LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Ryan Mack

Position: Music Teacher
School: P.S. 052 Sheepshead Bay
School District: New York City Department of Education, District 22
City, State: Brooklyn, NY

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Ryan Mack was nominated by an anonymous colleague.

P.S. 52K Sheepshead Bay is a Title 1 school in Brooklyn, N.Y. with a student body of almost 900.  Over the past five years, the school’s Music Educator and Ensemble Director, Mr. Ryan W. Mack, has established a program that excites and engages students of all ages, levels, and abilities through music.  What was once a basic vocal general music program, has now expanded to include three different choruses and a musical theatre program.  Along with creating opportunities to explore vocal music, Mr. Mack has also petitioned for and sought out the funds and resources to create programs in instrumental music, with studies now available in string orchestra, modern band, and piano/keyboard.

Mr. Mack not only takes great pride in his Music Program, but works tirelessly to make it available to all students who have an interest in exploring the musical arts.  Prior to Mr. Mack coming to P.S. 52, there was a small violin program available.  However, this program was offered exclusively to students that were enrolled in the school’s Gifted & Talented curriculum track.  While he loves the idea of providing unique challenges for these students, Mr. Mack felt that the joys of music should be made available to all interested students, regardless of academic level or background.  Through his efforts, he managed to secure more than $100,000 in new instruments and instrument accessories, including 22 violins, 8 violas, 6 cellos, 19 keyboards, 10 guitars, 1 one-of-a-kind Sing for Hope piano, and 1 drum kit.  All of this was through his own personal ambition, and is provided at zero cost to the school and students.

His program is further supplemented with various partnerships, residency programs, grants, and field trips, including the VH1 Save the Music Instrument Grant, Midori & Friends’ 12-Notes program, Disney Musicals in Schools’ Mini-Residency, CASA grants, Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect School Partnership, Link-Up, and Musical Explorers programs, Sing for Hope, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz for Young People program, the New York Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concerts for Schools program, WE Day, and Little Kids Rock.  Many of these programs have included field trips to top concert halls and theaters in New York City, including Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall, the Rose Theater, the Circle in the Square Theatre, the New Amsterdam Theatre, the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, the New Victory Theatre, and the Minskoff Theatre.  Through the work that he does, students in Pre-K to 5th grade have experienced more live music in professional settings than many adults have in their entire lifetimes.

In addition to concerts and performances experienced as audience members, Mr. Mack puts on several productions throughout the school year.  On top of being of an incredibly high caliber, with students singing in 2, 3, 4, and even 5-part harmony, the material presented is carefully selected to reflect the interests, values, and cultures that make up the school.  Students have performed songs in Russian, Arabic, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Greek, Hindi Georgian, as well as traditional songs from Ireland, the Chocktaw and Cherokee tribes, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Puerto Rico, Mali, and North America.  Classes and rehearsals centered on these songs are structured so that students can embrace and learn to understand and appreciate the cultures at hand, as opposed to simply learning a song and moving on.

His work not only reaches his students but the surrounding community as well.  He is an NYC Men Teach Mentor, providing guidance and mentorship for new NYC DOE educators, as well as an Arts Monday Facilitator for the Office of Arts and Special Projects, in which he facilitates monthly workshops on music education and assessment.   His community engagements and collaborations with the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance and the Bay Improvement Group have provided a way for his students to give back to the surrounding community even more, with featured performances at local charity toy drives and other community events.  Additional community engagements have included a performance at the 2017 Brooklyn Borough Arts Festival, a Gold Medal at the 2018 NYSSMA Festival, and most recently a performance at NYC DOE Chancellor Richard Carranza’s Winter Party.

"What sets Mr. Mack apart is the tremendous amount of love that he holds for the Music Program, as well as for his students," the nominator said. "He relentlessly pursues additional studies and workshops in music education to be whatever his students need.  His passion for the work that he does is contagious, and his enthusiasm, as well as his ambition to educate, elevate, and inspire makes his classes a joyful and invigorating time.  He has a persistent drive that inspires his students on a deeper level, awakening within them an inner greatness not yet encountered."

Above all, students love coming to music class, and are continuously motivated to invest further in their education. Lessons are rigorous and challenging yet always promote fun and play, as the classroom is filled with life, learning, and especially laughter.  The families of his students recognize the profound and positive impact that he has had on their children, as he constantly tries to find new and innovative ways of reaching students through music.  The endless creativity that he pours into every moment has created an incredible shift over the years, as his students familiarize themselves with a new means of artistic and intellectual expression.  They have become true scholars of music; independent artists with their own creativity and interpretations, and a sense of camaraderie, as well as an understanding of how to collaborate effectively as an ensemble.  His students recognize that they are a team, and that along with their ability to express music eloquently, they must also strive to support one another as a community.  This is what turns the casual student into a self-sustaining, life-long learner.  This is the moment when you know that the music will continue on long after the concert has ended.  This is why Mr. Ryan W. Mack is a phenomenal educator and an artist of learning.  He is a role model and an inspiration, gifted at sparking young minds.  He is a true life changer.

Comments (64)

Alicia Hughes Posted 7 months ago

I have the amazing honor of working along with Mr. Mack. Ryan, is the most remarkable man I have ever met. Children adore his musical talent and guidance! Ryan has worked along with the Israeli community for ages, by supporting equity, knowledge, and peace among all cultures. Ryan, is kind and nurturing. I am honored to know and work along with a man that always exhibits, courage and valor. I dream of thanking him for all that he has done for mankind! Ryan is my friend, twin and brother. I hope and pray that he marries a queen that honors his precious perfection! Love Always, Alicia

Lucia Posted over a year ago

I have been a long time friend of Mr. Ryan Mack's mother and when she invited me to one of Ryan's school concerts,I was happy and excited to attend as I myself love music. I also knew that Ryan is a good teacher. However, I was amazed at his performance and dedication. The professionalism and the calibre of music his students performed was exceptional. Generally, students are as good as their teachers and Ryan's students were way beyond what I expected to hear. I thought I was at a Broadway play. They were that good. You have here a dedicated, loyal and incredible young music teacher in Mr.Ryan Mack. He works hard for his students and uplifts them in his music classes to reach their highest potential and it shows in the music they deliver. To have a teacher constantly ,day in and day out supporting his students in all the ways he does is very, very commendable. We have to reward our dedicated teachers. With this in mind to award him this life changer of the year is only the right thing to do for him and for is industrious and creative students. Thank you.

Rosemarie Zacchi Posted over a year ago

I am writing with one more comment on Mr. Mack. I am asking you to look at comments from his coworkers, friends, principals, parents, even children that wrote in comments. He is an amazing teacher, but not just amazing, he is a true life changer. He never turns a student away, doesn’t matter if they don’t have a wonderful voice, doesn’t matter if they don’t know how to play an instrument, nothing matters other than they want to learn and try in his class, whether it be chorus, music, playing an instrument, drama. I have watched Mr. Mack on stage with the children and they are mesmerized by him because he cares, he’s funny, he teaches in creative ways. Numerous parents have told me how their children came out of their shell because of Mr. Mack, children that have never sang before are now confident and singing on stage. I have attended many outings, trips, festivals in the community that Mr. Mack gives students a chance to participate in. He was even asked to gather some of his chorus to sing for the NYC School Chancellor! He works tirelessly, always trying for grants to get instruments so more children can learn and play. You will not only see Mr. Mack staying late every day to give more of his time to his students, but students that have moved on to middle school come in the morning or after school to visit him! I have seen these students blossom throughout the years and I can honestly say it is due to his dedication and ongoing support for all children!

