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Meet the Staff

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Luke Oglesby


Luke Oglesby grew up in Eastern North Carolina where he attended Croatan High School and East Carolina University. Luke received his bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. Luke worked as an educator for 4 years before going back to East Carolina to receive his master's in school administration in 2019. He worked as an educator for three more years in Johnston County.


Luke’s performance experience includes Croatan World (2007-2009), First Flight Winterguard (2010-2014,2016-2020), and Pride of Cincinnati (2021). His teaching experience includes Northern Nash High School, East Carolina University Marching Pirates Colorguard, ECU Winterguard, Wakefield High School, Holly Springs High School, Corinth Holders High School, First Flight World, Carolina Crown and the Cavaliers. Luke is excited to return to First Flight World in 2024 in his new role as co-Director!

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Melissa Gaul


Melissa Gaul resides in Raleigh, North Carolina. Originally from Oxford, NC, she attended South Granville HS and East Carolina University. She has over 20 years of experience in the marching arts as a performer, director, and educator. Melissa has worked with many guard programs in the state of North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia including First Flight World, Carolina Visual Productions, Origins Open, Green Hope HS, Panther Creek HS, Enloe HS, South Granville HS, South Johnston HS, North Johnston HS, Parkview HS and has most recently volunteered as a consultant for Holly Springs HS and Corinth Holders HS. 


Melissa was a member of First Flight winter guard in 2002 & 2003. She has been a staff member and assistant director with First Flight World since 2018 and most recently served as the Color Guard director at Green Hope HS from 2009-2020. During her 11 years with Green Hope, Melissa led the color guard and winter guard programs to success both locally and nationally in AIA, WGI, and BOA as consistent BOA/WGI regional finalists, WGI SA semi-finalists (2009-2011,2013-2018), WGI SA finalists (2016-2018) placing 4th in 2018, WGI SO semi-finalist (2019), and BOA Grand National semi-finalists (2015-2016). 


Melissa couldn't be more excited to return to First Flight World in 2024 in her new role as co-Director!

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Jeffrey Cash


Jeffrey Cash is thrilled to return to First Flight for the 2024 Season, having been a performer in 2006, and a staff member in 2013!

Born & raised in North Carolina, Jeffrey has over 20 years of experience in the marching arts as a performer, designer, & educator. His performance resume includes Carolina Crown (2004-2007), The Study WG (2004, 2005), First Flight WG (2006), and Pride of Cincinnati WG (2007, 2008, 2010). In 2009, he was invited as one of 6 American performers to join the Aimachi Winter Guard from Nagoya, Japan. As a designer, choreographer, & educator, Jeffrey has been fortunate to work with many high school & independent ensembles across the country & world, including Green Hope HS (NC), Northview HS (IN), Walled Lake Central HS (MI), Plymouth-Canton Educational Park (MI), Mayflower WG (UK), The Woodlands HS (TX), just to name a few. In DCI, Jeffrey has been able to serve as the caption head and choreographer for The Troopers (2008-2009), as well as a choreographer & instructor for the Madison Scouts (2010, 2018) & Santa Clara Vanguard (2011). 

Jeffrey currently resides in Detroit, Michigan where he works as a REALTOR® for Nika & Co Real Estate. He is also a member of the PRISM Gay Men & Allies Chorus and participates in Stonewall Sports volleyball & kickball. Jeffrey looks forward to an exciting season with First Flight in 2024!

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Jenny Durko

Instructional Staff

Jenny Durko is thrilled to return to the First Flight staff for the 2024 season. She is originally from Dayton, Ohio, and has been involved in the marching arts in various capacities for the past 24 years. She marched as a color guard member at Carroll High School, the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps, Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps, and various independent winter guards including Escapade, Adagio, and The Company. 


She’s since served as a technician for many programs across the country, including Colerain HS, Centerville HS, Seminole HS, Carroll HS, Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps, Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, Kettering Fairmont HS, Clayton HS, and First Flight Winter Guard. 


