Melissa Gustafson-Hinds is in her sixteenth year as Director of Bands O’Fallon Township High School in O’Fallon, Illinois. In addition to her teaching duties at O’Fallon Township High School, Dr. Gustafson-Hinds serves as Performing Arts Department Chair at OTHS and serves as the Illinois Music Educators Association, Band Division President. In her time at OTHS, she has brought the band program to new heights in music excellence and has recently earned the honor of the Sudler Flag (2023) for the OTHS Band Program. Under her direction, the OTHS Marching Panthers have been consistent Bands of America (BOA) Regional and Super Regional finalists, Grand National Semi-Finalists, and a Grand National Finalist in 2018. In 2015 and 2022 the band marched in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, and in 2018 the band marched in the Hollywood Christmas Parade in Hollywood, California. The Marching Panthers will be performing in the 2023 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The concert ensembles performed at Carnegie Hall in May 2014, and the Wind Ensemble has performed at the Illinois Superstate Concert Band Festival, Music for All National Festival, ILMEA State Convention, and the Midwest Clinic. In 2019, O’Fallon Township was honored with the NBA Program of Excellence Blue Ribbon Award and two Music for All Advocacy Awards.
Dr. Gustafson-Hinds is originally from Monmouth, Illinois. She attended Illinois State University, earning a Bachelor’s in music education and graduated with University Honors. Dr. Gustafson-Hinds earned her Master’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2000, an educational leadership endorsement from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and her Doctorate Degree in Teaching and Learning, with an Emphasis in Music, from the University of Missouri St. Louis in 2010. She has been teaching in Illinois public schools for 30 years, getting her start in the Unit 5 District in Normal, Illinois, with teachers who helped guide her career.
Dr. Gustafson-Hinds is married to Evan Hinds, who is a music arranger and drill writer and additionally serves as a Percussion Instructor/Arranger for the Marching Panthers of O’Fallon Township High School. Together they have a daughter named Evelyn, who is eight.