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Arts team

Aaron Gibbons Art Specialist at Tharrington Primary and Jones Intermediate
Aaron received his bachelor’s degree in art with a concentration in sculpture and a K-12 teaching license from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He began his profession art training at Surry Community College and at Sawtooth School of Visual Arts. While still in college Aaron began teaching as a summer youth instructor at Sawtooth School of Visual Arts. After graduating in 2013, Aaron was hired full time with Mount Airy City Schools. He enjoys hiking and camping as well as traveling to new places, but most evenings and weekends Aaron can be found in his studio where he designs and creates one of a kind pieces of furniture and sculpture from wood and metal. Contact Mr. Gibbons at
Sarah Inman Music teacher at Tharrington Primary and Jones Intermediate
Sarah Inman hails from Llanelli, Wales (U.K.) where she graduated from St. John Lloyds Comprehensive School in 2006.  Moving to Pilot Mountain, NC she then went to Surry Community College and then to Appalachian State University to study music.  Mrs. Inman graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education K-12 in 2012. Her desire is to instill the same love for music and the arts that she has enjoyed since youth. Contact Ms Inman at
Cynthia Ballard Visual Art Teacher at Mt. Airy Middle School
Mrs. Ballard received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She also has a Bachelor of Science degree from Appalachian State University in Interior Design. Mrs. Ballard has been teaching since 1991 and has been teaching middle school with Mt. Airy City Schools since 1993. She enjoys teaching children and seeing how they grow as young artist. She also enjoys spending time with family, gardening and walking with friends. Contact Mrs. Ballard at
Jennifer Riska Chorus and Music Appreciation Teacher at Mt. Airy Middle School
Jennifer Riska received a Bachelor of Music degree from Brigham Young University with an emphasis in piano pedagogy.  Mrs. Riska has been teaching in the public schools since 2005 when she started teaching chorus at Meadowview Middle School. Between 2010 and 2017, she taught the band and chorus classes there. She loves helping young musicians discover the joy of making music together. Mrs. Riska teaches Music Appreciation and Chorus at Mt. Airy Middle School and will also be sponsoring the MAMS show choir.  She is married to Ray Riska, and they have 4 children and 4 grandchildren. Outside of school, she teaches private piano lessons and enjoys cooking and running and spending time with family.  Contact Mrs. Riska at 
Jonathan Jones Band Director at Jones Elementary, Mt. Airy Middle School and Mt. Airy High School
Jonathan Jones is a 2002 graduate of Chowan University. He graduated with a degree in K-12 Music, with a focus in instrumental music. Mr. Jones began teaching band in 2002 at Grantham School in Wayne County, NC. Mr. Jones became the Band Director at Mount Airy Schools in August of 2013. Mr. Jones is married and has one daughter. he loves animals and wrestling. Mr. Jones loves to see students gain an understanding and love of music. Contact Mr. Jones at
Gena Ray Choral and Theatre Director at Mt. Airy High School, Arts Coordinator for MACS
Mrs. Ray received a Bachelor of Music Education from Georgia College in Milledgeville, Georgia in 1984. She is certified in Kodaly, Orff (Level 1), and Kindermusik. Mrs. Ray began her teaching career in Georgia in 1985. After teaching middle school general music and chorus for 20 years, she and her family moved to North Carolina. She began teaching at Mt. Airy High School in 2006. Mrs. Ray was the Teacher of the Year for the Mt. Airy City Schools in 2013. In addition to the choral and theatre classes, she also teaches Music Appreciation and AP Music Theory. She is the sponsor of the Drama Club and the Tri-M Music Honor Society. When she is not working, she enjoys reading, gardening, and spending time with her family.
Contact Mrs. Ray at 
Keenia Beck Visual Arts teacher at Mt. Airy High School
Contact Mrs. Beck at