Meet the Millard North Band Staff!
Ryan Placek - Director of Bands
Mr. Ryan Placek is in his 28th year in education and his eighth as Director of Bands at Millard North High School. His current duties at North include co-conducting Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Marching Band, Jazz Ensembles, and Pep Bands. He also teaches courses in Introductory Music Theory, AP Music Theory, and History of Popular Music in America.
Mr. Placek has conducted many clinics throughout the state and has adjudicated several area music contests and festivals including District Music Contest. He earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1991. His Master’s degree was earned in Educational Administration with an emphasis in Music Curriculum and Supervision from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. In 2004, he was awarded the Nebraska Music Educators Association “Music Educator of the Year” Award. He was inducted into the Phi Beta Mu Honorary Band Directors Fraternity in 2015. Recently, Mr. Placek was selected as a Conn-Selmer VIP and will be one of a select number of band directors from around the nation to hold a round table discussion on music education. Recently, he was published in the National Federation of High Schools for his article “Empowering Students in Your Band Program”.
Mr. Placek is an active member of the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association, National Association for Music Education, Nebraska Music Education Association, Phi Beta Mu Honorary Band Director Fraternity, National Band Association, and the National Education Association. In his spare time, he enjoys working out, traveling, attending sporting events, and spending time with family and friends.
Craig Mathis - Associate Director of Bands
Mr. Craig Mathis has been the Associate Band Director at Millard North since 2013. His responsibilities at Millard North include co-directing the Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Varsity Marching Band, JV Marching Band, Stage Band, and Pep Bands. In addition to his responsibilities at Millard North, Mr. Mathis is the Band Director at Ezra and Montclair Elementary Schools in Millard. Prior to his hiring at Millard North, he held the position of director at Beatrice High School. Mr. Mathis is a graduate of Millard North High School, earned a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Masters in Music Education from the University of Nebraska-Kearney.
Mr. Mathis’ bands have demonstrated consistent growth. In his tenure at Beatrice High School, the band enrollment grew by 10%. The band’s enrollment has grown by over 30% during his time at MNHS. Mr. Mathis has been involved with multiple fundraising efforts resulting in the purchase of new band uniforms and a band trailer at Beatrice. He has also spearheaded the highly successful Omaha Gives campaigns at Millard North. All-State participation has tripled at both Beatrice & Millard North during his time at each school. His bands have earned outstanding results, including two State Championships in Marching Band (2016 – Grand Champions, 2019 – Class AA Champions). He has also served on the Instrumental Music Leadership Team for Millard Public Schools.
Mr. Mathis is a member of the National Association for Music Education, Nebraska Music Education Association, and the Nebraska State Education Association. He also served as the Public Relations Chair for the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association for three years. In 2018, Mr. Mathis received the Jack R. Snider Outstanding Young Band Director Award from NSBA. He is an Apple Certified Educator and Google Certified Educator (Level 1). In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife (Joanie), son (Avery), and is an avid college football fan.
Allison Goodman - Color Guard Director
Allison Goodman became the Color Guard Director at Millard North in 2013. She directs the Fall Color Guard for Marching Band and teaches the Millard North Winter Guards. During her tenure at Millard North, the Color Guard has tripled in size. The Guards have consistently improved placements under Ms. Goodman’s leadership, earning first place in the 2017 HWAA Championships.
In addition to her Color Guard duties, Ms. Goodman teaches Business Classes at Millard North and runs a very successful DECA Program. She has served executive leadership positions with the Nebraska Association of Marketing Educators and was recognized as an outstanding DECA Advisor in 2016 and 2018. Ms. Goodman has also served on the executive leadership board for Heartland Winter Arts Association (HWAA).
Allison Goodman is a 2012 Graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and completed her Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction through Doane University in 2017.
Ben Samson - Percussion Director
Ben Samson is a percussionist and educator residing in Omaha, NE. He is currently serving as the Percussion Director at Millard North High School, and as the Music Director for Railmen Performing Arts. He is also a very active clinician and percussion arranger in the Midwest. As a performer, Ben is very active in theater work as a percussionist and music director, performing in numerous productions annually, as well as other local ensembles and venues.
As an educator, he has worked as a director, tech, arranger, clinician, and consultant with many Nebraska and Iowa high schools. Under his instruction, his ensembles have consistently been awarded high percussion awards and honors. At Millard North he supervises all aspects of percussion, including marching band, concert bands, and percussion ensemble.
Ben is a very experienced WGI instructor, currently as the Music Director for Railmen Performing Arts, the 2018 PIA 4th place finalist. He has also served as the Ensemble Caption Head for Purecussion music, placing in PIA finals each year from 2014-2017. He was also an instructor for DOJO Percussion, the 2010 PIA World Champions.
As a performer on the professional stage, Ben has been privileged to be a part of numerous ensembles. His credits include; The Omaha Symphony, The Omaha Community Playhouse, The Theater Arts Awards, The Rose Theater, The Ralston Community Theater, The Chanticleer Theater, Resonance, The Eastern Music Festival Ensembles, The Eastern Philharmonic Orchestra, The Shelterbelt Theater, The Bellevue Little Theater, and many others.
Ben is an alumnus of the prestigious Eastern Music Festival (2005-2006). During his time at the festival, he studied with Dr. Christopher Norton and John Fedderson. He also had the opportunity to share the stage with some of the world’s leading musicians such as Joshua Bell, Branford Marsalis, Tommy Igoe, Rolando Morales-Matos, and many others.
His teachers include Charlie Lindbloom, Tomm Roland, Ken Yoshida, Dana Murray, Carlos Figueroa, John Fedderson, and Christopher Norton. Ben is a proud member of the Innovative Percussion family as an Artist/Educator.