Edmond Public Schools’ Board of Education has filled three fine arts positions at Edmond North High School. Following a special board meeting May 25, the board named Justin Pourtorkan orchestra director and Greg Mangus band director. The board approved the hiring of Patrick Towne as drama director at an April meeting.
“Joining our well-established vocal music teachers, Brian Tidwell and Rondal Wallace, we enthusiastically welcome a trio of arts instructors who each boast resumes that are unparalleled among their peers in orchestra, band, and drama circles,” said Associate Superintendent Debbie Bendick.”
Pourtorkan takes over the leadership role of the state’s largest and most award-winning high school orchestra program from Peter Markes who is retiring from the classroom to pursue his professional music career. Pourtorkan has been the director of orchestras at Classen School of Advanced Studies since 2005. He was named teacher of the year for Classen and runner-up for the Oklahoma City teacher of the year. He was also the 2014 Yale University distinguished music educator for Oklahoma. He teaches private violin lessons and has played with the Edmond Chamber Orchestra, the Fort Smith, Ark. Symphony and with Tran-Siberian Orchestra.
“I’m so excited to have this opportunity to follow the incredible Peter Markes as Director of the Edmond North High School Orchestra program,” Pourtorkan said. “Peter has built a program like no other in our great state and I’m humbled and honored that he is passing the baton over to me to continue to strive for the same level of excellence and achievement that we’ve all come to expect from this outstanding program. I can’t wait to get started. I’m looking forward to being a part of this Edmond family and community.”
Mangus succeeds Brian Cook who served as head band director at Edmond North for three years and left teaching to work for an education company. Mangus has been the associate director of bands at Mustang High School since 2013 growing the program from 225 students to 375 students. Under his direction, Mustang’s symphonic band II and wind ensemble each received numerous superior ratings and the OSSAA Sweepstakes Award. Mangus has also composed or arranged hundreds of compositions for both large marching bands as well as small ensembles including the three-time national champion OSU trumpet ensemble.
Patrick Towne, a graduate of Edmond Memorial and the University of Central Oklahoma, succeeds Barrett Huddleston who served one year as drama director. Towne is a performer, director and choreographer. He has performed with Oklahoma City University Opera/Music Theatre, University of Central Oklahoma Music Theatre, Lyric Theatre, Thelma Gaylord Academy, Jewel Box Theatre, The OKC Philharmonic, and Upstage Theatre in Edmond. He has served as the director and choreographer for many productions at Upstage and is also a private voice and dance instructor.
“Rarely does a school have an opportunity to change the complexion of an entire department, but happenstance has afforded Edmond North to do just that,” said Principal Jason Pittenger. “Synergy is sure to be the result as these three come together with the vocal teachers to collaborate on new performance experiences for our students here at Edmond North.”