Jenny lives in Smithfield, NC with her two sons, Hayden and Jonah, and works full-time as the principal at River Dell Elementary in Clayton, NC. 

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Marissa Citarelli

Instructional Staff

Marissa Citarelli has accumulated over 10 years within the performing arts community. She started, like most, with her high school marching programs and quickly transitioned to independent world class with Croatan Independent Winterguard in 2009. She then performed with First Flight World from 2010 through 2013. During the summer seasons, she completed 6 seasons (2008- 2013) with Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps. In 2014, she returned to Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corp to teach and continued to work with programs like the ECU marching pirates (13,14,15) and helped found the ECU Winterguard (14,15,16). She completed her performing career with Pride of Cincinnati in 2015. During the following years, she continued to help intermittently with various groups including JMU (2022). She later transitioned her focus primarily to her education, initiating her career as a physician Assistant. With a full heart, she returns to First Flight Winterguard.

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Brandon Adams

Instructional Staff & Choreographer

Brandon is originally from Bassett, VA, but now resides in Raleigh, NC with his husband, Josh. When he is not teaching color guard, Brandon works in Patient Engagement for Clinical Trials. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, hiking, reading, going to movies, and nerding out over art. 


Brandon's performing arts career began in high school when he joined the Bassett High School marching band in 2000. He performed with the Bassett High School Open Class Guard in 2003 and 2004. After high school, he took a break from the marching arts and pursued his passion for ballroom dancing. He competed in several showcases and competitions from 2005-2007. In 2008, he returned to color guard and performed with the Bassett Independent Winter Guard. He went on to join the Croatan World Guard in 2009, and in 2010, 2011, and 2012, he performed with First Flight World. 


He has taught various high school programs over the years, including Jefferson Forest High School in Bedford, VA, Bassett High School in Bassett, VA, and Cleveland High School in Clayton, NC. Brandon joined the staff of First Flight as a technician for the 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 seasons. He is very excited to return to this incredible organization as a staff member in 2023.

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Jessica Meade

Instructional Staff & Choreographer

Jessica Meade has been involved in the marching arts since 2006. She is an alumni of Jacksonville HS, where she participated in the Marching Cardinals color guard and the winter guard each year. Jessica has performed with the Troopers Drum & Bugle Corps (2012, 2013) and First Flight World (2013, 2017, 2018, 2019). This past November, Jessica was invited to be a guest clinician at the CIPA Spin Fest in Bristol, VA. 


She currently teaches Band at Murray Middle School in Wilmington, NC, and choreographs for various middle school musical productions in the NC/VA region. She teaches color guard at Ashley High School, Coastal Carolina University (SC), and choreographs for other units in the Wilmington area. Jessica is excited to return to the First Flight staff for her second consecutive season. 


She wants to wish everyone good luck and great skill as they prepare for auditions for the 2024 season!

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Emily Robinson

Instructional Staff 

Emily Robinson is a born and raised Raleigh native where she currently lives with her cat, Benson, and her dog, Rollins. She attended North Carolina State University and got her Bachelor's of Science in Biological Engineering. She now works as an acoustics engineer at a local civil engineering firm.  


Emily started her color guard career at Wakefield Middle School in 2006 and continued at Wakefield High School through 2010. She performed with First Flight World in 2011, 2012, 2016, and 2017. She taught at Wakefield High School from 2012 to 2017. Most recently, Emily participated in the 2021 virtual season with Paramount Winterguard. She is beyond excited to join First Flight's staff for the first time!

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Daniel Adams

Instructional Staff 

Daniel is a North Carolina native, growing up in the small rural community of pine level. He went to North Johnston High School, where he was involved in marching band, winter guard and FFA. Daniel continued in the winter guard activity after high school by marching with First Flight winter guard from 2014-2019, and marched DCI with the Madison Scouts from 2015-2016. 


