George N. Parks Leadership in Music Education Award


music award

About the Award

Developed by the National Association for Music Education and Music for All, the George N. Parks Leadership in Music Education Award is named for the late George Parks, director of the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band. Considered a national authority on drum majoring, Mr. Parks led the George N. Parks Drum Major Academy, including at the Music for All Summer Symposium.

The George N. Parks Award honors an exemplary band director who embodies the characteristics and leadership that Mr. Parks showed his students every day. There will not be a 2021 award. Nominations for the 2022 award will open in May 2022.

2022 Nomination Instructions

NAfME and Music for All will hold an open nomination period for the George N. Parks Award beginning in May 2022. Please send questions to Information below will be updated.

  • Rules and Nominee Eligibility
    • Your nominee must be or formerly have been a band teacher.
    • Nominations must be completed on the form (to come).
    • We will only accept up to 3 nomination forms per nominee. Please collaborate with others if there is a desire to submit more than three.
  • The Nomination Form includes:
    • Nominee Information: Name, Title, Email address, Phone number, Physical address, School taught, and Years taught.
    • Nominator Information: Name, Title, Email address, Phone number, Physical address, Relationship to nominee.
    • Response to the following four criteria: (no more than 200 words per response).
      • Collaborative spirit
      • Dedication to knowing students as individuals
      • Perseverance and enthusiasm
      • Ability to instill qualities in students beyond achievement in music

Individuals selected as finalists will be contacted by e-mail. Finalists who wish to be considered for the award will be asked to complete a two-part prompted essay and submit two letters of recommendation from colleagues in the music education profession.

Members of the Music for All board of directors and the NAfME Council for Band Education will select the recipient based on the criteria, and information submitted with the nomination.


About George N. Parks

George N. Parks(1953-2010) Mr. Parks began teaching drum majors at the West Chester University summer marching band workshops in 1973, and founded the Drum Major Academy® in 1977. Mr. Parks was Professor of Music at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, and the director of the Minuteman Marching Band for 33 years. He was a recipient of the University’s Distinguished Teacher Award and the Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Service. He was named an Honorary Alumnus of the University of Massachusetts and inducted into the Massachusetts Instrumental Conductor’s Association Hall of Fame.

Professor Parks conducted numerous district and regional bands in Massachusetts, Maine, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, as well as conducting the University Concert Band at UMass. Over the years his involvement with Bowl Games of America placed him at the helm of half–time productions for the National BCS Game, the Sugar, Orange, Carquest and Hall of Fame Bowl Games. In 2005 Professor Parks was Director of the Bands of America National Honor Band during their inaugural performance in the Tournament of Roses Parade. He returned as director in 2009 for the group’s second appearance.

Professor Parks has been featured in various instructional videos teaching drum majoring, leadership skills, and mace techniques, and authored “The Dynamic Drum Major,” a text on the art of drum majoring. Mr. Parks was drum major of the West Chester University Golden Rams Marching Band, an 8 time recipient of the DCA World Championship Drum Major Award as drum major of the Reading Buccaneers Senior Drum and Bugle Corps and was inducted into the Drum Corps Associates Hall of Fame.

The Drum Major Academy® is the nation’s foremost authority on the art of drum majoring, and the staff, all prominent music educators, brings over 35 years of teaching and performing experience, instructing over 3000 drum major and band leadership students each year.


About Music For All

Music for All’s mission is to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all.

We believe that music and arts education is a core to students’ education and must be available to all students. Music for All is an advocate for music and arts education. Our educational programs support the efforts of instrumental music teachers on the high school and middle school levels, as well as provide positively life-changing experiences for students.  


Past Recipients

2020: Jennifer Collins, Director of Bands, Broad Rock Middle School, Wakefield, Rhode Island
Edward F. Protzman, Director of Bands, William Mason High School, Mason, Ohio
David LaMorte, Assistant Principal of Visual, Performing, and Career Arts, Staten Island, NY
Marisa Weinstein, Director of Bands, Warsaw Middle School, Pittsfield, ME
Thom Hannum, Associate Director, Minutemen Marching Band, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
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, Hofstra University, NY