The WEST Staff
Lucas R. Meade
Director of Bands
Mr. Meade is excited to be in his fourth year teaching at West Johnston High School. Mr. Meade graduated with a Bachelors of Music Education in 2015 and with a Masters of Music Education in 2017, both from Texas Tech University. Before working at West, Mr. Meade taught at Frenship High School in Wolfforth, TX as an assistant band and jazz director. When not living the dream at West, Mr. Meade enjoys watching San Antonio Spurs games, playing Ultimate Frisbee, running with their dog Mickey, and worshipping at the Point Church - South Raleigh. He and his gorgeous wife Annabel (and the aforementioned cattle dog) currently reside in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Assistant Band Director
Ms. Leighton (pronounced: lay-ton) earned her Bachelors of Music Education at East Carolina University, Class of 2020. Her first year of teaching was at Toisnot Middle School in Wilson, NC. While at ECU, Ms. Leighton performed as a tuba player in many ensembles and taught lessons and camps across the Eastern part of North Carolina. She currently performs as an E-flat Bass player in the award-winning Triangle Brass Band. Outside of band, which consumes most of her time, Ms. Leighton enjoys playing video games and making crafts, like t-shirts, stickers, and wood-burned signs. She currently lives in central NC with her wonderful partner, Vanessa, and their two cats, Willow and Coda.
Ms. Pickering is a graduate of West Johnston who, while attending West, completed five seasons of fall bands and four seasons of Winter Guard. After graduating in 2018, Ms. Pickering happily accepted a position to teach at West and has been on staff since as the Visual Coordinator/Instructor. Ms. Pickering has also spun with the independent winter guard Carolina Visual Productions, regional champions at the New Jersey WGI Regional.
Color Guard Director
As a graduate of West Johnston himself, Mr. Talamantes is pleased to join us for his sixth year on staff as the West Color Guard Director. Mr. Talamantes has performed throughout the country in a variety of elite groups including Madison Scouts, Carolina Visual Productions and First Flight. He has taught color guard and visual movement throughout the country including Michigan, Texas, South Carolina and Georgia.
Mr. Vargas is originally from Montevideo, Uruguay. He is an active percussionist who graduated from Cleveland High School where he marched both in the marching and indoor percussion. Mr. Vargas is entering his fifth year with the West Band, he is also the percussion instructor at Green Level High School. Mr. Vargas has instructed various NC programs including Green Hope High School, Smithfield Selma High School, Alchemy Independent, 2018 DCA gold medalist Carolina Gold, Riverside High School, as well as assisting with the 2017 Johnston County Alliance WGI Winds Group. He also marched as a charter member in the open class ensemble Alchemy Independent on tenors, and his age-out year in the front ensemble on Vibes. Mr. Vargas is currently a free lance percussionist giving lessons in the area. When he is not teaching band, he is in his studio with his friends making more music!