Daniel has coached color guard and winter guard programs since 2014 and has been involved in programs such as Holly Springs HS, Wakefield HS, Green Hope HS, and Panther Creek HS. Outside of guard, Daniel went to North Carolina State University and obtained his Ph.D. in Comparative Biomedical Sciences, with a focus in agriculture and livestock diseases. When not working or teaching color guard, Daniel enjoys riding horses and spending time with his family.

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Staci Jahr Harper

Instructional Staff 

Staci marched First Flight during the 2011, 2012, and 2017 seasons, and was a part of the staff in 2018, 2019, and 2020. She is currently working with the Holly Springs High School Colorguard, where she has been focused on movement since she joined the staff in 2021. Outside of the guard world, Staci is simply enjoying life in Garner, NC! She currently works as the Human Resources Generalist for a publishing company based in RTP, and is obsessed with her dog and 3 troublesome cats. Her favorite color is yellow.

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Robert Turpin

Instructional Staff & Choreographer

Originally from Sterling, VA, Robert has been involved with the marching arts since 2007. His journey began with Park View HS, where he then continued his career with the Jersey Surf in 2010 and 2011, followed by the All-American Marching band in 2011, and aged out with the Santa Clara Vanguard in 2014. Robert also had the opportunity to march with First Flight World from 2011 to 2017.


Robert started his teaching career at Panther Creek HS in 2012, where took on the role of director for the  2017 - 2020 seasons. Additionally, he has worked with Cary HS in 2015 and 2018, Green Hope HS, and Holly Springs HS.


On staff since 2018, Robert is excited to continue on with First Flight for the 2024 season!

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Josh Dishner


Josh is originally from Church Hill, Tn. He began his marching experience at Volunteer High School where he participated in every band program that was offered. After high school, he attended East Tennessee State University and in 2012, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Dance. 


In 2016 Josh moved to Rock Hill, SC, and began working in Special Education and serving as Colorguard Director at Nation Ford High School. In 2020 he received his 7-12 Certification in Dance Education through an alternative certification program, SC Teachers of Tomorrow. He recently moved to Lexington, SC, and accepted the  Director of Dance and Colorguard Director positions at River Bluff High School. 


His performance experience includes Carolina Crown 2006-2009, Southeast Independent 2009, and The Cast 2007. He was also a company member with Intercity Ballet from 2007-2009 and Henley Dance Studio from 2012-2013.


Since 2006, Josh has had the honor and privilege to serve on staff at many studios and programs such as Centre for the Performing Arts, Henley Dance Studio, Carolina Crown, Charles Towne Independent, and First Flight to name a few. He has also had the opportunity to choreograph, design, instruct at clinics, develop training programs, and facilitate logistical operations for dance studios and other artistic non-profit organizations throughout the Southeast Region. He currently is a member of the South Carolina Dance Association and serves as Chair on the Scholarship Committee.

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Tykeem Rainey


Tykeem Rainey is an active choreographer and the guard director at Ronald Reagan High School in San Antonio, Tx. Tykeem was a member of the color guard at the Madison Scouts from 2008-2011. Upon aging out, Tykeem served as an intern and staff member from 2012-2014. During the off-season, Tykeem had the opportunity to march with Impact Independent from Northern Virginia, Virginia from 2008-2012 and won the WGI Independent A Gold Medal.


In 2014, Tykeem had the opportunity to perform in the Tony and Emmy Award Winning production, “BLAST!” that toured many prefectures throughout Japan. From 2015 to 2018, Tykeem performed and choreographed “Mix it Up,” a staged theme show located at Busch Gardens, in Williamsburg, Virginia. In the spring of 2017, Tykeem earned his bachelor’s degree (With Honors) in History (Concentration in Caribbean Slavery) from Virginia Commonwealth University located in Richmond, Virginia. 


