, and their two children, Rebecca and Jack.



Chris Johns,  Associate Director of Bands


Chris Johns is in his fourth year as the Associate Director of Bands at Walton High School in Marietta, GA. Previously, Mr. Johns was a band director in Gwinnett and Fayette Counties. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Columbus State University, a Master of Music Education degree from the University of Georgia, an Education Specialist of Music Education degree from Auburn University and is a candidate for the Doctor of Philosophy of Music Education degree from Auburn University. Mr. Johns is also a 2020 recipient of the CDBNA Mike Moss Conducting Fellowship. 


At Walton, Mr. Johns is the lead teacher for the Symphonic Band, Concert Band II, and Marching Raider Band brass section while also assisting with the Wind Symphony, Concert Band I, and jazz bands. Under his direction, the Symphonic Band has been selected to perform at the 2022 Music for All Southeastern Regional Concert Festival. 


He is an active clinician and consultant who has arranged and written music for numerous bands that have competed in the BOA, WGI, and GMEA contest circuits. He is also a former member of Tara Winds, an Atlanta-based community band and was a 2009 member of the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps from Allentown, PA. Most recently, Mr. Johns was a recipient of the National Band Association Citation of Excellence and also presented at the 2021 AMEA Annual In-Service Conference (virtual). Mr. Johns’ professional affiliations include the Georgia Music Educators’ Association, the National Band Association, and the Music Educators’ National Conference.




Percussion Directors:   Scott Brown & Colin Brewer

Visual Designer/Supervisor:   Dr. Lindsey Schueller

Jazz Band Director/Visual Instructor:   Andrew Clark

Color Guard Director:   Scott Beck

Assistant Color Guard Director:   Devon Kugler

Marching Band Instructors:   Lamont Hall, Josh Mintz, Corey Sherman



Walton Cluster Middle School Band Directors



    John Jeffres, Dodgen MS            Brian Westphal, Dodgen MS



   Will Grimes, Dickerson MS              Scott Brown, Dickerson MS


  Lawton Willingham, Dickerson MS