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Drumming up inspiration for teaching excellence in Wayne-Finger Lakes region

After a lively drum solo to grab the post-lunch attention of more than 200 area school administrators, Michael Hayden didn’t miss a beat in relating his own story of how music changed his life, offering it as inspiration for colleagues to be life-changing influences on their students.

The superintendent of the Clyde-Savannah Central School District, an accomplished percussionist, was the closing speaker Friday of the two-and-a-half day Wayne Finger Lakes Leadership Academy at the W-FL BOCES Conference Center.

He joked that if attendees did not remember what he said, at least they would remember “an awesome” drum set.

Hayden said many teachers do not realize the impact they have on their students and recounted his challenges growing up on Long Island, from living with childhood traumas relating to health and other issues, including a learning disability, to his interaction with teachers — many who nurtured and encouraged his development, and one who left him devastated.

Even his worst experience with a teacher, though, was a life-changing inspiration to prove himself. Hayden, the son of a musician, also loved music and said he was crushed when he did not make the cut for the elementary school chorus at the end of third grade with the teacher even telling him he would never be a musician because he could not sing on pitch.

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