Union County High School is located in Lake Butler, Florida approximately 40 miles north east of Gainesville. Union County is the smallest county in the state of Florida with a population of approximately 12,300 people in a 246 square mile area. Union County plays host to three public schools including Lake Butler Elementary School, Lake Butler Middle school, and Union County High School. All three schools are located next to each other, are purple and gold, and adopt the tiger mascot.
The “Spirit of Union County Tiger Marching Band” generally averages approximately 100 members. This band includes the 8th graders from the middle school during marching season only. Union County High School population averages 600 students in grades 9-12. The Union County Band is in the “C” classification according to the Florida Bandmaster’s Association and is one of the largest "Small School" programs in the State of Florida. They have received superior ratings at FBA events for 32 consecutive years.
Ms. Kelly Dorsey has been the Band Director at Union County High School since 2003. She spent thirteen years before that at Bell Jr./Sr. High School. She received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from The Florida State University. Bands under Ms. Dorsey’s direction have consistently received superior ratings at FBA Sponsored events. Ms. Dorsey has served as guest clinician for numerous band programs and honor bands throughout the State as well as serving as the Conductor of the Florida All-State Small Schools Honor Band in 2008. She is currently slated to be the Nine Star Honor Band Conductor for the FBA Summer Conference in 2022. In addition, she has served The Florida Bandmaster’s Association as a member of several committees including the Marching Band Study Committee, State Music Selection Committee, Professional Resources Committee and chair of the Classification Committee. She is currently serving as the chair of the Small Schools Committee. Ms. Dorsey has presented clinics at the FMEA State Convention on “Building a Successful Small School Band Program”, "The Concert Band Sight Reading Experience", "How to Be Successful at the Concert MPA with Limited Instrumentation" and the "How to Fix it Series". She was selected as “Teacher of the Year” at Bell High School in 1997-98 and at Union County High School in 2013-2014 and 2020-2021. She was listed in “Who’s, Who Among America’s Teachers in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004, and 2005. She was also awarded the prestigious "Oliver Hobbs Award" presented by the Florida Bandmaster's Association in 2016. Ms.Dorsey is a member of the FBA, FMEA, NAfME, Tau Beta Sigma-National Band Fraternity for Women, an elected member of the American School Band Director's Association as well as Phi Beta Mu-an International Honorary Band Director's Fraternity.
MS. KELLY DORSEY - BAND DIRECTOR
MRS. PAMILA HIGGINBOTHAM - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
Mrs. Pamila Carter Higginbotham has been the Assistant Band Director at Union County High School since 2012. She has also been the Music Teacher at Lake Butler Elementary School since 1998. For fifteen years prior to working with the band, Mrs. Higginbotham has coached Girls Softball, Weightlifting and Volleyball at UCHS. She was a member of the Florida All-Star Marching Band in 1981. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Church Music from The Baptist College of Florida in 1997. Mrs. Higginbotham is a member of the Florida Elementary Music Educators Association and the Florida Bandmaster's Association. She graduated from Union County High School in 1982.
MR. KALEB SWITANEK - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR/LBMS DIRECTOR
Mr. Kaleb Switanek is a recent graduate from The Florida State University with a Bachelors in Music Education with a major in Instrumental Music Education. He recently completed a semester-long internship right here in Union County with both Union County High School and Lake Butler Middle School and is very excited to now take on the role as Director of Bands at LBMS. Mr. Switanek is a member of the Florida Bandmasters Association, the Florida Music Educators Association, and the National Association for Music Education.
Mrs. Patsy Fortner has been the Tigerette Coordinator at Union County High School since 2009. Mrs.Fortner has served as a Teacher, ESE Counselor and Staffing Specialist in the Union County School District. She has also worked with the Adult Education program, administered the GED, and worked with Union Juvenile Residential Facility as an ESE Specialist. Prior to working with the band, Mrs. Fortner coached middle school, J.V. and Varsity Cheerleading. She received her degree from the University of Florida. She retired in December 2014 from the Union County School system with 36 years in the state retirement system. She graduated from Union County High School in 1969 where she was Miss Union County High 1968 (her talent was baton twirling and dance). Tigerettes under Mrs. Fortner’s direction have consistently received superior ratings at FBA Sponsored events.
MRS. PATSY FORTNER - TIGERETTE COORDINATOR
MR. CODY TEMPEST - PERCUSSION INSTRUCTOR
Mr. Cody Tempest is an alumnus of Union County HS, class of 2007 and was the Percussion Captain during his tenure as a student in the band. He received his B.M.E. in Music Education from the University of Florida in 2012 where he studied percussion under Dr. Ken Broadway. He served as the UCHS Assistant Director 2009-2012. Following his graduation from UF, he served as the Band Director in Bradford County for 5 years holding positions at both Bradford Middle and High School. Mr. Tempest has been involved with several Indoor Percussion groups over the years including Unity Percussion, Bradford Independent Percussion, and Conflux Percussion. He has also been affiliated with the percussion sections at Orange Park HS and Oakleaf HS. Currently, Mr. Tempest is teaching math and serving as the Percussion Instructor at UCHS.