Degrees and Certifications:
BME Newberry College MME University of South Carolina
Mr. James "Jed" Thomas
Jed Thomas became the director of the Mid-Carolina High School band program in Newberry County in the fall of 1994. Being the only director, he taught middle school students and high school students. During the first year he taught 7th and 8th grade band, high school band, an 8th grade music class, a high school music class, the marching band, pep band, and jazz band; moreover, he began organizing the booster club into an effective fundraising and supportive organization. The next year, 6th grade band was added to the schedule.
While serving as director at Mid-Carolina High School, the goal always was to model the band program around the finest in the country. The Mid-Carolina high school band earned the Outstanding Performance Award (OPA) fifteen times starting in 2000 through 2015. This award is the highest granted to a South Carolina high school band by the South Carolina Band Directors Association (SCBDA) and recognizes excellence in all areas of an instrumental music curriculum.
When Mr. Thomas began teaching at Mid-Carolina, the high school concert band performed at a Grade 1.5 level of proficiency (on a grading scale of 1 to 6). To put this in perspective, most beginner middle school bands are at a 1.5 by the end of their first year of instruction. Grade 6 is the highest level of top-tier high school bands, college bands, and military bands. Over time, (with much planning, support and determination), the level of the concert band was raised to grade 5 by the year 2007.
The same progression was true for the marching band. In 2001 the band scored high enough to qualify for the State finals and finished 2nd in the SCBDA Upper State Preliminaries several times; furthermore the band finished 4th in the state in 2011 missing a 3rd place finish by a tenth of a point. The marching band also was twice named class champion at the Bands of America (BOA) Regional in St. Petersburg, FL.
Mr. Thomas arrived at Fort Dorchester High School in the summer of 2015 and has busily worked to transform the program by developing a curriculum for success and creating a culture of excellence. In 2016 the Fort Dorchester High School Symphonic band was one of 16 bands in South Carolina selected to perform at the first ever SCBDA State Concert Festival held at Irmo High School on May 7, 2016. In addition, in 2018 the Fort band program earned the Outstanding Performance Award given by the SCBDA for the first time in school history.
Having the opportunity to be the director at Fort Dorchester has been a blessing for Mr. Thomas and his family and he appreciates all of the support for the program and is extremely proud of the progress of the students.
Mr. Thomas is a graduate of Newberry High School and was a member of the Blue Brigade under the direction of Miss Lorraine Paris, band director at Newberry High School for 47 years. He received a Bachelors degree in Music Education from Newberry College in 1993, and a Masters degree in Music Education from the University of South Carolina in 1998. His professional affiliations include SCBDA, NAfME and Phi Beta Mu. Mr. Thomas resides in Summerville with his beautiful wife Amy and daughter Jesse.