Nominated by readers and selected by SBO’s editorial staff, the 16th annual “50 Directors Who Make a Difference” report once again shines the spotlight on an incredible array of outstanding music educators from every corner of the United States.
Former UMMB drum major Cyndi Napierkowski is honored as the Massachusetts director in School Band and Orchestra (SBO) magazine. Congratulations!
Proudest moment as an educator: This is really a tough question to answer because I’m proud of even the smallest of successes that my students achieve and I don’t want to sound like I’m boasting. If I had to narrow it to just one moment, I suppose it would be our performance at Carnegie Hall in March 2009. The really cool thing is that we’re going back this March in 2014 for another performance at Carnegie Hall.
Making a difference in students’ lives: I go to work every day ready to do battle, not with the students but for the students. A well-rounded music program makes for well-rounded people and I truly believe that music makes a significant difference in our students’ lives. I was fortunate to have some wonderful teachers growing up and my way of paying them back and saying “thank you” to them is to try to make a difference for my own students. I want my students to have someone who believes in them and someone who will stand by them when the going gets tough.
Key to a successful career in music ed: Some believe in the “Three Rs” for education (Reading, Writing…) but I believe in the Three Ps: Patience, Perseverance, and Passion. A former superintendent once called me “fiercely loyal” to my students and I guess that about sums it up. It’s always about the kids and that’s the way it should be. It’s the only reason to be a teacher; it’s too much work otherwise.