Craig McGorry Posted over a year ago

I first met Ryan almost a decade ago, when he began student-teaching with me in my elementary school music program in the South Bronx. It was clear even then that Ryan was dedicated to providing meaningful musical education experiences for children and that a stellar teaching career was ahead of him. Over the years, I've watched Ryan blossom as an educator. He is often a fellow participant in music education workshops that I attend throughout the year, illustrating his dedication to continuous growth as a teacher. Ryan takes full advantage of the many organizational partnership opportunities that are available to help his students enhance their musical education. He has obtained various instruments that have enabled him to create several ensembles at his school. He has introduced 100s of children to live music opportunities at world-renowned institutions, such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, among others Following through on these opportunities, which involves, among other things, completing applications, attending workshops, often on weekends, fulfilling post-grant fulfillment requirements, etc. is very time-consuming and takes up a lot of a person's free time. Ryan keeps us all striving to do more for our students.

Luis Vazquez Posted over a year ago

Ryan is an inspirational teacher who issues his role to help NYC kids dream big dreams. When I was growing up in NYC, I wish there were more teachers like him that could have brought passion and creativity into the education process.

Mark Buehler Posted over a year ago

When my friend invited me to the School’s children’s performance for my first time, I thought that it would be cute. I was wrong. It was breathtaking! We hear a lot about how schools are failing. Not here — not at P. S. 52 — not with Ryan Mack. He clearly has a gift for challenging and developing young minds and students’ talent. This is priceless! I then went to other productions of his and your students’ and I was again and again in awe of the powerful and meaningful and robust performances! Please honor and recognize Mr. Ryan Mack, and thus by extension, your beautiful and bright students. Their newly-found self-confidence and love of the Arts will last a lifetime. What a gift! Thank you, Mr. Mack.

Robyn A Coghlan Posted over a year ago

As a former teaching supervisor of Ryan's i have witnessed the growth of a teacher into an inspirational leader. I have seen children who did not believe in themselves, who were oftentimes angry and failing in classes find passion, confidence, a mentor and guide who uplifted them. It was Ryan has changed the trajectory.

Barbara Warner Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack has been the music teacher at P.S. 52 for the past 5 years and has been a tremendous addition to the school community. He has enhanced our music program by leaps and bounds by tirelessly applying for grants and partnerships to get instruments and exciting programs for the students. In the past 5 years we have grown from a basic instrumental program of violins and flutes to an instrumental program with winds, strings and percussion instruments plus a fantastic chorus who were invited to sing for the Chancellor. Mr. Mack lives and breathes music and truly wants to enrich all the students' lives through the power of music. He is truly a life changer to so many of our students who would otherwise never have the opportunity to learn an instrument or participate in a performance. Mr. Mack expect a lot of his students and the students love him and trust him. His genuine compassion and concern for the students is felt by everyone; students, parents and colleagues.

Christian Bernhard Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack is a creative and dedicated music teacher. He believes that all children deserve the opportunity to make music, and has done impressive work to support that mission. I fully support his nomination for this recognition.

Iman Hashish Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack has been our music teacher for the past few years. He has arranged trips to Carnegie Hall where students are exposed to different music from around the world. Students respond so well to Mr. Mack showing their love for music. Mr. Mack also has provided extra music help in his own time to students that benefit from his one on one sessions (piano, singing, etc. ). Mr. Mack has touched students hearts by providing them with his love to music. Iman Hashish

Andrew Dolgon Posted over a year ago

Ryan is a good friend and colleague. He has a great vision for music education and where he would like to take his students musically. A truly talented educator and asset to P.S.52.

George McAnanama Posted over a year ago

I am coming from a family of educators, the love, the rapport and respect that folks for Mr Mack is truly remarkable. To open young minds to what is possible and achievable is what many an educators would call “a dream job”. With all the obstacles teachers face currently, his success equals our success as a community and yes a society,

Melissa Blank Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack rocks! Dedicated, trusted, talented and loved by kids and their parents.

Rose Zacchi Posted over a year ago

I have attended so many of Ryan Mack’s concert performances by his students, and sat while parents watch with tears of joy! RYAN is a true Life Changer... just attend any concert and watch the students, talk to the parents, coworkers, and the principal! He takes the children above and beyond their potential, with after school lessons, that he purchased instruments through grants he wrote on his own time. He brings students on trips throughout the school year, exposing them to concerts in music halls that most adults don’t experience in a lifetime. His students even preformed for the School Chancellor at a holiday gathering. last year. Countless parents have told me that “Mr. Mack brought out the voice and confidence” in their child, who was once shy.

