Pacesetter Directors

Katie Hightower -

Katie Hightower (Harwood) is in her fourth year at J.J. Pearce High School as the Pacesetter Director and eighth year of teaching. Mrs. Hightower comes to Pearce from two years as JV Drill Team Director & Varsity assistant at Rowlett High School as well as two years as Varsity assistant at Wakeland High School in Frisco.


Mrs. Hightower, a graduate of South Garland High School, is a former member of the Southern Belles, having served as Lieutenant her junior and senior year. She started college at Richland Community College where she danced professionally for the Dallas Sidekicks "Sizzle" Dance team for one year. She then attended Kilgore College in Kilgore for two years. At Kilgore, Mrs. Hightower was a member of the World Famous Kilgore College Rangerettes and Swingsters. Her performance credits as a Rangerette include: Dallas Cowboy's game, George W. Bush's second Inaugural Parade, the Texas Society Black Tie and Boots Ball, and a Carnival Cruise.


Mrs Hightower completed her undergraduate work at the University of North Texas. While at UNT, she was selected for The Dallas Dance Company, under the direction of Mrs. Michelle Davis, dancing at various community and charity events. With a major in Communications, Mrs. Hightower graduated from UNT in 2010.


Mrs. Hightower was an instructor for Starmakers Dance and Performance Camps from 2003-2009. Currently, she is a staff member for the American Dance and Drill Team Camps as a summer camp instructor and contest season adjudicator. For the past 10 years, she has also been on staff with Spirit of America for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. In December of 2012, Mrs. Hightower was invited to perform with SOA in the London New Year's Day parade.


Mrs. Hightower currently teaches Professional Communications, Fine Arts Dance and Drill Prep. She is married to her wonderful husband, Hunter Hightower. They reside in Richardson, TX with their dog Cookie. 



Jaclyn Smith

Jaclyn Smith is in her thirteenth year at J.J. Pearce High School. She serves as Assistant Director of the Pacesetter Drill Team after nine years as Director.  Mrs. Smith, a graduate of Westlake High School in Austin, is a former 2nd Lieutenant of the Westlake Hyline Dance Team.  Her first two years of college were attended at Kilgore College where she was a member of the World Famous Kilgore College Rangerettes.  Mrs. Smith was a Swingster, Freshman Sergeant, and was chosen as Captain her Sophomore year.  Her performance credits as a Rangerette include Dallas Cowboys games, Neiman Marcus Adolphus Children’s Parade, SWB Cotton Bowl Classic, Target/Marshall Field’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Chicago, and the Indianapolis 500.


Mrs. Smith earned an Associate of Arts degree from Kilgore College in 2003, graduating with Honors. She went on to complete her undergraduate work at Texas A&M University in College Station.  While attending A&M, she was very active in promoting their rich traditions and spirit by welcoming new students to the university through Transfer and Howdy Camps.  During her last year at A&M, Mrs. Smith was Assistant Director of the Bryan High School Shy-Anne Dance Team.  With a major in Kinesiology, she graduated from Texas A&M University in August of 2006. 


Mrs. Smith was a Senior Instructor for Starmakers Dance and Performance Camps and is currently an instructor for Encore Creative Productions.   From 2005-2013 she traveled with Spirit of America Productions to New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  In January of 2013, Mrs. Smith traveled overseas to perform in the London New Year’s Day Parade. 


Throughout her years as a Director, Mrs. Smith had the privilege of teaching many young ladies who continued their dance careers after their years as Pacesetters. They’ve gone on to become Kilgore College Rangerettes, Aggie Dance Team members, Tyler Junior College Apache Belles, Texas State Strutters, UT Roustabouts, TCU Elite Dance Team members, and members of the SMU Pom Squad. 


Mrs. Smith is the PE/Health/Dance Department Chair at Pearce and is the Sponsor of the Pearce Pom Squad. She teaches Dance 1, Dance 2, Drill Prep, and Stampede Prep.  Mrs. Smith and her husband, Adam, reside in Carrollton with their beautiful four year old daughter, Annabelle.






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