Orchestra Director & Fine Arts Department Chair

Mr. Neal Springer

Neal Springer has been an orchestra director at Clements High School since 2014. Before coming to Clements, he taught at Crockett Middle School in Fort Bend ISD, and worked for orchestra programs in Abilene ISD in Abilene, TX.  Under his direction, orchestras have consistently received UIL Sweepstakes and Best in Class awards in festivals across the state.  The orchestras at Clements have also consistently placed as finalists in the Texas Honor Orchestra Competition.

Mr. Springer graduated from Hardin-Simmons University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. He recently completed his Masters in Music Education and Conducting from Colorado State University in the summer of 2018. He is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Orchestra Directors Association, Texas Music Adjudicators Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. While at Hardin-Simmons, he was honored as the College of Music’s 2010 Presser Scholar. He also has served as TMEA Region 13 Middle School Orchestra Coordinator and Tabulation Chair. His private viola students have participated in numerous region and state orchestras. He has performed as a violist with a variety of ensembles including the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, Abilene Opera Association, Houston Civic Symphony and Cypress Philharmonic Orchestra.

When he is not teaching or conducting, Neal enjoys traveling with his family and watching movies. He is eternally grateful to his supportive wife, Rebekah, and loves spending time with his son.



Orchestra Director

Mrs. Sally Kirk

Sally Kirk is the assistant orchestra director at Clements High School and adjunct professor of music education at Houston Christian University. Mrs. Kirk has been teaching orchestra for 16 years. Before teaching at CHS and HCU, Sally taught at her alma mater, Dulles Middle School, for 14 years. She received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Houston Baptist University and Masters of Music Education degree from Texas Tech University.  In 2020, the Houston Symphony awarded Mrs. Kirk with the “School Culture Award.” In 2014, Sally Kirk was named the Dulles Middle School Teacher of the Year, the same year she began a faculty teacher orchestra, “Treble in Paradise.” Mrs. Kirk’s orchestras have consistently earned UIL Sweepstakes awards and numerous “best in class” festival awards. In 2017, 2020, 2021, 2022, the Dulles MS Honors Orchestra was named National Winners of the Mark of Excellence nation-wide Foundation for Music Education competition and Commended Winners in 2015 and 2019. Additionally during her tenure at Dulles, the DMS string Honors Orchestra has been invited to perform at the Midwest Clinic in 2009 and 2016 in Chicago. The DMS Symphony Full Orchestra had the honor of performing at TMEA in San Antonio in 2022. 

Sally Kirk is a proud member of Texas Orchestra Directors Association, Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Music Adjudicators Association and Mu Omicron. She resides in Houston, TX with her husband, John and two joyful daughters, Fiona and Joni.




Harp Coordinator

Mrs. Stephanie Gustafson

Originally from Chicago, harpist Stephanie Gustafson now resides in Houston, where she is an active performer, educator, and writer. She has been principal harpist with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra since August 2015 and is a regular guest of the Houston Symphony and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in New Orleans. She has also worked with the Austin Symphony, the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, and the El Paso Symphony and Opera. Prior to her move to Houston, Stephanie lived in Washington DC where she held the position of principal harpist with the Annapolis Symphony and regularly traveled to Chile to perform with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Santiago as acting principal harpist for their 2013–2014 season.

A passionate educator, Stephanie is co-director of the Houston Youth Harp Ensemble, which she co-founded in 2018. She is also on the faculty of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, where she teaches middle and high school harp students every summer. From 2016–2018, Stephanie was a Young Artist with Da Camera of Houston, which awarded her a grant to develop a music program to help combat school bullying. She also maintains an active private teaching studio for students of all ages in Houston.

In 2018, Stephanie was named the News Editor of Harp Column, a bi–monthly print publication serving the international harp community, where she writes on auditions, competitions, and album releases.