Fine Arts Faculty
Director of Fine Arts Ken Sipley holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in music education from Syracuse University, and a PhD in Fine Arts Administration from Texas Tech University. He has taught music and theatre in New York, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. He has conducted choirs at all levels from elementary school through adult, and has been involved in church choral music for most of his career.
As the Director of the Fine Arts Division at Northwest Community College, he is responsible for the Visual Art, Music and Theatre Departments. He is an experienced clinician in the areas of choral techniques, vocal technique, and choral literature. His teaching areas at Northwest include music history, music theory and voice.
Chair of Art Department Lawayne House grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. It was his third grade teacher, Mary Watson, at Sherwood Elementary, who set the path in which he would follow; that of an artist. In 1976, he graduated from the then-Memphis Academy of Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Advertising Design. Recruited by the greeting card giant, Hallmark Cards, Lawayne moved to Kansas City, Missouri and began his career as a designer. Over the next 25 years he balanced his art pursuits with a successful career in both illustration and advertising. Seeking an opportunity to help young artists pursue professional careers, Lawayne began working for Northwest as an adjunct instructor in 2001. And, in 2002 he entered the graduate program at the Memphis College of Art. In 2004 he was awarded the terminal degree in Studio Art, the Master of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in painting.
Lawayne began working for Northwest full-time in 2004 and became Chair of the Art Department in 2006. He currently teaches Art Appreciation, Art History, Design and Painting. He is also a co-sponsor of the student art club, Les Fauves, and shares in the responsibility of maintaining and coordinating exhibitions held in the Northwest Art Gallery. Through his many creative pursuits, Lawayne has designed numerous illustrations and advertising collateral for a variety of corporate and retail accounts. In his studio, he continues to explore the unlimited possibilities of paint and paper.
Ashley Chavis is originally from Savannah, Georgia. In 2000, he graduated from Armstrong Atlantic State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Studio Art. He completed graduate school in 2005 at The University of Mississippi and was awarded the terminal degree in Studio Art, the Master of Fine Arts degree, with an emphasis in Ceramics.
Ashley began working for Northwest in 2007. He currently teaches Drawing I and Drawing II and Ceramics I and Ceramics II. He also maintains all of the equipment associated with those studio classrooms. Ashley is also the faculty advisor of the students’ art club, Les Fauves. In addition, he assists with curating and maintaining the department’s art gallery.
Ashley also enjoys an active studio schedule. Most of his creative energy is devoted to producing functional pottery that has a unique sense of tactility and surface design. However, he also experiments with mixed-media and two-dimensional work. His work can be found in numerous regional and national exhibitions and locally at Southside Gallery in Oxford, Mississippi. He is a member of the College Art Association (CAA), Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC), Southern Graphics Council International (SGCI), and National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA).
Danita Siddon is beginning her second year as an instructor at Northwest Mississippi Community College. Originally from Leland, Mississippi, Danita attended Mississippi Delta Community College, a short distance from her home, and received her Associates Degree in Art. Majoring in Graphic Design and Painting, her second and third degrees we awarded at Delta State University in Cleveland Mississippi. For her Master’s Degree in Studio Arts, she attended Memphis College of Art and graduated with honors.
Danita is the Graphic Design Instructor at Northwest Mississippi Community College and teaches courses in Computer Arts, Advertising Design, Design I & II and Art Appreciation.
Danita’s personal artwork concentrates on Painting and Mixed media. Her subjects focus on two areas, local landscapes and text.
Mackey Harrison, Adjunct Art Instructor holds a bachelors degree from Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL and a Master of Fine Arts from The University of Mississippi. He has taught as a graduate student and visiting assistant professor of art for The University of Mississippi and as a gifted art instructor for Tate County School District. With twenty years of teaching experience, Mackey has conducted workshops for The University of Mississippi Museum’s after school program and Sycamore Art Council’s Art Smart Summer Camp.
Harrison has previously served as Vice President and is currently an active board member of the Sycamore Art Council. His work has been shown in numerous exhibitions and is in the permanent collection of The Masur Museum, Monroe, LA and collection of actor Morgan Freeman.
Susanne Spencer Van Dyke
Susanne Spencer Van Dyke is in her twenty-first year as Director of Choral Activities at Northwest Mississippi Community College and also serves as the chair of the Music Department. She is a graduate of South Panola High School. In addition to beginning her college studies at Northwest, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Delta State University and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Mississippi College. She has also taken post graduate courses in choral conducting with Dr. James Jordan at Westminster Choir College. She is featured in “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” and is a contributor to the book “The Musician’s Spirit” by Dr. James Jordan. She is past president of the State Community College Choral Association as well a member of American Choral Directors Association and National Association of Teachers of Singing. In 2013, Van Dyke was awarded the prestigious Sandy Grisham Excellence in Teaching Award for her innovation, excellence and commitment in teaching music and in directing choral activities at Northwest Mississippi Community College.
She serves as Vocal Director for NWCC musicals and in this position has directed “Cats”, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, “Smoke on the Mountain”, “Sanders Family Christmas”, “Little Shop of Horrors”, ”Fiddler on the Roof”, “Man of La Mancha” and many others. She also served as vocal coach for the community theatre premiere of “Les Miserables” produced by Panola Playhouse.
Saundra Bishop, an instructor in the division of Fine Arts, teaches music theory and piano courses, and is the director of the Northwest show choir, The Entertainers. Additionally, she assists with Northwest Singers and is the collaborative pianist for faculty and student recitals.
- the Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from the University of Alabama,
- the Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from Louisiana State University, and
- the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Pedagogy from the University of Mississippi.
