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Faculty & Staff

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Paul Norris

Drums, Percussion

Paul Norris, currently teaches at Swanson Middle School in Arlington, Virginia. He is Swanson’s Director of Bands and Director of the Music Department in Fairfax, VA, He graduated from East Texas State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. While at ETSU he performed in all of the University Bands, as well as Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and their Steel Drum Band (Calypso). In his last year at “E.T.” he directed the Marching Band on the field as Head Drum Major. 

In 2003 graduated from George Mason University with a Master’s degree in Education. In 2006 he was named “Arlington County Teacher of the Year” and received the Washington Post “Agnes Meyer Outstanding Educator Award.”

During his second year of teaching in Texas public schools he auditioned for, and was accepted to a position in “The Commandant’s Own” United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, where he spent four years as a snare drummer based at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. During this time he performed for countless dignitaries, both foreign and domestic and two presidents.

The Swanson Bands (four concert bands, a pep/marching band and a Jazz Ensemble) started participating in district and national music festivals under Paul's direction. Since then the bands have received Excellent and Superior ratings from adjudicators in northern Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, and Toronto, Canada. The bands are called upon regularly to perform at community ceremonies, celebrations, and parades and were selected to perform the National Anthem for the Baltimore Orioles baseball team at Camden Yards. The Jazz Ensemble was selected to perform at The Kennedy Center partners in Education Conference in Washington, D.C.

In additional to teaching in the public schools, Paul directs the Levine School of Music Jazz Ensemble (Big Band) and New Horizons Band. These groups have performed on the Millennium Stage and in the Terrace Theatre at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The German Embassy, The National Building Museum, The East Coast Jazz Festival, Schlesinger Hall, The Sylvan Theater, and at Blues Ally.


Paul was interviewed on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” for his work with the Arlington based New Horizons Band on a segment dedicated to the benefits of musical activity after retirement. Additionally, he has been called upon to serve as festival adjudicator and honors band conductor for events throughout the state of Virginia on the county and district  level.

Paul resides in Amissville, Virginia, with his wife (Debra) and two children (Gus and Jack).

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