Shay Thompson Morgan, Artistic Director
Shay Thompson Morgan began her ballet training at age three, following the Royal Academy of Dancing syllabus. She has studied with world-renowned teachers including David Howard, Karena Brock, Patricia Wilde and William Starrett.
Mrs. Morgan holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. She served as faculty member and soloist with Ballet South/ Columbia City Ballet from 1996 to 2001. Her performance achievements include major roles in The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Les Sylphides, Cinderella, Hansel & Gretel and Dracula.
Mrs. Morgan has choreographed numerous original works and taught community outreach and dance enrichment programs for Bulloch/ Candler County schools, Georgia Southern University, and the Boys & Girls Club. A member of the Statesboro/Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce since 2003, Shay is heavily involved in community improvement.
She has participated in the Safe Haven Women’s Shelter fundraiser Dancing with the Statesboro Stars, as well as Georgia Southern University’s Festival of Trees; a fundraiser that provides Christmas gifts to needy families. In 2017, Shay was honored with a Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Award for her work in the Statesboro community. Mrs. Morgan resides in Statesboro with her husband, Clint, and two sons, Rand and Rhett.
Aaron Carter, a native of Statesboro, has been dancing since the age of 8 with Statesboro School of Dance. He has trained in classical ballet under the direction of Shay Morgan. Aaron has performed as the Cavalier, Arabian Prince, Soldier Doll, Snow Prince and the Nutcracker in “The Nutcracker Ballet”, King Triton in “The Little Mermaid”, Kristof in “Frozen”, Peter Pan in “Peter Pan”, Elf in “Rudolf”, Joseph in “Heaven’s Child”, Prince in “Snow White”, and Prince in “Sleeping Beauty”. He also performed in the “Wizard of Oz”, “Angelina Ballerina”, and “Alice in Wonderland”. Aaron also performed with the Columbia City Ballet in “Dracula Ballet with a Bite”. Along with assisting at Statesboro School of Dance, he currently works part-time at East Georgia Regional Medical Center as a nursing assistant. Aaron was pro dancer for Statesboro Dancing with Stars in 2018, a fundraising event for Safe Haven, a local women’s shelter. He and his partner, Diana Ray, won first runner-up Judges Choice and the People’s Choice award, voted for by fans. Aaron will be participating in the event again in 2019 as a pro dancer.
A dancer since she was little, Jessica is our tap and jazz teacher, helping with the Pink, White, Light Blue, Royal Blue and Purple Classes for the fifth year. Jessica has studied tap, jazz and ballet under Ms. Shay. She danced with Statesboro School of Dance for 14 years, and started assisting classes when she was in 5th grade. A junior at Georgia Southern University, Jessica is majoring in communication studies. She is an active member of the First Baptist Church Student Ministry where she’ll be serving a second year as a college intern, and is the proud little sister of Jeremy, Jenifer and Jeb Daniel; and soon-to-be aunt!
Serenity Brown is a native of Metter, Georgia and currently attends Georgia Southern University. Dance has always been a special part of Serenity’s upbringing. She trained under Blair Rackett and Christy McCabe at Studio South Dance Academy for 8 years. Her background is in musical theater, classical dance, and rhythm tap, but focuses in funk tap.
Caroline is a dancer from Roswell, GA. She began dancing at the age of 3, and has been dancing with SIDEWAYS Contemporary Dance Company since 2012. She has training in many styles including ballet, tap, jazz, and modern. This is Caroline’s first year in Statesboro. She is a junior at Georgia Southern University, studying Psychology and Therapeutic Recreation. Caroline worked with the Foster-Schmidt Academy for Down syndrome in Atlanta for 8 years, where she discovered her passion for working with students of all abilities. She is very excited to continue that passion with Statesboro School of Dance.
Student Teaching Assistants
Bailey Gunter has been dancing at SSOD since she was 3 years old. She loves all of the dance classes but her favorite is Tap! Bailey is a Senior at Statesboro High this year and is joint enrolled at Georgia Southern. Bailey is active in The National Honor’s Society and is very involved in the SHS Drama department. She has choreographed several dances for the younger students involved with her acting classes. Bailey is a member of First Presbyterian Church and actively involved with the youth group. When she isn’t dancing, Bailey enjoys baking & trying out our local coffee shops. Bailey has recently started volunteering at a local elementary school giving extra help to students struggling with sight words and reading. She is the daughter of Chris & Jessica Gunter-Benatti. Bailey has an older brother (Jordan), younger sister (Abbie), 2 dogs, and a cat.
Taylor has been dancing with Mrs. Shay for 8 years and will be assisting with the pink class. She is a freshman at Statesboro High School. When she is not at dance, Taylor is an active member of Eastern Heights Baptist Church youth group. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Taylor is the daughter of Corey and Shannon Hinson, and big sister to Ansley.
Hope has been dancing with Mrs. Shay for 14 years and she will be greeting our dancers at the door this year. She is currently a senior at Southeast Bulloch High school where she is in the FCCLA club. When Hope is not at dance, she chases her crazy siblings and she cheers on the Atlanta Braves ! I am the daughter of Scott Hutchens and Leslie Akins. I’m also the proud big sister to Kody, Sara, Skylar, and Liam.
Kate is a sophomore at Statesboro High School. She began her dance training in the Fall of 2006 at Statesboro School of Dance. Kate attended Atlanta Ballet Summer Intensive in July 2014 and Joffrey South Ga in July of 2015. At school, Kate is a member of the Girls Track Team, Beta Club President and an FCS/Y-Club leader. She is a member of Pittman Park United Methodist Church and is active in the youth group. Kate is the daughter of Franklin and Beth Lamb.
Karlye Brooke Mainer
Karlye Brooke has been dancing at Statesboro School of Dance for 13 years and will start assisting in the upcoming season. When she is not at dance, she enjoys cheering for Georgia Southern and loves the beach! She is currently a junior at Southeast Bulloch High School where she is active in FCCLA, Beta Club, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is the daughter of Niki Gladin and Terry Mainer and a big sister to Kayla Mainer.
She is currently an eighth grader at Southeast Bulloch Middle School. At school, Claire works hard in advanced classes and is a huddle leader for Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is a member of Friendship Baptist Church and is involved in the church youth group. When Claire is not dancing, she keeps her family and friends laughing. She loves reading, painting, drawing, and chasing her golden retriever, Belle. Claire is the daughter of Tony and Cyd Pagliarullo and big sister to Charlotte and Tripp.
Zoe is a freshman at Statesboro High School and has been dancing with Mrs. Shay for 8 years. When she is not at dance, Zoe enjoys youth activities at PPUMC, especially Big Stuf summer camp. She enjoys spending as much time as possible time with her friends. Zoe is the daughter of Jill & Ken Johns and Raphael Pantin & Eun Lee. She has 2 dogs, 2 cats and 3 brothers.
Katherine is an eighth grader at Bulloch Academy and in her 12th year of dance at Statesboro School of Dance. At school, Katherine is a member of the Archery Team, Math Team and Y-Club. She attends First United Methodist Church where is a member of the Youth Group. When not at school or dance, Katherine loves spending time with her friends and going to the beach or to Disney World. The past two summers she attended the Joffrey Ballet Summer Intensive at the University of Georgia. Katherine is the daughter of Austin and Heather Whitlock and the sister of Ansley and Harper.