Jelani Watkins is the Director for Middle School Choral Music at the Hawken School Lyndhurst Campus. He recently moved to the Cleveland area from Atlanta with his wife after completing his first year of teaching choral and general music at Haynes Bridge Middle School where he was recognized as a finalist for the Teacher of the Year award. Watkins received his Master of Music in choral conducting at Georgia State University under the direction of Dr. Deanna Joseph and his Bachelor of Arts in Music from Morehouse College under the direction of Dr. David Morrow. While working on both degrees, he worked as a conductor and performed as a bass vocalist and accompanying pianist in concerts around the nation, Austria, and Germany. In addition to his work as a musician, Mr. Watkins has coached swimming for over seven years, instructing hundreds of swimmers from several different aquatic programs. Currently, he coaches for the Shaker Sharks Swim Team and serves as a Staff Bass Singer at the Church of the Covenant. Watkins is also working to complete additional coursework for a Post-Baccalaureate program at Cleveland State University, where he hopes to further his instructional capabilities to combine skills in athletic training and music performance to structure an innovative style of teaching choral and general music in Ohio.