Tykeem’s most recent summer was spent with the 2021 Madison Scouts Color Guard. Currently, Tykeem is the lead choreographer and visual coordinator for the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps as well as a Co-Director of Origins Open. Tykeem is also a choreographer and technician to color guards and other ensembles such as: Hickory High School, Hebron High School, Cedar Park High School, Claudia Taylor Johnson High School, Davenport High School, Frenship High School, Origins Open, Origins World, George Mason World, First Flight World, and ONYX World.

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Alyssa Loose

Instructional Staff & Choreographer

Alyssa is originally from Reading, PA but spent all her years spinning and teaching in North Carolina. She began her colorguard calling in her high school and college years. She attended college at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), however, had to locate an independent group outside of the university since UNCG didn't have one. 


Alyssa has marched with Wakefield High School SA & SO [2011-2014], Legacy IA [2015], and First Flight World [2016-2018; 2020]. She has proudly worked with many high schools in the Wake County area, some include Wakefield HS, Panther Creek HS, and Garner HS. 


Outside of colorguard, Alyssa works as a Logistics & Warehouse Manager for a small engineering company. She spends her free time cleaning... yes cleaning! She is a mild "neat freak" and hates clutter. She also enjoys going to the movies, outdoor concerts, walks with her pup, and the beach. In the future, Alyssa would like to move closer to the coast so she can live at the beach. For now, she is happy with her home outside of Raleigh, NC.


Alyssa loves teaching and being able to watch performers express themselves through this art. She has had the opportunity to march many seasons, creating a family with memories she will hold for life.

Her favorite season of all her years marching was her first year with First Flight World performing Enigma. She holds the message of that season "Do the things no one could imagine" close to her heart and challenges new performers with the same. Currently, she teaches movement with First Flight and is excited to return for the 2024 season!

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Ashley Bailey Flock

Instructional Staff 

Ashley Bailey Flock has been a part of the Color Guard community for over 20 years. She is originally from Raleigh, North Carolina where she attended Wakefield High School and continued her education at East Carolina University.


Ashley was a member of First Flight from 2011-2014 where her love for the activity continued to blossom. She continued her passion in educating young performers around the Wake County area including Millbrook High School, Wake Forest High School, Green Hope Middle, and High School, among a few others.


In 2015 she joined staff with Legacy Independent for their inaugural season, which was also the same year Ashley and her husband Rob welcomed their first child Bellamy to this wild ride of life. After 2015 Ashley and her family moved to Northern Virginia where she taught at Broad Run High School for a few seasons before her family grew again with their son Louis. While taking a small break from the guard world, she returned in 2019 for Legacy Independents' final season. She joined First Flight on staff in 2020 and was thrilled to be back with her guard family! Finally back home.


She now resides in Surf City, North Carolina with her family, with the addition of the final member of the Flock, Bailey Wynn. Ashley’s husband Rob would like an honorable mention that he is a guard enthusiast and a proud supporter of the performing arts.


Ashley is thrilled to be back again with First Flight for the 2024 season.

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Geneasa Varner

Instructional Staff 

Geneasa Varner was raised in North Carolina and found an interest in dance after she joined the colorguard for high school beginning in eighth grade. She trained under the direction of Jennifer House in high school all four years, as well as 5 seasons of Fall color guard and the very first season of winterguard at her high school. Geneasa also marched First Flight in 2003, 2004, and 2006, where she also worked with multiple guard programs across the state of North Carolina. After she completed some undergraduate work in dance at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, Geneasa moved to Wilmington, NC. While attending UNCW, she completed three seasons with the Wilmington Hammerheads Dance Team. 


Geneasa has a BA and M.ed in Elementary Education with a minor in fine arts at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She recently obtained her dance licensure in 2021. Geneasa teaches dance at Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She serves as the colorguard instructor for TSHS, as well as the colorguard choreographer at South View High School. Geneasa is very excited to be working with First Flight again for the 2024 season!

