FRA News Details

FRA Welcomes New Choir Director for 2022-23

Franklin Road Academy recently hired Ashley Willits as the new choral director for their middle and upper school music program.

Willits holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication and music from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Master of Arts degree in education and single subject music credential from Santa Clara University. She is currently obtaining a Master of Music degree in vocal performance from San Jose State University. In her most recent role, Willits served as a teaching associate for vocal fundamentals and music appreciation at San Jose State University. 

Prior to her work at San Jose State, Willits served as choral director at Notre Dame High School in California. In her new role, Willits will oversee all the vocal-focused fine arts programming for FRA. “I am excited to share my love and passion for music at Franklin Road Academy. I look forward to meeting each of my students and fellow faculty as I begin my new journey to Tennessee,” said Willits.

Beyond the classroom, Willits has served as a private vocal and piano instructor for all ages at the California Conservatory for Music. She has won numerous honors for her vocal performances and arranged the song, “Notre Dame School Prayer,” which has been performed in Chicago and New York City. 

“We are thrilled for Ashley to join the FRA community and to lead our middle and upper school choral program. Her excitement about our school and mission, her passion for music education, and her talents made her a perfect fit for FRA,” said Dr. Cindy Thornton, director of fine and performing arts. “Ashley is filled with enthusiasm and grace, and I am excited for her to lead our students as they continue to grow and pursue their passions in music.”

Willits will lead the Franklin Road Academy middle and upper school choral programs following the retirement of Brenda Jewell, who has led the program since 1996. Under the direction of Jewell, the upper school vocal ensemble recently earned superior ratings at the MTVA Choral Festival and qualified for state ACDA adjudication. Willits will begin the role for the 2022-23 school year beginning August 1.