Sharon Braverman Posted over a year ago

Before Mr. Mack came to our school 5 years ago, P.S. 52 had a basic general music program. Standards were taught and understood. An annual winter concert was held. Students sang, or if they were lucky, performed on an instrument that was studied once a week. At the end of music class students returned to their classrooms to continue their studies in math or literacy until the following week’s music class. This is not to say that there was anything wrong with this, but it wasn’t until Mr. Mack came to P.S. 52 that I realized just how far-reaching, grand, and innovative a music program could be for a public elementary school. Before coming to P.S. 52, the music program fulfilled the need of a music curriculum. What Mr. Mack has done is taken a subject, and through his facilitation, awoken and fulfilled the desires of his students to learn more in a way that raises the curriculum to previously unforeseen levels. One way that Mr. Mack makes this possible is through his collaborative work with our parent community to establish a program that not only nourishes our students’ musical development, but their social, emotional, and creative development as well. His students have received district, city, and state-wide recognition for their achievements as they continue to study music through any number of his programs. Mr. Mack now instructs about 200 students in specialty vocal ensembles and about 55 students in specialty instrumental ensembles. This is all in addition to his regular general music classes. This shows growth and a commitment to expanding the program for years to come, as the numbers speak for themselves. This, in turn, has resulted in greater concert attendance, more opportunities for parent involvement, and increased financial support from the Parent Association. Despite the many options of musical study that Mr. Mack provides, the fact remains that over 75% of our students struggle in the home with financial hardships and require a free or reduced-price lunch. However, his efforts show that he refuses to let such facts diminish the opportunity for his students to have a truly meaningful educational experience, or stifle their potential for greatness. A high-quality music education is not something that he feels should be reserved only for those that have the financial independence to self-provide, but rather, should be accessible and made available to all. He believes that regardless of financial situation, background, or academic achievement, all children possess an innate sense of music and creativity, and that this must be developed to the fullest extent possible. On top of fulfilling city and state standards, Mr. Mack awakens a desire to become a more learned individual about music and the world in general. His classes may deal in music, but his boundless energy and determination bring out a hunger for growth, a thirst for curiosity, and the understanding that we all have the potential to bring positive change to our community. This is incredibly powerful stuff to present to a child. We all wish for our students to believe that they can achieve greatness; Mr. Mack’s students know that they can. The difference here is critical. Through Mr. Mack’s instruction, coaching, and nurturing, his students have moved on to study at the city’s most prestigious school music institutions, including the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts and I.S. 239 Mark Twain School for the Gifted and Talented, both of which are highly selective schools that require all students to undergo a rigorous audition and examination process to enter. He even has a student preparing for an audition at The Juilliard School this coming Spring! These are some of the top schools for music in our city and students come from all over to attend. The fact that a significant number of his auditioning students are accepted speaks to how he not only prepares students for an activity or a concert, but for life and the next several years of study. These students continue to receive his mentorship through the implementation of the P.S. 52 Alumni Ensemble; a new program that Mr. Mack established that combines former students with current students in order to collaborate and learn from one another. While I cannot say enough wonderful things in regards to the positive effect that he has had on his students, Mr. Mack’s impact is not limited to that of his music classes. As a kindergarten classroom teacher, a lot of my instruction is focused around literacy and math. However, through my time getting to know Mr. Mack, his curriculum, and his ideas on various philosophies of music education such as Kodaly, Dalcroze, and Orff, I have discovered new ways to engage my students in learning through our collaborations. To cite one example, as per the Teacher’s College Curriculum, and in particular its unit on Persuasive Writing, Mr. Mack and I have discussed the idea of song writing as a means of instructing and building literacy skills in young students. One student in particular built up the confidence to perform a song he had written through our combined efforts over the loudspeaker on the morning announcements this past week. Classroom teachers engage their students through collaborative projects such as these between their curriculum and that of the music program, and thus explore art for art’s sake as well as cross-curricular connections. For example, first grade students participate in a 1st Grade Community Concert, in which songs are linked by common themes of friendship, community, and the ways that we interact with one another to make the world a better place. This also incorporates letter-writing and pen-pal activities between students at our school and students at neighboring schools in our district, thus promoting literacy through collaborative music projects. Second grade students participate in the P.S. 52 Earth Day Show, which ties into the science curriculum and asks students to reflect on the world around them and to understand the impact that they have on their environment now and in the future. Third grade students participate in the Flag Day Festival, which explores our cultural backgrounds and the diversity of music. Fourth and fifth grade students take part in a Black History Month Celebration, which explores the many struggles, triumphs, and contributions of the African-American community while promoting studies in American history and social studies. I have seen Mr. Mack engage in other song writing activities with classroom teachers and students, including taking the theatrical works of Shakespeare and setting them to music and composing songs about historically significant events. All of these projects culminate in a performance to present their work to the rest of the school and place tremendous value on the songs learned, but also incorporate lessons explored within general studies classes through written assignments, class discussions, and other activities, thus providing opportunities for classroom teachers to collaborate with Mr. Mack on larger projects that further enrich the school culture as a whole. As a teacher of 30+ years, and a colleague of Mr. Mack’s for 5, I have witnessed many different teachers come and go. Mr. Mack is the kind of teacher that invests in his students by providing a means for them to invest in themselves. He understands that without the personal motivation to learn and grow, the entire learning process becomes an uphill battle, with every lesson laborious and every assessment a place of tension. He feels that children need control in order to feel responsible for their academic success, otherwise, they are deprived of a fulfilling education that engages the very core of their being. Regardless of their future career paths, he aims to educate the mind while also instilling a sense of ownership, for this will follow students throughout their lives, and the rate of success shows. As he has stated in the past, “The world is changing rapidly, and if our students are to be ready for it, we must educate them appropriately. This means examining, acknowledging, and embracing how they learn best.” His desire to learn, grow, and develop his involvement in the arts allow him to connect with music enthusiasts of various ages, levels, and demographics, and collaborate professionally. This entrepreneurial mindset in addition to his experience as an educator make him a true LifeChanger. If you are looking for an outstanding educator that innovates and inspires young minds, Mr. Mack is that. I have watched Mr. Mack build up an educational program and he is someone who feels deeply for those that he teaches. He believes in educating the whole child, and this is evident in the work that he puts forth on a daily basis, as well as the advancement in his students from year to year. If you are looking for a teacher to lead, coach, and draw the very best out of his or her students, Mr. Mack is ideal. He works tirelessly to challenge the many ensembles that he conducts at P.S. 52, making sure that every student can experience what it is like to perform on stage. This is demonstrated with the many concerts he puts on every year, which encompasses everything from multi-lingual folk songs to hip-hop and pop to magnificent showpieces. He has a true ear for music and an eye for greatness, and does not rest until all of his students have achieved something wonderful. Finally, if you are looking for a driven professional, one who works as a part of a team to bring an educational program to the next level, seeks out new and exciting opportunities, and creates his own, that is Mr. Mack. In the 5 years that he has been a staff member at P.S. 52, he has built a program that continues to stand out and break new ground every year. If these are the qualities that you are looking for in a LifeChanger, someone who proactively teaches, leads, coaches, and collaborates for success, then your search is over, and you have found him. I encourage you to look through the following links which will connect you to various newspaper articles that feature his work or video footage from his students’ performances: P.S. 52 featured on CBS Sunday Morning special on Sing for Hope Pianos P.S. 52 Sheepshead Singers at the Brooklyn Borough Arts Festival 2017 P.S. 52 featured at the Brooklyn Borough Arts Festival 2017 P.S. 52 performs at the Disney Musicals in Schools Student Share at the New Amsterdam Theatre P.S. 52 Sheepshead Singers perform “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?” From Hamilton P.S. 52 Sheepshead Singers perform “The Schuyler Sisters” from Hamilton P.S. 52 Sheepshead Singers perform “History Has Its Eyes On You” from Hamilton P.S. 52 performs “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin Kids at the Brooklyn Borough Arts Festival P.S. 52 featured in the Brooklyn Paper for Mulan Jr. P.S. 52 featured in the Brooklyn Paper for Aladdin Kids P.S. 52 featured in the Brooklyn Paper for Lion King Kids P.S. 52 featured in the Brooklyn Paper for the Annual Bay Improvement Group Toy Drive (1) P.S. 52 featured in the Brooklyn Paper for the Annual Bay Improvement Group Toy Drive (2) P.S. 52 featured in the Brooklyn Paper for the Annual BayFest (2017) P.S. 52 featured in the Brooklyn Paper for the Annual BayFest (2018)

