Congratulations to Ms. Marisa Weinstein, Director of Bands, Warsaw Middle School, Pittsfield, ME, the 2017 recipient of the George N. Parks Leadership in Music Education award. Ms. Weinstein received the award during the opening finals ceremonies at the 2017 Grand National Championships, presented by Yamaha on November 11.
Developed by NAfME, the National Association for Music Education and Music for All, the award is named for George N. Parks (1953–2010), director of the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band at the University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1977 until his death, and honors an exemplary music educator who embodies the characteristics and leadership that Mr. Parks personified.
Marisa Weinstein began teaching at Warsaw Middle School in Pittsfield, Maine nearly three decades ago, and in that time, she has had an immeasurable impact on the students, parents, and community in Pittsfield. In addition to teaching three concert bands, two jazz bands, two general music classes, and two choruses, Ms. Weinstein also facilitates musical performances at several community events throughout the year.
A native of Merritt Island, Florida, Ms. Weinstein began her career at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Education. While at UMass, she studied conducting with Malcom W. Rowell and percussion with Dr. Peter Tanner. She served ten years as the Associate Conductor for the Casco Bay Wind Symphony in Portland, ME (1990-2000), and she continues to actively perform, evaluate, and guest conduct throughout the New England area today.
Beyond the classroom, Ms. Weinstein demonstrates her commitment to her school and community in a variety of ways. She has coached multiple middle school sports teams for the last 15 years, she has facilitated student performances at several parades and festivals in Pittsfield, and she volunteers to DJ once a month at every Warsaw Middle School dance throughout the school year. Sharon Littlefield, the principal of Warsaw Middle School, said of Ms. Weinstein: “I would like to say that this ‘music family feeling’ she creates is due to the time she spends instructing her students as musicians, but as you can see her connections extend far beyond her program.”
Ms. Weinstein is an active member of the Maine Music Educators Association, and she has served four terms as the District chairperson. She was presented with the Association’s “Educator of the Year” award in 2013, demonstrating the visibility of her commitment to her students and her community. Both former and current students of Weinstein’s said that not only does she connect with students on a personal level, but she also holds them to high standards of excellence. When asked about how she defines success in her programs, Ms. Weinstein emphasized the importance of taking risks and standing up for what you believe in: “When students are willing to risk failure, they learn more about themselves and develop a greater overall appreciation of and for each other.”
2016 Thom Hannum
Associate Director, Minutemen Marching Band, the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA
2015 Patrick M. Erwin
Director of Bands at Hillgrove High School in Powder Springs, GA
2014 Cynthia Napierkowski
Director of Bands at Salem High School in Salem, MA
2013 Dr. Barry Shepherd
Superintendent of Cabarrus County Schools, NC
2012 Daniel Kirk
Blue Valley West, KS
2011 Dr. Peter Boonshaft