John Muir teacher Gerry Perrault was recently recognized as a finalist in the Region 7 California League of Middle Schools educator of the year competition. The local music teacher was nominated for the honor by Ken Spencer, principal at John Muir.
Perrault, who has taught over 15 years in music and math classrooms, inherited a local band class that contained less than 15 students and within four years produced a Wildcat marching band with an enrollment of 30 students. Over 10 students participate in the drum line, and the John Muir color guard lists another 28 students.
“This is a massive amount of growth and Mr. Perrault is entirely responsible for it. He also teaches music in grades two through five, and is able
to recruit those students, as well as those already attending John Muir,” noted Spencer.
Spencer said that as a music educator, Perrault leads his band, music and color guard students to the beat of dedication, determination, desire and delight.
“Day in and day out, he tirelessly commits himself to his students’ musical education and enrichment,” stated Spencer. “Lining them up with perfection and precision, all the while modeling and molding just how they should perform.”
Spencer added that Perrault spending countless hours of his own time working with students to help them improve their skills. Additional time is spent organizing John Muir’s band for parades, back to school events, honor roll presentations, talent shows and musical performances. When asked what motivates him to give more than 100 pe4rcent to his students, Perrault said that music is a wonderful, creative art and he believes all his music students have the need and desire to appreciate the gift of music.
Perrault himself plays the trumpet and the drum. He has played piano since he himself was in junior high.
Perrault his added rigor to his music classes, said Spencer, by adding writing and project-based learning to his music curriculum.
“He understand that students need to be able to be successful in all aspects of life, imncouding their academics and een sports,” said Spencer.
And Perrault incorporates technology in his classroom through live musical performances. Through venues such as YouTube, Perrault said he can pique his students’ interest in musical growth. He works relentlessly to cultivate a love of instrumental skills, composing skills, individual solos and live performance to help each of his students succeed in music.
“Mr. P is the most dedicated band teacher I have ever met,” stated Spencer. “He stays past 6 p.m. almost every day on his own accord. He has taught after school color guard and drum line without being asked and it not being part of his paid time. He never misses work.”
Perrault rose to the designation of one of 11 finalists in the competition out of over 30,000 teachers in Region 7. The area includes Mariposa, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties. The presentation banquet was held in Fresno at the University Square Hotel.