Jason Povloski Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack and I have been colleagues at P.S. 52 for about 3 years now. Prior to that I had known him as the music teacher for my 3 children, whom he has taught since they were in pre-k. This puts me in a unique position, as I have been acquainted with Mr. Mack’s impact first hand as both a parent and as a fellow teacher, and the effect that he has on the lives of his students, the school culture, and the surrounding community as a whole is extraordinary. Upon reading through the various other comments on Mr. Mack’s LifeChanger of the Year profile page, I have seen multiple references to how diverse our school community is, in terms of its socio-economic status as a Title 1 school, the individual needs of students and their learning styles, and its cultural diversity, but none of this quite demonstrates just how diverse our school truly is, nor does it bring justice to Mr. Mack’s positive impact. P.S. 52 has a diversity rating of 0.65, with the state average being 0.38, placing it in the top 20% of most diverse public schools in New York. To further demonstrate this, our school employs four different ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers, of which I am one. The students that are enrolled in my program are students who enter the school with little to no understanding of the English language, regardless of grade. These students can often find the transition into a school setting where the primary spoken language is English to be a most difficult one. Many of my students are entering the country for the first time in their lives, let alone a public school of almost 900, and such a drastic transition can be scary or intimidating for many of these students, and thus it is absolutely critical for the sake of their success and emotional comfort that they feel welcomed, heard, and supported throughout this process. Mr. Mack takes an active role in making sure that this transition is a smooth and easy one, and does whatever he can to make all students feel welcomed. For example, his 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students take the concept of music as an extension of one’s culture and highlight this as a main focus of the curriculum. On any given day of the week you can walk past his classroom and hear students from all backgrounds singing songs from Russia, Egypt, Brazil, Italy, Georgia, and other countries whose cultures are represented by our student body. However, what differentiates Mr. Mack’s approach from that of other teachers is that he treats these songs as learning opportunities that far exceed the scope of just learning a song. While many teachers may teach ABOUT diversity, or diversify their teaching strategies or material, Mr. Mack CELEBRATES diversity, and the difference is evident in the overall culture of his classroom as well as the rapport he has with his students and surrounding community. Students will learn a song but then take the time to explore the culture from which it comes. This could mean learning a culture’s style of dance, dress, customs and traditions, history, and most importantly, language, as this is a gateway into a world of further learning and discovery. The greatest point of all of this is how it not only places value and importance on the cultural background of our students, but it provides an opportunity for students to lead the class on their own or in collaboration with Mr. Mack. Students help facilitate rehearsals and lessons and take an active role in demonstrating their own knowledge of the cultures at hand. Throughout this process, Mr. Mack is comfortable sharing his own limited experience with such languages, yet at the same time, demonstrates a certain bravery and desire to learn more by learning from his own students with the rest of the class. He is not afraid to take risks, let alone in front of a room filled with students, and this inspires his students to take similar risks, as he establishes a culture of support, along with the encouragement to be proactive in the quest for furthering ones knowledge and understanding of the outside world. This in turn makes his program, and our school as a whole, more accessible and more initing to students of all backgrounds but especially to those considered for the ESL program, as he has completely redesigned his curriculum by selecting material that reflects the interests, values, and cultures of our students and community. Whether they are songs from different languages, countries, or cultures, he personalizes his curriculum to fit the students that he teaches. As teachers we strive to tailor our teaching style to reflect the learning style of our students, however, we often overlook the customization of the learned material itself. Mr. Mack successfully does both, and in doing so has created a classroom environment that is in line with the state standards, while also being significantly more accessible to all, and establishing a culture of trust and respect. However, his attention to and celebration of the diversity of our school, community, and world does not begin and end at the classroom door. Mr. Mack has actively sought out to learn and understand many of the languages that he encounters on a daily basis at P.S. 52, and has since acquired a beginning to advanced understanding of Russian, Arabic, Spanish, and Italian, and is now seeking to learn Urdu and Uzbek as well. The best part about this is that these newly acquired languages are learned almost exclusively through conversation and interaction with his students, and thus these moments become more of a collaborative effort where the student and teacher roles are reversed. They become empowered as they learn from each other as well as together. What better way is there to express to such young children that they are welcomed and respected for who they are? As someone who works with first and second generation immigrants on a daily basis, and comes from a family of immigrants myself, I cannot stress the impact that this has on the students that we teach. Tension and apprehension seem to almost instantly “melt away” as students are surprised and intrigued by being greeted in a language that is familiar to them in a school building where English is often spoken but not so often understood. Students feel more comfortable being in the classroom, and with this more relaxed mindset are better able to learn and grasp new concepts and ideas, and feel welcomed to participate in the class’ activities. As a result the concept of a “language barrier” almost appears nonexistent in the music room, as ESL students and native English-speaking students alike participate in his many ensembles, both instrumental and vocal, and continue to perform at the same high caliber of musicianship. While I am sure that there are hundreds of well-deserving teachers, administrators, counselors, and other school staff that have been nominated to be the LifeChanger of the Year, I feel that it takes more than being an effective member of the school community in ones job to rightfully deserve such a title. There are those that excite students over a curriculum, and may even be described as innovative, groundbreaking, or true leaders in their field. However, Mr. Mack reaches this bar and surpasses. Mr. Mack teaches music, and he does it well, but in many ways the music and the material that he utilizes to teach is simply the tool. To have a group of 100 or so students collaboratively sing in languages to which they are not even native speakers is most impressive, but from my conversations with Mr. Mack, it has become quite clear to me that the purpose of these lessons are not strictly for the sake of music. What he imparts in his students and the community is a sense of pride, confidence, love for oneself, and above all, EMPATHY. This is what differentiates him as a true LIFECHANGER. He provides them with the skills to understand and create music, but he instills within them the self-awareness and self-confidence to be leaders and innovators in politics, academia, science, technology, mathematics, and whatever other career paths they may choose in the future. He changes lives in the present in a way that will carry on into the future, for generation after generation after generation... Please check out the following link to a past performance where he had the entire 3rd grade perform a famous song in Russian, amongst others. If you listen carefully to the audience’s reaction, you can hear just how much of an impact this has on the students as well as the school and parent community as a whole. This is just one small example from one performance where Mr. Mack has established himself as a true LifeChanger.

Emmalyn Lass Posted over a year ago

mr. mack was my chorus teacher for multiple years. He has taught me so much with my voice. When I was in lion king and mulan he was so helpful too not only me but all the students. Then he gave me a chances I new I would never get from any other teacher. First he gave me a chance to sing as Peggy skler which I loved. Then he made me fell confident in my singing. He brought me from only wanting to sing in front of people I know and I love to, singing to people I don't know at all. Thank you Mr.Mack Sincerely , Emmalyn Barbara Lass

Janet Fregosi Posted over a year ago

Ryan Mac is a wonderful, talented and accomplished young man who demonstates conviction and dedication to his profession. I first met Ryan as a young teenager. He was a neighbor who was always polite and helpful. What Ryan didn't know then was that he was also a stress reliever. He would come home from school and practice. All the neighbors would open their windows and doors to listen to him play. It was the best part of our day to come home after a grueling day and just listen to the beautiful music that he played on one of his many instruments. The stress and tension of the day just melted away. It was truly healing for the soul. To now see the many accomplishments in his young career warms my heart and makes me very proud of him. He truly doesn't know just how much his music meant to all his neighbors and to me for my own personal healing. Ryan truly has touched so many lives through his love and passion for all music and education, lives I'm sure he doesn't even realize. He is quite deserving of this award

Karen Chan Posted over a year ago

For almost 2 years, Mr. Mack helped my daughter, who's in the chorus, become less shy about performing in front of people. My daughter says he is funny and his ability to ensure that everyone is on the same page is amazing. She loves being in the chorus.

