Perry Lawley is the director of bands at Montevallo Middle School and Montevallo High School, where he has taught since 2008. He teaches and administers the entire band program in grades 6-12, from beginning band to the award-winning Montevallo Marching Troubadours. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education from the University of Southern Mississippi. He and his wife Alice, live in Hoover with their son, Wilson, who was born in December 2014.
Q: When were you a student at your current school?
A: 1995 to 1999. Education was the only path for me. My main interest in high school was music, and being able to continue in music as a band director was the only occupation I considered. Being able to provide great experiences for students through music is what propelled me into education.
Q: What is your fondest memory of your current school, either as a teacher or student?
A: I’m not sure I can pick one fondest memory. What comes to mind the most is a feeling. It’s a feeling of home, of family. I have always felt comfortable and at home at MHS.
Q: What do you love most about your job?
A: I love most helping to motivate and influence students to be good people, to do the right thing, to be punctual, to think of others, to be gracious, to be productive citizens. We all have to share this world, and it’ll be a better place if we are kind and helpful to one another. I would much rather be remembered as someone who helped students be better people than as a successful band director.
Q: What has teaching taught you?
A: Teaching has taught me to be humble, to listen more carefully, to be tough on those who need it, to give a hug when needed, and to not take myself so seriously at times!
Q: If you could be present at any major historical event, what would it be and why?
A: My top choice would be the delivery of the Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln. The transformative nature of those words delivered on that pivotal battlefield would have been a poignant moment.
Q: What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
A: I would tell my 18-year-old self that life is a marathon, and be sure and pace yourself. Try not be always in a hurry, slow down and relax, be kind to everyone you encounter, and make time to relax and rejuvenate.
Q: If you could meet any famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
A: No doubt – the fascinating Abraham Lincoln! He was a genius, in intellect and politics, even though he was largely self-taught. I would love to converse with him, or just sit around the fire and listen to him quote Shakespeare.
Q: What is the one place in the world you would like to visit and why?
A: I would love to visit Normandy in France. Its historical significance in turning the tide for World War II on D-Day is paramount. Many of the flower of our youth died on the beaches of Normandy so that we can be free to pursue our happiness more than 70 years later. I would love to pay tribute to their sacrifice.