Spirit taps Starnes as Executive Director

As Spirit of Atlanta Inc. continues to advance its mission of providing high-quality arts education programs through a positive environment that emphasizes character and the pursuit of excellence, the Board of Directors is pleased to announce David Starnes as Executive Director. 


Starnes will lead the organizations operations and be responsible for strategic planning, coordination with DCI, fundraising, and financial management.  He will lead a veteran staff that includes Chris Moore who will continue as the Director of Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps. This key addition to the leadership begins on November 1, 2021, and comes as Spirit of Atlanta celebrates its 46th anniversary.


Starnes will remain as the Director of Orchestras at Kennesaw Mountain High School in Kennesaw, Georgia where he joined the faculty in August of 2020. Prior to his move back to Georgia, he served as Assistant Professor in The School of Music and Director of Athletic Bands at Western Carolina University from 2011-2020. As the founding Director of Bands at Kennesaw Mountain High School and its Director from 2000-2011, Starnes grew the program and gained recognition in all areas of performance at local, state, and national levels.


From 2013-2018, he served as Design Advisor for Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps and served as the founding Board Chairman for United Sound, a nationally recognized special needs music education program from 2014-2017.  He currently serves as an Education Consultant at Music for All in Indianapolis, Indiana. Starnes was inducted into the Bands of America Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2019.


I am thrilled to join Spirit of Atlanta, Inc. to serve as the Executive Director. I look forward to working with the Board of Directors led by George Dickinson and with Corps Director Chris Moore in continuing to develop innovative and educational programming while becoming more engaged in community outreach. I am honored and thankful to have the opportunity to have a role in writing the next chapters of this storied DCI member corps.”   


We are excited to welcome David Starnes into the Spirit of Atlanta organization,” said George Dickinson, Spirit of Atlanta Inc.s Board President.  David has a proven record as an educator and leader of building successful programs, and his addition immediately advances that effort for Spirit.  We are excited to work with David to not only promote the drum corps, but to also create new programs to support our community.”


“I have known David for more than 25 years and have worked with him on numerous projects,” says Moore. “We share the same vision for performing arts education and I look forward to all he will bring to this leadership role.”


I am honored to serve and interact with the talented young men and women who are the Spirit’ of this organization,” says Starnes.  


As a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Starnes graduated magna cum laude from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1988. He and his wife, Rhea Jeanne, a practicing architect and Spirit alumni, reside in Acworth, Georgia. His daughter, Hannah, works as an Interior Designer in Royal Oak, Michigan.