Azhaar Hussain Posted over a year ago

Mr.mack is an amazing teacher when I was in third grade that was his first year to come. Since 3rd-5th grade he had made a huge impact in my love for music, not only did he teach us songs, and make the process fun for us but he made sure we knew and understood the history about music and the background story of most things we sang and learned about. Mr.mack deserves this award and wayyy more, he is an amazing music teacher and musician!!!;and I also wanna thank his for the singer he helped me be today!

Adelya Posted over a year ago

I’ve worked with Mr. Mack at PS 52 for the past year. In my experience, I rarely encounter such dedicated teachers, mentors like Mr. Mack. He cares so much for his students, works countless hours to make sure they have everything they need for the best learning possibilities, never gets tired or gives up in front of the students. His standards are very high, and students notice that. The students aim to reach high standards, work very hard and enjoy performing. In addition to being an amazing teacher he is also a very nice person. I always enjoy having conversations about music, education and life in general. His influence on the students is incredible and I am honored to have a chance to work with him in the classroom and perform at the concerts along with him and the students.

Emily Cabrera Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack is a life changer not just because he helped a few kids learn to play music. Mr. Mack is a life changer because he single-handedly created an entire music department and music culture at a school that barely had a working piano. Ryan Mack brought music to our small school in Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn in a way that has gone well beyond classroom lesson plans. He has created a music culture at PS 52 in which our children have blossomed into music lovers, performers, and actors on the school stage, in the classroom, and in the school of life. We knew Mr. Mack was something special when he avoided the usual elementary school assembly fare, and instead had our children sing fresh arrangements of every artist from Simon and Garfunkel to Radiohead to singing clusters of songs from the musical Hamilton. We could not help but feel energized by Mr. Mack’s obvious passion and joy while hearing his students bring to life his amazing arrangements. It is obvious that he loves what he does. His teachings go beyond just teaching children notes and scales. Mr. Mack has found various performance venues and opportunities for the children to learn important life skills. From outdoor performances at “Bayfest,” to competitions with NYSSMA, to a once in lifetime performance on Broadway , Mr. Mack has provided our children with opportunities and experiences that very few music teachers would ever even take the time to seek out. Through these performances, he has taught our children confidence, self-esteem, and most importantly, how to be brave—crucial life lessons. What makes Mr. Mack so truly special is the way he shares his knowledge and passion for music with his students. My daughter says that Mr. Mack does not look at the glass as half full or half empty—he sees it as half filled with air and half with water. She says that Mr. Mack does not put up the usual student-teacher barrier, but rather, the students feel as if they are a group of friends having fun and singing songs. Mr. Mack had a profound impact on my daughter. He went above and beyond the call of duty to develop her voice and to help her prepare for various performances at lunch, after school, and at any time he could fit in a session. Through his efforts, she gained confidence and a love of music that has inspired her to continue to sing and perform in junior high school and beyond. My son currently participates in Mr. Mack's after school cello program. Mr. Mack organized the program himself and secured the instruments for the program on his own all so ten or so students each year can have a chance to learn to play a classical instrument-- a chance that most kids in this school would not otherwise be afforded. Mr. Mack is that rare, once in a lifetime teacher that has such a profound effect on his students that they will remember his name twenty years from now, and always come back to visit him every chance they get. He is that special and he is more than deserving of the title of "Life Changer."

Nicole Calabrese Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack is the true definition of a Life Changer. He has enabled every student at PS52 an opportunity to share his passion for music. He works tirelessly to give 150%, 100% of the time. In turn, the children WANT to work hard because they have a great love and respect for him.

DELCINE CHARLES Posted over a year ago

Mr. Ryan Mack has been and is still an inspiration to my son, Kaden Charles. He was my sons’ music teacher in Elementary School at PS 52 Sheepshead Bay and is currently working with the kids to create musical Alumni group for past and current students of PS 52. Mr. Mack is not just a teacher, but a motivator, inspirator and friend to my son. My sons’ love for music is due to the encouragement and inspiration he received from Mr. Mack. Under Mr. Mack’s tutulege, Kaden found a love for drama as well as music. In addition to Mr. Mack’s teaching and patience, my son has developed a strong foundation for various types of music and has transformed that into singing in the choir at his former elementary school and is now a truly gifted vocal student at Mark Twain. Mr. Mack has taught my son that music has no limit, be it by using an instrument, acting or singing. As a mother, I’ve seen how he has transformed my son from being shy and quiet into the outgoing young boy he is today. I’ve watched kids look at Mr. Mack with awe in their eyes and tried to grasp every word he said with respect, confidence and love. How can a student not be inspired and motived by a teacher who teaches with so much passion and enthusiasm, but also takes the time to joke and laugh with the kids as a best friend would? Mr. Mack is in my opinion, the most deserving of the LifeChanger nomination and my son and I are emphatically endorsing him to be selected as the LifeChanger of the Year.

Louisa Mendez-Vigne Posted over a year ago

A TRUE LIFE-CHANGER! My daughter started at PS 52 as a shy and reserved 4th grader. Within a year, she was participating in school music and theater productions and was invited by Mr. Mack to join the school chorus. Thanks to Mr. Mack my daughter discovered a talent she/we never knew she had, developed a confidence which had previously been non-existent, and was given opportunities and experiences she had never imagined. The life-changing impact Mr. Mack had on my daughter in just two years has followed her into middle school as she and a friend (also a former student of Mr. Mack) spear-headed starting a chorus program (first of its kind!) at their new school! The dedication, patience, support, and commitment demonstrated by Mr. Mack is not easily found and is valued greatly by students and families alike. Thank you, Mr. Mack!

Diana Posted over a year ago

Congratulations on your nomination!!! It is well deserved!! My daughter alexis was sooo lucky to have been in your music and theatre programs. She was in Hamlet and The Lion King .. As well as stage help for Alladin..she was also in chorus.. The performances were beyond what anyone would expect from elementary school children.. He is so dedicated. So passionate about his work and it shows in the performances and it shows in all the children he has influenced and supported through out the years.. He sincerely deserves this award. He has changed so many childrens lives in opening them up amd opening their eyes to the wonderful world of music and the arts and showing them they can reach their dreams . teaching them also about dedication, hard work and responsibility and making it fun! Thank you Mr. Mack. It was such a pleasure watching my daughter (who was very shy and quiet ) come out of her shell and grow while she was in P.S. 52. Wishing you the best!!

Lesly Eustache Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack is one of he most caring teachers my daughter had in elementary school. He was able to identify talents I never taught my daughter had and provided her with all the support she needed to succeed. I am sure that during his teaching career, he has changed the life of many of his students. He deserves the LifeChanger of the Year Award.

Slava Gofman Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack is truly an amazing teacher. My daughter enjoys Chorus very much and sings to us new songs that she has learned in different languages. Congratulations Mr. Mack! You deserve this award!