She also holds the Bachelor of Science degree in Paralegal Studies from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Assistant Band Director John Mixon, has over 30 years of experience as an educator at the middle, high school and community college level. He received his Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees from the University of Mississippi. His primary focus at Northwest is directing the Northwest Ranger Marching Band, assisting in concert band rehearsals, teaching high brass music education majors, and teaching music appreciation. Mixon came to Northwest from Oxford High School, where he served 18 years as director of the band program. During his tenure, the band program received consistent superior ratings in concert and marching festivals at regional and national levels. The Oxford music department was recognized twice by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences as a Grammy Signature School under his leadership.
Mixon has been recognized as Mississippi Band Director of the Year, Teacher of the Year for Oxford High School and Star Teacher by the Mississippi Economic Council. He was selected to serve as Concert Director for the Mississippi All State Band and has been featured in School Band and Orchestra Magazine as one of “50 Directors Who Make a Difference.”
Jeff Triplett is beginning his seventh year as an instructor at Northwest Mississippi Community College. A native of Senatobia, he attended NWCC from 1985-87, receiving his associate of arts degree.
He also holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in music from Delta State University.
In addition to his duties assisting with the marching and concert bands, he teaches applied low-brass, music appreciation, and all of the music business courses.
Band Director John Ungurait, a native of northern Indiana, begins his 20th year as director of Bands. An alumnus of Northwest, which he attended in 1983 and 1984, Ungurait received a Bachelors degree in music education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Masters degree in music from New Mexico State University. In 2006, he was president of the Mississippi Community and Junior College Band Directors Association, and served as past president of that organization last year. Known as a clinician and judge in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, Ungurait has also worked as a percussion instructor for several drum and bugle corps, and he served as the front ensemble instructor for the Arizona Sun Drum and Bugle Corps. In Mississippi he has worked as a consultant with high school bands in Pascagoula, Lumberton, Hernando, Oxford and Senatobia. He has served as clinician for the Memphis City Schools Honor Band.
Guitar instructor Jonathan Bass is a guitarist, bassist, and composer. Bass is a native of Mississippi and holds a Bachelor of Music in Guitar Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Memphis.
Bass continued his career in Chicago where he worked as a professional guitarist in a variety of genres eventually forming his own quintet, The Jonathan Bass Quintet. The first album from this ensemble is Shapes and Colors (2008). While performing in these groups, Bass also maintained a position as an educator teaching private lessons in the Chicago area.
Currently, Bass lives and performs in the Memphis area.
Amy Langley joined the Northwest music faculty as an adjunct instructor in 2012.
She received Bachelors and Masters degrees in music education and performance from the University of Mississippi, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in performance from the University of Memphis.
She is the woodwinds instructor and also teaches Music Appreciation.
Laura Dilatush Triplett, piano class instructor, is a graduate of Northwest. She went on to earn Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts degrees in Piano Pedagogy from the University of Central Missouri.
She has twelve years teaching experience and remains active in continuing piano study. Laura is a member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers, Music Teachers National Association, and serves on the executive board of the Greater Memphis Music Teachers Association.
London Silas Shavers
London-Silas Shavers is a member of the Fine Arts Faculty at Northwest Mississippi Community College Desoto Center. Shavers is also an Endorsing Clarinet Artist/Clinician for Backun Musical Services, Ltd. and an Endorsing Saxophone Artist/Clinician for P. Mauriat Brand Saxophones. In addition to his teaching, festival adjudication, and ensemble conducting throughout the Greater Memphis area, Shavers performs throughout the United States and abroad as a soloist and chamber musician, and is an active woodwind clinician, recitalist, and composer.
As an ardent proponent of music by living composers, Shavers has participated in multiple commissions of new works and has also premiered works by North American composers David Maslanka, Bill Douglas, and Gary Schocker. Shavers holds degrees from Valparaiso University (B.M.Ed), Western Michigan University (M.M), and has completed advanced graduate studies at the University of Memphis. Shavers has been on Northwest Faculty since 2006 and currently teaches Music Appreciation courses at NWCC Desoto Center.
Tracy McLaughlin is Chair of Speech & Theatre.
She holds a Masters in Communication from the University of Memphis and a Masters Certification in Instructional Design from the University of Wisconsin.
Prior to joining NWCC, she worked in training and management for corporations in the South and Midwest.
Bill Maze is a Speech Instructor in the Division of Fine Arts.
Dr. Maze holds degrees from The University of Memphis (PhD), Mankato State University (MA), and a Bachelors degree from Winona State University.
His primary focus is teaching sections of Public Speaking and Argumentation & Debate. Dr. Maze also fills various committee appointments during the school year.
Sadie S. Shannon
Theatre and Speech Instructor Sadie S. Shannon is originally from Minnesota and has been a member of the Northwest family since 2009. Sadie has a B.A. in Music from William Carey University in Hattiesburg, MS and an M.F.A. in Acting Pedagogy from the University of Alabama. Roll Tide! In addition to teaching Theatre and Speech courses she directs plays for NWCC and is the advisor of the Northwest Players Club.
Some of her favorite acting credits include; The Bakers Wife in Into the Woods, Daisy in Sideshow, Pegeen in Playboy of the Western World, Popeye in The Miss Firecracker Contest, Pooty in Reckless, June in The Sanders Family Christmas. Sadie has presented at conferences such as the Southeastern Theatre Conference as well as been the guest speaker at several Musical Theatre workshops. She is a founding member of the Alabama Graduate Theatre Alliance and a proud member of VASTA.
Originally from Texas, Niki moved to Senatobia 1993. She graduated from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications with an emphasis in Broadcasting, and earned a Master’s degree from Union University. She is starting third year as a Public Speaking instructor at Northwest.