I first found Dr. John Gallagher and NYSSMA on Twitter a couple of years ago. They linked to something called a “Swiss cheese” press release. I clicked the link and found not only a treasure trove of templates for public relations—all tailored specifically for music education programs—but tumbled down a deep rabbit hole of online resources all designed to help you market music education right in your own community.
I’m so glad John was able to join me on the podcast! Here are a few of the topics we touch on in this episode:
- What is a “Swiss Cheese” news release?
- What’s the best way to advocate for your program?
- The importance of engaging your community
- How to get your music program covered by local news outlets
- Lessons from failed attempts to organize a booster group
- The legality of using students’ images to promote your music program
- Great advice from a retired superintendent to battle burnout
- A few “out-of-the-box” fundraiser ideas
- The one thing that John says will improve your music program
Resources from this episode
About Dr. John Gallagher
John J. Gallagher, Ed.D., is the Director of Fine Arts for the Longwood Central School District, a position he has held since 2006. He has served the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) as State Chairperson for Public Relations and Information since 2000; the Suffolk County Music Educators Association (SCMEA) as Commercial Membership chairperson since 2014; and the Suffolk County Chapter of the New York State Council of Administrators of Music Education (NYSCAME) as director of professional development since 2015.
He has also held positions in community and public relations for school districts handling all aspects of communication including news releases, district calendars, and newsletters.
A dedicated advocate for arts education, Dr. Gallagher joined with leaders on the state and local levels to spearhead the creation of the Long Island Scholar Artist program, an initiative that provides media coverage to students in the five areas of the arts. Students are featured each month of the school year in Newsday and were first introduced in September 2007. In December 2008, WLIW-TV, Long Island’s local PBS station, aired a documentary on the program.
School music programs under his leadership have received the designation of being among the Best Communities for Music Education in America and have been named a Finalist in the GRAMMY Signature Schools program. Bands under his direction have been featured in such venues as Walt Disney World, the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, the Empire State Plaza and Madison Square Garden. They have received high ratings in concert performance and his marching band earned a 2002 State Championship.
Before turning to a career in music education, John was employed in the field of public relations and marketing communications. He has held positions in the field of corporate and brand marketing, healthcare communications, and has handled public relations for various performing groups.
John Gallagher created and has presented an arts advocacy clinic to various arts educators associations and educational institutions along the East Coast. His writings on the topic have been published in NYSSMA’s Magazine, School Music News. John’s doctoral research studied the role of music administrators and music educators as advocates for their school music programs. A portion of his dissertation was published to create NYSSMA’s Advocacy manual.
John holds membership in the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), NYSSMA, NYSCAME, SCMEA and Suffolk-NYSCAME and is a NYSSMA All State Brass Adjudicator.
He holds a B.S. in Communication Arts from St. John’s University, an M.S. in Music Education from C.W. Post College, an Advanced Graduate Certificate in School District Administration from the University at Stony Brook, and an Ed.D. in Educational Administration from Dowling College.
Dr. Gallagher lives in Middle Island, NY with his wife, Danielle, and their children Amanda, Thomas, and Michael.
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