Oloyede remi Posted over a year ago

I have knew Mr Mack for three years, when my son first started school at p.s 52, and till date he is still my son’s favorite teacher, always ready to listen and help create a solution where necessary. He is kind and open hearted always carrying his students along with him, bringing out the best in them. Thank you Mr Ryan Mack

Amanda Lynn Bottoms Posted over a year ago

There are not enough words of praise to describe Ryan W. Mack. An inspiring classmate, I have been able to watch Ryan grow into a tireless educator who is dedicated to bettering all aspects of his students lives, not just musically. He instills pride and worth into their core of their identity, encourages celebration of their uniqness and heritage and asks them to think of their futures as limitless. Ryan's actions continually make ME demand more of myself to think of creative, inclusive acts of love for those around me. Being able to observe and benefit from Ryan's dedication to his community has been a pleasure and an honour.

Edward Grace Posted over a year ago

Doing a great job!

Viktoryia Perelman Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack is an amazing teacher! My son loves Chorus classes and leaned a lot new songs on different languages, bibliography of famous musicians. Mr.Mack knows how to catch attention and motivate kids to learn and explore more. Mr. Mack definitely deserve LifeChanger of the Year award!

Joshua skolnick Posted over a year ago

Hey Mr. Mack. Nice to see your a life changer for many others. You changed my life by introducing me to piano, Singing, Harmonizing, etc. Thank you for teaching me and I'm so glad you got selected. Once again... From josh 5-341 signing out. PEACE GOOD CHILD

Asiya Posted over a year ago

Congratulations for the award

Kara Geller Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack is the true definition of a "life changer". As Mr. Mack's assistant principal, I have had the pleasure of working with with him for the past two years, in that small amount of time, I have witnessed how truly transformative, inspiring and engaging his work with young people is. As an artist he shares the gift and love of learning with music with ALL children. He invites students to participate in Chorus who otherwise may never have taken the chance to speak up, let alone sing! He forms strong, genuine bonds with students and supports them through emotional and social turmoil through music, teaching instruments such as the drums or guitar and helping young people to feel safe, valued and appreciated through music and song. Our school is incredibly lucky to have such a progressive, creative, innovative educator and musician. There is not one afternoon when I don't witness Mr. Mack staying late at school to plan and coordinate field trips and shows or musical experiences for our students. He goes above and beyond to make sure our students are exposed to music, whether through singing or learning instruments. He truly believes all young people are creative and musicians in different capacities. One of the most amazing experiences I have recently shared with Mr. Mack is when our Chorus was asked to perform for the NYC Department of Education Chancellor, Mr. Carranza at a his holiday party. We traveled into Manhattan on a school bus and while traveling students rehearsed their singing, the bus was full of excitement and pride. As we arrived at Tweed Courthouse and our students began to perform, people left their offices to gather around and listen to a group of 4th and 5th grade students singing, it was truly magical. This moment for me illustrated the power of song and music, bringing people from everywhere together, a shared language we can all participate in and Mr. Mack was the engineer or builder of this beautiful moment, the same way he is of countless others in the lives of our children.

Ann Neftin Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack is an absolute treasure!!! Our kids are beyond lucky to have him as a teacher! He is a true visionary! Mr. Mack tirelessly works for the benefit of all students in his program. He constantly finds unique and interesting opportunities for our kids to shine and to showcase their talents! He elevates each child to the height of his/her potential. He offers support and encouragement to each student, making each one shine brighter than ever before! Our kids are are better human beings and their lives are immensely enriched just by knowing Mr. Mack! My daughter appeared on CBS “Sunday Morning Show”, because Mr. Mack believed in her and offered her an opportunity to play piano for the taping of the segment, where she got noticed by the show producers. This was a one-of-a-kind experience, and it happened because Mr. Mack believed in my daughter. Mr. Mack also teaches our kids to work hard, work together, reach for the stars, to always move forward, challenge themselves, try new things, and to never ever give up! The years spent with Mr. Mack will truly be unforgettable and life-changing for both students and their parents. He is is one of those teachers who stays with you for the rest of your life!

PAULETTE A DEANE Posted over a year ago

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr.Mack about 8 years ago when he became the music teacher for my daughters elementary school. Mr. Mack is the type of person who goes above and beyond not only to my daughter but to many other students that he has mentored over the years. He helped her come out of her shell as a musician and I'm always thankful for him. Eight years later and a 10th grader at Laguardia high school she still speaks highly of Mr. Mack and why he is one of the main reasons she got into the instrumental program there. Ryan has never missed one of my daughters school performances even though he was no longer her music teacher he made sure to stand behind her and insure her that she has all qualities to be the best musician she set fort to be. I cannot think of any other person that is more qualifying and deserving of this award

Marissa Carnovale Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack is a colleague of mine as well as my daughters music teacher. He is a role model to all of his students. He’s so dedicated and passionate in all he does. He has made a huge impact on PS 52 from his chorus program, to the viloin and cello program, alongside Carnegie Hall “Link Up” program as well as many other numerous projects for the school. He puts on amazing shows at school and the children shine! The students are always so eager to go to Music class as well as share all that they learned. He has such an amazing bond with his students.

Grace Kelly Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack and I met at an elementary charter school in Brooklyn almost ten years ago. He was newly hired to be the music teacher and initially, I thought it was a huge undertaking for a new teacher. He took to the task with determination and grace, the transformation of the music program was magical. He created an atmosphere of trust and respect with all of his students, parents, and colleagues. He produced the school's first musical, "The Lion King" which received wonderful reviews from the school community and revealed new student talent. He took students on field trips to Carnegie Hall and the Jazz Standard exposing them to musical environments could change the trajectory of their lives. I have continued to follow his career and he continues to amaze me with his ability to bring out the musical excellence in all of his students. His work with young people can be summed up in one word, enchanting.

Jennifer Gordon Posted over a year ago

I have worked with Ryan Mack as a member of the Arts Team in my school for the past four years. Together we have collaborated on the Disney Musicals in Schools Grant, and numerous other projects. The level of performance achieved by his students is quite amazing. I have also witnessed firsthand the great number of grants and arts partnerships he has brought to our school, such as the VH1 Save the Music Instrument Grant, Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect School Partnership, Midori & Friends’ 12-Notes program, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz for Young People program, and the New York Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concerts for Schools program, just to name a few. He has also brought incredible instrumental resources to our school, such as violas, cellos, and guitars, and he has developed and implemented instrumental musical programs both during school hours and after school. Additionally, he puts on several music shows per year that encompass all of the grades he teaches and that also showcase and celebrate the cultural diversity of his students. What strikes me most about Mr. Mack is his tireless dedication to his career, which really seems to be more of a calling. His students have had opportunities that many of the students in our economically and culturally diverse school may not otherwise have had—from singing on a Broadway stage, to being featured on CBS Sunday Morning for his participation in the Sing for Hope piano program, to singing in the Halls of Tweed for the Chancellor of Education. There really isn’t a moment that he isn’t working to bring programs and opportunities to his students—and their lives and our school and community continues to be enriched by his efforts.

