About Us

Kathy Thompson, Director of WT Woodson High School Orchestra since 2014, has been teaching in the Fairfax County Public School system since 2004.  During this time her ensembles have consistently earned Superior ratings at district festivals and Grand Champion at external competitions.  Some recent highlights include directing Frost Middle School at the Virginia Music Educators Association (VMEA) as one of three orchestras selected statewide by the VMEA, taking W.T. Woodson H.S. to National Orchestra Festival, where they earned 2nd place, as well as taking the Chamber Orchestra to the National Orchestra Cup, where they also earned 2nd place.  

She graduated summa cum laude earning her Bachelor in Music, with a concentration in Music Education from George Mason University.  Continuing at GMU, she studied with Anthony Maiello, earning her Masters Degree in Instrumental Conducting.  Ms. Thompson also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and is a Distinguished Military Graduate from Indiana University, as well as an Honor Graduate of the U.S. Army Aviation Helicopter School in Ft. Rucker, AL.

A native of Northern Virginia, Ms. Thompson attended W.T. Woodson High School.  As a high school cellist, she was selected to solo with the Fairfax and Arlington Symphony Orchestras and won the DCFM Congress of Strings Solo Competition at the Kennedy Center, awarding her six weeks at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music during her junior summer. She has studied cello with Virginia Gardner, Evelyn Elsing, Steve Brewster, Fritz Magg, Robert Battey and Loran Stephenson, and has performed in master classes for Lynn Harrell and Zuill Bailey.

She continues her love of cello performance as a current member of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and as principal cellist of the American Festival Pops Orchestra.  She has served as the Northern Virginia representative for Virginia American String Teachers Association and is a member of VBODA and NAfME.  Ms. Thompson was invited to serve as conductor at James Madison University’s Spring String Thing as well as George Mason University’s Ovations Summer String Academy.  She has also conducted the American Youth Concert Orchestra.

In between her musical pursuits Ms. Thompson received her commission as an officer in the United States Army.  Retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel, she served in numerous technical and leadership roles, including duties as a helicopter pilot, military/federal law enforcement liaison, and assignment as an Assistant Professor of Military Science at Indiana University.  She also served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate to the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

Ms. Thompson’s proudest achievements are her three sons, all graduates of FCPS.  Her twin sons are both pilots, one serving in the U.S. Air Force and one flying with a commercial airline.  Her youngest son is pursuing his graduate studies in Double Bass Performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music.  When Ms. Thompson is not at Woodson, she can be found playing her cello, hiking or spending time with her grandchildren.

Carey Sleeman, Assistant Director of WT Woodson High School Orchestra, 
was born and raised in Canandaigua NY.  She started playing the violin at the age of 7 and continued all through high school.  She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Music Education from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam in 2011 and 2012, respectively.  While in Crane, she studied violin under Professor John Lindsey and Nancy Peschko, and led the Crane Symphony Orchestra as Concert Master for pieces such as Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and the Verdi Requiem.  She was also a violinist for the Orchestra of Northern New York.

After her schooling, Carey went on to start her teaching career in central Kenya at Mount Kenya Academy in Nyeri.  There, she taught strings grades 3-12 for two years.  Then, she moved on to teach for The Kenya Conservatoire of Music, Rosslyn Academy, and Peponi School in Nairobi Kenya teaching all ages on all bowed string instruments.  While in Kenya, she was a strings coach for the National Youth Orchestra of Kenya and the lower strings coach for The Safaricom Youth Orchestra.  She gave several solo violin recitals, played as a freelance violinist and cellist, and played the Bach A minor Violin Concerto with the Kenya Conservatoire Orchestra.  She also was a cellist with the Nairobi Orchestra for the five years that she spent in Kenya.  Carey also completed her grade 8 exam for the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music on the cello.

In 2017, Carey returned to the United States to continue her teaching career.  She started off in North Carolina teaching for a small music school, Studio 3, before coming to Fairfax County Public Schools in 2018.  She now teaches elementary strings at Wakefield Forest Elementary School, and high school strings at W.T Woodson High School.  She enjoys being outdoors and spending time with her two year old son Liam and her husband Jerry.