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Arts team

Meredith Dowdy Music Teacher at B. H. Tharrington Primary and Jones Intermediate School
Meredith Dowdy received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Salem College in 2014. She began her career as a music teacher for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. She was the band, chorus and guitar teacher at North Stokes High School in Danbury, NC from 2015 to 2019. She began teaching at Jones Intermediate School and B. H. Tharrington Primary School in August 2019. In addition to the music special area classes she teaches, Ms. Dowdy leads the Jones Show Choir as an after-school club. In her free time, Ms. Dowdy loves to read, travel, and spend time with her family, friends, and dogs. Contact Ms. Dowdy at
Lisa Belcher Visual Arts Teacher at Mt. Airy Middle School
Mrs. Belcher received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Radford University in her home state of Virginia. Shortly after moving to North Carolina, she began her professional arts career using her concentration in graphic design until beginning her most fulfilling job of being a “stay at home mom”.  When the time came to rejoin the workforce and because of her discovered interest in working with students in a school setting, Mrs. Belcher earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Lees McRae University. After a few years as a classroom teacher, she was blessed to combine her passion for art and her love of teaching.  Mrs. Belcher is grateful to have found her place teaching Visual Arts at Mount Airy Middle School. Living in the area for the past thirty years, she feels as if she has finally come home. Contact Mrs. Belcher 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 and one son. 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
If you can find a 1992 Carroll County yearbook, you will find a graduate whose ambition was to “pave the world with art.” Keenia Beck began living this dream after graduating from James Madison University in 1996. Armed with her fine art degree and teaching certification, Keenia headed south to Mount Airy, North Carolina. Beginning her teaching career teaching art at the elementary level, then in 1999 gained the position as Visual Art Instructor at Mount Airy High School and has been blessed to share her knowledge and love of art with thousands of students. As an educator, Keenia has been honored to be part of some amazing young artists progress into “artisthood” and/or adulthood. When not in the classroom, Keenia spends her time with her husband and two daughters finding new adventures and cherishing their time together. 
Contact Mrs. Beck at