If I Email You in November, It’s Not SPAM and I’m Not Selling Anything!

Mike Lawson • Perspective • November 6, 2017

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In our December issue of SBO, we will feature our 50 Directors Who Make a Difference issue for the 20th time.

Twenty years. Wow! That’s 1000 band directors nominated for this recognition from every state in the union.

Now, let me tell you, if you think herding your marching band for drills is a tough task, trying personally contacting 50 band directors during their busiest time of year as they prepare for marching in parades, holiday concerts, football game performances and more.

This is a Herculean-task each year, and I have to make it happen in the span of about three weeks. First, our editorial team has to review all of the submissions, and there are hundreds of them. Then we have to make our final selections based on the submissions. Then we have to vet the submissions by searching Google and making sure that the director is in good standing in the community, or is still teaching in the state where they were submitted. And once that list is compiled, I have to go online and seek out the names and contact info for school administrators, superintendents, school secretaries, and get out an email to each director notifying them of their director’s selection. I ask for a photo and three questions to be answered. I have to keep a running, color-coded spreadsheet of who was mailed, who replied, who sent their questions and photo back, and do a very hands-on process, all within a couple of weeks to try to get the info returned and compiled and edited, and all before I go to the NAfME National Conference in Grapevine, Texas this month.

So, for Pete’s sake, help me out here. If I send you an email announcing your selection in the 20th Annual 50 Directors Who Make a Difference issue, have mercy on me! Reply, send me the answers to the questions and a headshot, and then sit back and bask in the warm glow of a job well done! This honor is coming from your students, your students’ parents, your administrators, your colleagues, your boss, your assistant director, your school superintendent, and others who think you are awesome.

Excuses I get each year:

I thought it was SPAM, so I deleted it.

I thought you were trying to sell me something.

It isn’t, and I’m not. This is not a sales pitch, it’s a really great honor. Remarkably, there are typically one or two directors who tell me “no, I don’t want to promote myself.” You’re not. Your nominating person is promoting you. Let them. They like you. They really like you.

I will be calling you, your school, your school secretary, your principal and vice-principal, your school board and superintendent’s office, if I don’t hear back right away. You are going to be honored by SBO in this very special anniversary issue, and by those who submitted your name with their heartfelt letters, whether you like it or not!

So again, please, if you hear from me this month, open the email, or letter, and reply right away so I can put this massive issue to bed on time, and maybe even put myself to bed on time. It’s kind of a big deal.

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