Meet Our Team

The Recording Arts instructors here at Dark Horse Institute are passionate about the creative and business sides of music. All of our instructors are regularly working in the field, which means you will be constantly learning the best and most relevant information in the music world.

Cathy Baird
Institutional Director

Cathy has worked in the field of college admissions for over 14 years, guiding hundreds of students through the college admissions and financial aid process. With a love for many genres of music and a desire to help students get on track with their educational goals, she enjoys being able to combine her two passions for the benefit of helping others get the start towards reaching their dreams in the music industry.

Tom Willett
Director of Education

Author, musician and entertainment industry executive Tom Willett brings a lifetime of experience: as a touring songwriter and musician during the 1960s and 1970s, a talent agent and personal manager for numerous artists and authors in the 1980s, and worked at major record labels in Los Angeles (Word/ABC; What?/A&M) and New York (Word/Epic/Sony Music) during the 1990s. Tom is also the co-founder of the Contemporary Music Center on Martha’s Vineyard, MA.

Willett’s work has been cited in Billboard, Rolling Stone, the L.A. Times, and Entertainment Weekly, and have appeared in Image, The Wittenburg Door, CCM, Release, The Other Side and Prism. He has published five books including Van Gogh to Go: Excerpts from the Letters of Vincent van Gogh on Art, Work and Spirituality.

Dave Hagen
Instructor/ Engineer

Dave graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Audio/ Electronic Arts. He interned at Dark Horse Recording, became an assistant to producer Mark Lee Townsend and worked with bands on Sony, Capitol, Gotee, and Tooth and Nail.

Dave became a staff engineer in 2011 and has worked with Ashley Judd, OneRepublic, Relient K, Matthew West and many others.

Matt Sepanic
Instructor / Engineer

Matt Sepanic has been professionally producing and recording for over 19 years. Sepanic has worked with such notable artists as World Under, If Ever Was a Fire, The Envy Corps, Decoy, Johnny Reeferseed and Slipknot, including recording of their Platinum album “All Hope Is Gone.” His work with many of the artists has been showcased in various movies and television shows. Matt is equally deeply versed in Pro Tools as he is able to properly tech, align and work with analog tape machines. He still prefers to use tape whenever possible.

Steve Lamm
Instructor / Engineer

Grammy winning engineer of tobyMac’s “Alive and Transported”, Steve Lamm has more than 15 years of experience as an audio engineer, producer, musician, songwriter, studio owner, and instructor. Steve is credited for working with artists across many genres including tobyMac, Casting Crowns, Marty Stuart, and more!

Michelle Schreyer
Digital Marketing Manager / Strategist

Michelle has over 16 years of international experience in education publishing and the entertainment industry. She started her career as an associate producer at CBS News in New York City, after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications/Journalism from the University of Washington in Seattle. Since that time she has worked as an interactive media producer at the History Channel and Pearson Education. Her focus on impactful higher learning, content strategy and digital marketing have taken her around the globe—from living in Switzerland for over two years to visiting more than 30 countries. Michelle earned a Master of Arts in History from Hunter University in New York City and an Outstanding Achievement Award in Education.

Austin Bryan
Student Career Services

Austin holds Bachelor degrees in Business Administration and Music Business/Production from Birmingham-Southern College and Belmont University. He has a love for playing (and collecting) electric guitars, “fuzz” guitar-effect pedals, and loud Rock N’ Roll music. He is working to connect Dark Horse Institute students and graduates with music industry community service opportunities and jobs, overseeing music industry affairs, and outreaching to local high school students.

Kelly Robinson
Studio Manager and Assistant to Robin Crow

Kelly graduated from University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She has 20 years experience specializing in live concert event management and coordination, including managing key aspects of the Jonas Brothers Tour (over 50 cities) on the road in 2009. In addition to assisting Robin Crow, she also coordinates all scheduling at Dark Horse Recording.

Christen Schaal
Christen Schaal
Admissions Representative

Christen worked in college admissions for a few years in the Chicago area before relocating to Nashville. When she arrived here, she wanted to find a place where she could merge her love of music with her passion for helping students fulfill their dreams and found Dark Horse Institute. In her free time, Christen can be found hanging out with her dogs, songwriting or writing her screenplay.

Justin Todd
Justin Todd
Content & Video Marketing Specialist

Justin has been making videos for others since 2011, when he entered and won 1st place in a video contest at his college (University of Memphis). In 2012, he traveled across the country to document a man travel 860 miles via bicycle in the Race Across the West. In 2014, he wrote, directed, and edited a promotional video for the University of Memphis. In 2016, he made two promotional videos for the staff of Carnival Cruise Lines, which they thoroughly enjoyed. In March 2017, he worked on a video shoot for Kimbal Musk. He has been a part of (written, directed, or edited) over 40 promotional videos.