Mr. Jason Boyden Director of Bands
Mr. Boyden has been teaching since 1996, and has directed the Mona Shores Band Program since the fall of 2003. He is a 1992 graduate of Mona Shores High School and went on to receive his Music Education degree from the University of Michigan in 1996. Remembered by some as the worst French horn player ever to graduate from the UM School of Music, Theater and Dance, he is grateful to have played in the University’s Concert Band and Philharmonia Orchestra and sung in the Michigan Men's Glee Club.
After college, Mr. Boyden moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where he served as Director of Bands at Eldorado High School. During his five years in Las Vegas, Mr. Boyden held positions as the President of the Clark County Band Directors' Association, Chairman of the Nevada All-State Band and as the Treasurer of the Nevada Music Educators' Association. He went on to serve as a graduate assistant at the University of New Mexico where he earned a master’s degree in 2003. While in New Mexico, he was grateful to be a protege of Eric Rombach-Kendall, as well as the co-director of the University Concert Band, assistant director of the UNM Spirit Marching Band, and was the assistant band director at Eldorado High School in Albuquerque’s northeast heights.
Mr. Boyden currently directs the Mona Shores Sailor Marching Band, conducts the high school Wind Ensemble, and teaches AP Music Theory. He also instructs 6th grade percussion and saxophone students and assists with 7th grade band at Mona Shores Middle School. He was an Excellence in Education Award recipient from the Mona Shores Education Foundation in 2016 and named Educator of the Year in 2022 by the Sailor's Log, the award winning school newspaper at Mona Shores High School. He proudly serves as the third Director of Bands in Mona Shores Public Schools' sixty year history.
Mr. Boyden is a member of the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, National Association for Music Education, College Band Directors' National Association, and the Michigan Music Education Association. He is also a proud member of the Michigan Education Association, and is the Past-President of the Mona Shores Teachers' Education Association. He and his wife, Ruby, live in Norton Shores with his father, Rick, and two children, Noah and Goldwyn, and a very brave dog named Gryffindor.
Ms. Nikki Sanford Associate Director of Bands- Director of Middle School Bands
Ms. Sanford has been directing bands since 2019 and joined the staff at Mona Shores in 2022. She is a graduate of Traverse City West High School and went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Michigan State University. While at MSU, she was an active horn player in the College of Music performing in the Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Band and the Honors Brass Quintet. Ms. Sanford spent her college career as a member of the Spartan Marching Band and served her final two years as Drum Major. Throughout her time at MSU, Ms. Sanford worked at the MSU Community Music School as an intern for the New Leaders in Arts Management Program as well as an assistant in the Music Therapy Department. She also loved teaching Early Childhood Music classes during her time there.
After college, Ms. Sanford served as the Assistant Director of Band and Orchestra at Birmingham Public Schools in Metro-Detroit. During her time there, she taught 6th-12 Grade Band, Marching Band, Pep Band and Jazz Band as well as 7th Grade Orchestra. During the summer, she instructs conducting and leadership camps for high school drum majors around the midwest at camps located in Metro-Detroit, East Lansing and in West Michigan. She is honored to be able to go back to her alma mater to help inspire future leaders as the Lead Conducting Instructor at the MSU Performing Arts Camp.
At Mona Shores, Ms. Sanford directs the Middle School 6th, 7th, and 8th grade bands. At the High School, she instructs Jazz II, assists the Sailor Marching Band, leads the Sailor Steel Band and teaches Intro to Electronic Music. She is a member of the Michigan Band and Orchestra Association, the National Association for Music Education, the Michigan Music Education Association and a member of Women Band Directors International.
Outside of school, Ms. Sanford loves to go hiking and running, is passionate about dog training, and practices yoga. She loves to visit her hometown to support her parent’s Alpaca Farm Business. She and her partner, Tim, live in Muskegon with their very energetic border collie rescue, Oliver.
Mr. Justin Sarns Associate Director of Bands
Mr. Sarns has been teaching since 2013, and joined the staff at Mona Shores in 2014. He has taught at all levels from elementary to college. Prior to his appointment as a band director he served as the elementary music teacher at Ross Park and Churchill elementary schools, where he founded the Mona Shores Children’s Choir.
A native of Traverse City, Michigan, Mr. Sarns graduated Cum Laude from the Frederik Meijer Honors College at Grand Valley State University with a degree in Music Education. While at GVSU he served as Drum Major and Teaching Assistant for the Laker Marching Band, in addition to playing in the Concert Band, Jazz Ensembles and singing in Varsity Men. Recently, he was invited back to GVSU to serve as an adjunct professor teaching jazz methods to undergraduate music education majors.
At Mona Shores, Mr. Sarns directs the High School Symphony Band, and Jazz 1 as well as serving as the assistant director for the Sailor Marching Band. He also teaches Intro to Electronic Music and Guitar classes at the High School as well as 6th grade woodwind and 8th grade percussion classes at the middle school. Mr. Sarns both founded and advises the Mona Shores High School chapter of Tri-M National Music Honors Society.
Mr. Sarns is a member of the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, where he serves as the Vice President of Solo and Ensemble for District 7, as well as the Michigan Music Education Association, where he serves as Tri-M Chair.
Mr. Sarns is an active musician outside of school holding the lead alto chair in Zeeland’s BBOP, subbing in area jazz bands, teaching lessons and directing the Allendale Jazz Orchestra. Outside of school. Mr. Sarns enjoys cooking, keeping aquariums, sailing, spending time with family and friends and is a volunteer scuba diver for John Ball Zoo. He and his wife Shealyn, live in Jenison with their dog Humphrey, who is thoroughly unimpressed with Mr. Sarns’ accomplishments, and wishes Mr. Sarns would bring him a cookie.