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Liz Jenkins

Administrative Staff

Liz Jenkins is a native of Carteret County where she began her music and guard career at Croatan High School! Liz attended East Carolina University for her Bachelor's in Music Education and a few years later attended Samford University and received her Master's in Music Education. Liz has been playing euphonium and has been a part of guard since 2002! She was a cast member of CVP Encore for three years and was a tech for CVP A for two years. 


Liz has experience as a tech for various bands around the state during marching and winter seasons. Liz has an amazing husband, Wesley, and a loving husky named Kate! Liz was an essential part of the admin staff for First Flight in 2023 and is excited to be back assisting this amazing program in 2024. Last winter, Liz was a member of the extraordinary staff for Holly Springs JV and Varsity, who went on to be 6th in Scholastic A class at WGI World Championships. Liz is currently an elementary music teacher at Brier Creek Elementary in Raleigh NC. She is excited to begin another great year of marching arts!

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Lacie Knight

Instructional Staff

Originally from Chesapeake, VA, Lacie began her marching arts career in 2010 at Hickory HS in both the band and winterguard programs. She attended James Madison University where she continued her colorguard career in both the outdoor and indoor programs. Lacie currently resides in Raleigh, NC where she works as a Technical Writer.


Her performance history includes JMU Marching Royal Dukes, JMU Nuance Purple, JMU Nuance Open, Etude World, and First Flight World.


Lacie has worked at several schools across the state of Virginia as a technician, choreographer, and director. She currently serves as a technician at Corinth Holders HS.

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Sam Boyette

Instructional Staff & Content/Media

Born and raised in Clayton, NC, Sam works full-time as a social media specialist and operates her photography/videography business. In her off time, Sam enjoys thrift shopping, consuming lots of sushi and coffee, playing with her fur baby, or spending time with her boyfriend, friends, and family.


Sam’s guard career started in middle school where she spun on Clayton High School’s colorguard and open class winterguard from 2009-2011. Sam joined Corinth Holders High School in 2011 and performed eight seasons from 2011-2015. During high school, Sam was also honored to be chosen to march in the 2015 Army All-American Bowl half-time show as well as march with the 2014 Macy’s Great American Marching Band in NYC. After high school, Sam spun four outdoor seasons with the East Carolina University Marching Pirates from 2015-2018. She performed with Legacy Independent in 2015 where she received a bronze medal at WGI World Championships. Sam went on to join First Flight World in 2017 and spun five seasons in 2017-2020 and 2023. 


Sam has taught various high school and middle school programs in the NC area since 2015. She presently serves as co-director of her alma mater Corinth Holders HS (2019-Present). Sam has served as First Flight’s social media and website manager since 2020 and is excited to return as a staff member for the 2023-2024 season!

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Devian Bagley

Instructional Staff 

​Devian Bagley is originally from Smithfield North Carolina and currently resides in Clayton North Carolina. He currently attends UNC Pembroke and will graduate this year with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on allied health and will attend UNC Chapel Hill this spring as a part of their Physicians Assistant Program. Devian enjoys watching movies, hanging with friends, and traveling in his free time.


Devian has been a part of the Color Guard community for 12 years where he was a member of the Smithfield-Selma High School A and Open Winterguard 2011-2015. During high school, Devian was also chosen to be a part of the 2015 Army All-American Marching Band where he got the opportunity to march in the Army vs Navy bowl game during halftime. After high school, Devian took his spinning career to Legacy Independent A and Open Winterguard 2016-2017 where he received the bronze medal at WGI World Championships. He later went on to march Smithfield Independent A Winterguard in 2018 making WGI Finals.


Devian has taught various programs in NC including Sanderson High School, Jack Britt High School, and Smithfield Independent A Winterguard 2019-2023. Devian currently serves as the Color Guard Director at Smithfield-Selma High School (2018-Present) and is excited to join the First Flight family for the first time!

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LaKia Lemmon

Instructional Staff & Strength & Conditioning

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Emily Styron

Instructional Staff 

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Emily Salazar

Instructional Staff 

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