Michelle Knipple served as director of elementary bands in Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools from 1988 -2013. During her years in Williamsburg, she taught at 8 of the 9 elementary schools in the system where 40-50% of the 5th grade students participated in the band program. In 2009, Michelle received the Superintendent’s Starfish award for Excellence in Work with Fifth Graders. Due in part to the efforts of Michelle and her colleagues, Williamsburg-James City County remains the only public school in District 8 and the surrounding Hampton Roads area that has an elementary band program. Prior to her years of service in Williamsburg, Michelle initiated and developed band programs at Trinity Lutheran School (Newport News) and Hampton Christian School (Hampton) where she taught for 8 years.
Michelle, a native of North Versailles, PA, received a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1977 and a Master of Science degree in Music Education from Old Dominion University in 1999. She currently performs with the Virginia Wind Symphony, the Tidewater Winds, a flute and harp duo, and various chamber ensembles, including one with her husband, Dan. Michelle had the distinguished honor of performing at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago (2004 & 2012) and the American Bandmasters Association Conference (2004 & 2011) with The Virginia Wind Symphony. Michelle is also very active in the music ministry at her church (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, in Newport News) where she sings with the choir, cantors, and plays flute and clarinet.
Along with maintaining an active performance schedule since her retirement in 2013 from WJCC Public Schools, Michelle also enjoys teaching clarinet and flute in her studio in her home, as well as giving masterclasses for schools on the peninsula. She resides in Hampton with her husband, Dan.