Ed Mayberger Posted over a year ago

The best way to understand Mr. Mack’s teaching excellence is to witness the reflection in his students’ eyes, manner, and performance in concert at P.S 52. In a nutshell, the students seem transformed in his presence, attentively straining to perform to Mr. Mack’s high standards, if only to confirm his belief in their abilities. This is the best of teaching—an inspired and palpable communication, mutual respect, an observable give-and-take between teacher and student. You can see it before the concert even begins, as Mr. Mack moves down a hallway toward the auditorium, with children here and there perking up with a “Hi Mr. Mack” or making sure he returns their high-five. On stage all become laser-focused, and soon are singing four and five part harmony, in arrangements by Mr. Mack, just for them. Most music teachers would give such young children something easy and inconsequential to sing. Mr. Mack gives them music, deep and profound at times, which invites them to the next level. After the concert ends and parents’ applause fades, many find the time to stay and swarm around Mr. Mack, conferring gifts and congratulations. They are thanking him. For what? For teaching, really teaching their child something.

Linda M. Rolon Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack is an artist and his pride in teaching goes above and beyond any teacher I have ever met. Mr. Mack has such a strong belief in every child who enters his programs and helps the children realize the reward for their hard work is the work itself. It has been such an honor for my son, who is now in 5th grade, to have worked with him. And as a parent I have embraced Mr. Mack’s serious side in guiding our children to appreciate and learn music with their hearts. We are graduating this year so we will miss him but I am so happy for P.S. 52 to have an amazing music teacher for hopeful years to come. PS I cry every time I hear his chorus sing - it’s a true gift beyond measure!!!!

Janice Ricard Posted over a year ago

Because of 4 years with Mr. Mack, my quiet daughter loves music, singing, and live theatre. Mr. Mack inspires even his most reserved students, to perform and to bring out their best. It is clear that Mr Mack truly believes that his students are the most talented kids ever, and the students try their level best to live up to that belief. He teaches from a highly technical standpoint, but he makes it fun with his wry humor. Mr Mack has an amazing capacity to make his students feel invested and connected. He incorporates the arts that the students naturally love such as the play Hamilton, while introducing them to new genres such as Shakespeare. My daughter graduated last year, and she very much misses Mr. Mack and all the fun, hard work, and comradery of his class. but, it is good to know, that if you go to the school even as late as 5:00, Mr. Mack will probably still be there working hard, but happy to see his former students. Thanks to Mr. Mack, my rather shy daughter will always have the memory of crushing a rap solo at a rap contest, singing songs from Hamilton outside at a street fair, performing Disney musical numbers on an actual broadway stage, and being part of beautiful musical theatre and chorus perfomances. I truly believe that Mr. Mack is largely responsible for my daughter's love of the performing Arts. This award should go to Mr Mack. You won't find a more inspiring teacher.

Jesus Santos Posted over a year ago

I’ve only known Mr. Mack for a little over a year. As his colleague I have witnessed how talented and passionate he is about Music Education. The way he is able to teach and manage his musical clubs is amazing. I’ve been fortunate to be able to watch PS 52 students perform their musical talents with his guidance and I am always in awe. I especially enjoyed when our students covered songs from the broadway hit “Hamilton” in full harmony. Mr. Mack gives our students opportunities to explore music and be inspired by it. This is how we become life long learners, if this isn’t what a life changer is all about then I don’t know what is. Thanks for being a role model to our students Mr. Mack.

Evelyn Caleb Posted over a year ago

Ryan W. Mack is an extrodinarily caring & compassionate human being. He uses his talents to support & inspire. He is always striving to create hope... beauty... and change through music, love & compassion. Ever dedicated & tireless. His example goes far beyound his students... Ryan Mack is an example of what this world can look like when humanity is applied to all you do.

Ron Zacchi Posted over a year ago

Ryan is a great teacher who cares about enriching the lives of his students. He shares his passion for the arts engaging the adults of tomorrow to explore their creativity. You can see how serious he takes his role and the impact he has on his students is definitely life changing.

Svetlana Tenenbaum Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack’s talent, creativity and dedication have completely transformed the music program in PS 52. My older children had attended the school before Mr. Mack joined the faculty and their music classes were pretty forgetful. My youngest daughter was taught by Mr. Mack and the music program became her absolute favorite. Mr. Mack’s ability to inspire his students while requiring full focus from them is remarkable!In a very short time, my daughter and her schoolmates were able to perform and sound like a professional chorus. Mr. Mack has created an environment where children appreciate and love music and understand the importance of practice and discipline required of every performer. I cannot think of a more deserving teacher for this award. Thank you Mr. Mack for unforgettable four years!

Mitzy Bello Posted over a year ago

I have loved Ryan's spirit since we met during our college years. The effort and passion he put into his studies he is now tripling into allowing others to experience the joy of music. We know it's not just about music, but expanding young minds and helping to create possibilities for young people. I applaud his work and love for what he does. I appreciate Ryan for the role model and mentor he is. Children need people like him. We all need individuals like him.

Lina Kolker Posted over a year ago

My daughter and I met Mr. Mack over three years ago in her school. In that time I’ve had a chance to enjoy numerous performances by her class and others. It is such wonder to see young children perform in front of audiences, trying their best and at the same time having fun. Things that Mr Mack instills in kids; the love of music, the confidence to get up in front of others, the dedication it takes to learn a new song... are all things that truly change lives. Thank you Mr. Mack, I hope you win!

Phil Ginley Posted over a year ago

Ryan Mack is without a doubt one of the most passionate people I know. Firmly believing in the ways music shape our culture, he encourages and empowers his students to view the works performed not just as an activity to sing but as a piece to study, analyze and connect with personally. I’m excited to see what his students accomplish in the future. He’s truly teaching a new generation how to use music as a tool to further connect with others.

Diane Hansen Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack is one of the most dedicated and passionate teachers I’ve ever met in my 15 years of teaching. Watching him teach makes me wish I had a music teacher like him when I was growing up. My students are always so eager to go to his class because they know they are about to have another memorable learning experience. The students at P.S. 52 are very fortunate to work with him, whether it’s during the school day or in one of his many after school programs. I couldn’t think of a more deserving candidate for this award.

Tara Murphy Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack is a colleague of mine for several years now. He is such an amazing and engaging music teacher. My general and special education Kindergarteners have a difficult time transitioning to new people and classes in the beginning of the school year. This is never the case for music class. They love Mr. Mack! They can't wait to tip toe into his room and listen to whatever instrument Mr.Mack is playing to lure them in. They enter his room in a trance, ready to learn. When I pick them up, they are smiling and engaged in interactive activities. He really has made an impression on my students and instilled a love of learning and music in them at such a young age. Mr. Mack is a passionate and inspiring teacher and we couldn't be luckier to have him as part of our staff here at PS 52.

Amy Tcheupdjian Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack is a celebrated educator at PS52. His interactions with the students leave them enagaged and excited about exploring further the world of music. He is always working at sourcing new methods and opportunities for the students and I believe this is a trait that should be most applauded. As a musician and teacher myself, it has been an honor to work alongside Mr Mack and watch his students and ensembles bloom with growth. A definite life changer!

