Let Mr. Blackman Keep His Job at River Hill High School

This petition made change with 972 supporters!

Michael Blackman, Director of Bands at River Hill High School, has been informed of a pending involuntary transfer to another school and position in the county. This is a terrible decision. We, Mr. Blackman's students, do not understand why our exemplary band teacher is being transferred after all he has done to build the band program at the school he loves. He does not deserve to be transferred to another school and leave all of his hard work behind. This situation is completely unfair to students and to Mr. Blackman. Signing this petition will show support for Mr. Blackman and his River Hill Band. Please contribute to the proof that our community wants Mr. Blackman to stay with his students at River Hill High School!

This news has distressed many of Mr. Blackman’s students, River Hill faculty, fellow Howard County band directors, and community members. Mr. Blackman has been a tireless servant of his community, his school, his students, and his art. There is absolutely no good reason for his transfer from River Hill, the school he has taught at for 9 years. Under his instruction, the River Hill Wind Ensemble recently received the highest scores possible at the Howard County Band Assessment. We were awarded 1’s from every adjudicator, including sight reading. Our success has everything to do with Mr. Blackman’s dedication to teaching music. He encourages every student to perform at their highest possible level and does everything he can to inspire them in every pursuit of their life. It cannot be overstated how important community and musical education are to Mr. Blackman. He believes, rightly so, that the arts and especially music are an integral part of any school, community, and human life.

As for now, the request for Mr. Blackman’s transfer is in the hands of HCPSS Community Superintendent Marcy Leonard. Mrs. Leonard is the superintendent for Area 1, including the high schools of River Hill, Hammond, Reservoir, and Atholton.

Please contact her at and Superintendent Martirano at urge them to keep Mr. Blackman at River Hill High School!

Mr. Blackman's job at River Hill will be posted on April 1, so please contact these administrators as soon as possible!

More information about Michael Blackman:

Michael Blackman received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Maryland, College Park. He studied clarinet with Ed Walters, performed under John Wakefield, and studied conducting with Dr. Paul Traver. He received a Masters Degree in Music Education at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, studying conducting with Dr. Harlan Parker.

A product of the Howard County Public Schools, Michael eagerly accepted a position as an instrumental music teacher with the school system in 1991. He currently teaches Piano, Music Theory, and Band students at River Hill High School, and was particularly proud to perform with his Wind Ensemble at the prestigious “Music for All” National Festival in Indianapolis in March 2011.  Michael is also the sponsor of River Hill's "Songs for Seniors" club, which performs at local nursing homes and retirement communities. In 2007 he was named Howard County's Music Educator of the Year.

Michael has been a performer and soloist in many sections of the Columbia Concert Band since 1986.  He became the band’s Assistant Conductor in 1995. In the Fall of 2000, he took over as Director and has worked with the membership to heighten performance standards and increase support from within the community.

Mr. Blackman also received an award for band direction/conducting at last year’s Nashville Heritage Festival and led the River Hill Band to sweep the ensemble and soloist awards.

Michael lives in Columbia, Maryland with his wife Kathie, daughter Julianne, and sons Collin and Justin.


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