Laura Donohue Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack is truly a life changer. My daughter had the good fortune to be his student for 4 years. During that time he had a profound, positive influence on her. Mr. Mack brought so many opportunities to his students; they had a chance to participate in musical theater, chorus, and competitions. He brought them to Carnegie Hall and established partnerships with outside agencies. He just worked tirelessly to expose them to as much as he could. In addition, when students expressed interest in their own musical endeavors outside the classroom, he always supported them and helped whenever he could. Even though my daughter has graduated and moved on to middle school, he continues to support her, and recently came to see her concert. Mr. Mack helped my daughter to find her voice, her confidence and her love of music, which she will carry for life. And for that we are forever grateful.

Natalia Starodubtseva Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack is one of the most dedicated and passionate teachers in my daughter’s life. Once she said to me, “If there were a Nobel Prize for Best Teacher, I am confident that Mr. Mack would be one of the best candidates to get it!” Mr. Mack is an inspiration to his students and other teachers. He has been so much more than a teacher for his students. He has been their support, role model, and guide. Thank you, Mr. Mack, for being such an amazing person and an inspiration and life changer for our children!!!

Joann Poserina Posted over a year ago

I have known Mr. Ryan Mack since he was a Sophomore in my Italian Class in High School. He continued to be in my class in his Junior and Senior years. In three years, I got to know Ryan very well. He had a spark about him that was unusual and refreshing. We would often talk about our mutual love of Italian culture and history. Although I knew that he enjoyed our conversations, I knew that his love of music would take him in a different direction. I don’t remember him discussing his desire to teach. I just assumed that he would become a musician. Then he, like all of my students, graduated and was on his own path. Several years passed and I found Facebook and somehow Ryan found me. I was always happy to find out what had become of my students. As we exchanged those first postings, I found out that he had become a teacher, not in a high school but in an elementary school. He was working with little children. How nice, I mistakenly thought. Then I saw his postings. Ryan wasn’t just teaching them music, he was teaching them the love of music. He isn't a “specials” teacher who keeps his students busy, he is teaching them how to preform. It didn’t matter if they were in PreK or in the upper grades. Ryan is the teacher every adult wants for their child. Ryan is the teacher that teachers aspire to be. He is tireless, caring, dedicated, innovative, persistent, fun. He expects nothing less from his students. He takes advantage of every and every opportunity that is available for his students. He finds every opportunity to have his students preform. He writes grants to get his students what the need. He expands programs so that everyone can feel that they can participate even if they don’t yet know that they want to participate. Somehow Ryan got his students invited to sing on the Broadway stage along with the cast members. Then, unceremoniously they were disinvited. The students had worked hard and were so disappointed. Ryan decided to take his students to Manhattan where they would be able to sing their song in front of the theatre. Ryan’s class is multicultural. This was the perfect opportunity for Ryan to highlight his students’ cultures while at the same time introducing the beauty of these various music styles to everyone. To see the man Ryan has become honors and humbles me. I am so proud of what he has achieved so far and look forward to what he will achieve. His unwavering love of his profession and of his students is unparalleled. To me, Ryan was the nice, eager, young man who sat in the first seat of the first row, but now to me and to everyone else he incounters, he is the epitome of the definition of TEACHER. Joann Poserina, Connetquot High School, retired As an aside, several years ago Ryan visited Italy. We would text everyday. We would discuss vocabulary, usages, grammar, culture, nuances of expressions. He really kept me on my toes! Ryan has a continuous thirst for knowledge as well as still having a great love of all things Italian. I was also honored that he still has need of his former teacher.

Lori D'Amico Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack has done such a wonderful job of expanding and enhancing the music program at P.S. 52. I've always been impressed by the level of musicianship he asks of his students, and by his broad choices of musical selections. My daughter has been in the Chorus since 3rd grade, and is now one of the P.S. 52 Sheepshead Singers, and she loves what she's experiencing. They even got to sing for the Schools Chancellor at his holiday party at the Tweed Courthouse. What an amazing experience for an elementary-school student. Mr. Mack is a very special educator. I hope he wins this award.

Rosemarie Zacchi Posted over a year ago

I am thrilled to leave a comment here for Ryan William Mack, not because he’s my son, but because he’s an amazing Music Teacher that goes above and beyond for his students. I remember the pride I took in attending his concerts as a child, whether it was orchestra or chorus or a play he was performing in. Now to watch him with his own students, I can’t put into words how proud I feel. When I sit front row center at every concert, seeing the students watch his every move, directing them with such nurturing enthusiasm, all while making it fun...sometimes brings me to tears. Once they learn I’m Mr. Mack’s mother, parents share stories of how he taught their child to appreciate music, some saying how the children discovered their voice and the confidence to sing on stage. Mr. Mack spends his own time applying for instrument grants, which allow some students that normally could not afford an instrument, now take lessons. I am thrilled that Ryan William Mack is nominated for LifeChanger of the Year award. Like I said, it’s not because he’s my son, but his dedication and all those that appreciate him...parents, teachers, the principal, and especially the students. Over the years, I’ve watched his students learn to appreciate music that will be with them forever. To me this is a Life Changing educator!

Taweh Beysolow II Posted over a year ago

I have known Ryan for 10 years, as we first met while I we both were working at USDAN. Ryan struck me then as someone who not only cared incredibly about music itself, but also about the people with whom he engaged. I have watched him from every stage of his career work dedicatedly to ensuring that his students not only receive engaging work but that they are challenged to become better people. The work that he does to get his students to perform outside of the school as well as the advocacy for the arts that he has done is something that every educational institution of music wold be honored to have. He is an excellent teacher and wonderful member of the community he inhabits that we should all aspire to be

Caroline Chatterton Posted over a year ago

In a career that, by it's very nature, often leaves individuals burnt out and apathetic, Mr. Mack exemplifies all things a teacher should be and more. He is an inexhaustible, creative, compassionate, talented, and unquestionably qualified educator. Mr. Mack's impact on his students is obvious by the fine quality of their performances, the well-deserved respect of his peers, and most importantly, the admiration and devotion of his students. He consistently displays an endless amount of ambition, not for himself, but for his students and their futures. I can't think of anyone more deserving of this kind of recognition than Mr. Mack, for all he's done and for all he continues to do as an educator, role model, and genuinely selfless individual.

Ari Evan Posted over a year ago

Ryan is incredibly devoted and committed to all of his students. He's applied for basically every grant you could think of, and in class is able to strike the perfect balance of work and play. The kids are always laughing and enjoying themselves during class, while also learning and progressing rapidly in their musical studies. I have learned so much from seeing him teach!

Camillo Mac Bica Posted over a year ago

As a professor of philosophy at the School of Visual Arts, I have admired both his expertise in music and his ability as a teacher. His work is an inspiration to us all and a true life change!

Kenrick Wagner Posted over a year ago

I'm a believer! Ryan Mack is an engaging and empowering educator who continues to use his talents to reach the Brooklyn Youth. I think we can all take a page out of Ryan's book in role modeling and energy. Blessings!

Rose Zacchi Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mack goes above and beyond for his students and for the school. He applies for grants and receives instruments for children to have lessons after school. According to parents, he brings out the voice in children that never sang before. Mr. Mack is a well liked and respected teacher by his principal, coworkers, parents, and especially the children!