The Fifth Annual Music Teachers of Excellence Awards Gives Recognition to Educators for their Dedication and Impact on the Lives of Students and the Communities they Serve
Announcement Made in Celebration of “Music In Our Schools Month”
Watch the Music Teachers of Excellence Announcement Video Here
The CMA Foundation, a national music education nonprofit and the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association, is honoring 30 music teachers from across the country as Music Teachers of Excellence. Now in its fifth year, the annual program was created in an effort to recognize those educators who are having the greatest impact on their students, using music as a vehicle for change.
On Tuesday, May 5 the CMA Foundation will hold its fifth annual Music Teachers of Excellence Awards in Nashville, which will be hosted by Country Music artist and songwriter, Kelsea Ballerini. Along with a night of celebration, the CMA Foundation will invest $150,000 total to all of this year’s recipients, with half of each teacher’s investment going toward their classroom needs and music programs, and the other half to support professional development and personal expenses in an effort to continue driving commitment and motivation.
Award recipients are selected based on their dedication to bringing a high-quality music program to their students and the impact they’ve had on their school community through music. To date, the CMA Foundation has invested over $27 million nationally since 2006, including more than $700,000 towards Music Teachers of Excellence to ensure music educators have the support and funding needed to create a thriving program within their school and community.
“Music education has proven to be an effective and invaluable tool for academic achievement and social development, yet we consistently hear that programs are not properly supported,” says Tiffany Kerns, CMA Foundation Executive Director and CMA Vice President, Community Outreach. “Each year, when we recognize the tremendous group of music educators through our Music Teachers of Excellence program, it allows us to give back to those who have dedicated their lives to serving our next generation. These educators, who spend countless hours in the classroom, are helping to shape creative, collaborative, future leaders through the power of music.”
2020 Music Teachers of Excellence National Award Recipients (in alphabetical order)
- Chris Maunu, Arvada West High School, Jefferson County Public Schools – Arvada, CO
- Efrain Casillas, Desert Oasis Elementary School & Porfirio H. Gonzalez Elementary – Tolleson, AZ
- Joanie Padgett, Fitzgerald High School College & Career Academy, Ben Hill County Schools – Fitzgerald, GA
- Jose Antonio Diaz, MacArthur High School, Aldine Independent School District – Houston, TX
- Kayla B. Werlin, Longmeadow High Schools, Longmeadow Public Schools – Longmeadow, MA
- Keith Hancock, Tesoro High Schools, Capistrano Unified School District – Rancho Santo Margarita, CA
- Kelsey D. Burkett, Hillard Memorial Middle School, Hillard City Schools – Hillard, OH
- McKenna Stenson, Charles J. Colgan High School, Prince William County Public Schools – Manassas, VA
- Theresa McKnight, Oakdale Elementary School, Oak Hills School District – Cincinnati, OH
- Thomas Pierre, Thomas G. Pullen K-8 Creative and Performing Arts Academy, Prince George’s County Public Schools – Landover, MD
2020 Music Teachers of Excellence Tennessee Award Recipients (in alphabetical order)
- Adrian Maclin, Cordova High School, Shelby County Schools – Cordova, TN
- Alice Asako Walle, Waverly Belmont Elementary School, Metro Nashville Public Schools – Nashville, TN
- Alicia Engram, Eagle View Elementary School, Metro Nashville Public Schools – Antioch, TN
- Anna Maria Miller, Hume-Fogg Academic High School, Metro Nashville Public Schools – Nashville, TN
- Benjamin Easley, Nolensville High School, Williamson County Schools – Nolensville, TN
- Danielle Leigh Taylor, Mt. View Elementary School, Metro Nashville Public Schools – Antioch, TN
- Eleni Miller, John Overton High School, Metro Nashville Public Schools – Nashville, TN
- Jacob Campos, Franklin High School, Williamson County Schools – Franklin, TN
- Johnathan Vest, Centennial High School, Williamson County Schools – Franklin, TN
- Kaitlin Tilden, Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School, Metro Nashville Public Schools – Nashville, TN
- Katie Harrah, W.H. Oliver Middle School, Metro Nashville Public Schools – Nashville, TN
- Lauren Baker, Clovercroft Elementary School, Williamson County Schools – Franklin, TN
- Linzie Mullins, Snowden School, Shelby County Schools – Memphis, TN
- Michael Choate, Cookeville High School, Putnam County Schools – Cookeville, TN
- Michael Holland, Nolensville High School, Williamson County Schools – Nolensville, TN
- Neshawn Calloway, Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts, Hamilton County Schools – Chattanooga, TN
- Nita L. Smith, Isaiah T. Creswell Middle School of the Arts, Metro Nashville Public Schools – Nashville, TN
- Samantha Sharp, Mt. View Elementary School, Metro Nashville Public Schools – Antioch, TN
- Sandy Elliott, Mt. Juliet High School, Wilson County Schools – Mt. Juliet, TN
- Susan Waters, W.H. Oliver Middle School, Metro Nashville Public Schools –Nashville, TN
In addition to the annual Music Teachers of Excellence awards, the CMA Foundation supports music education through strategic partnerships, professional development and grant distribution. In January 2020, the CMA Foundation announced that $2.5 million in grants were awarded to 56 national and regional organizations for the year. Since 2006, the Foundation has invested over $27 million across the public school system, after school programs, summer camps and community outreach. View the 2020 grantees here.
The announcement comes during the annual celebration of Music In Our Schools Month (MIOSM). For more than 30 years, March has been officially designated by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) for the observance of MIOSM, the time of year when music education becomes the focus of schools across the nation.
The CMA Foundation is currently accepting applications for their 2021 Music Teachers of Excellence Awards. Public school music teachers can apply by visiting MusicTeachersOfExcellence.org.
JTV (Jewelry Television) is a proud supporter of the CMA Foundation as this year’s First Chair partner of the Music Teachers of Excellence Awards.
“JTV and the CMA Foundation both take pride in having a strong educational foundation, so we’re honored to support such a great cause,” says Tim Engle, JTV Chief Strategy Officer. “There are so many benefits that come from music education that we are delighted to be a part of a program that recognizes and rewards those who teach our nation’s youth these important skills.”
About the CMA Foundation
Established in 2011 as the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association (CMA), the CMA Foundation is committed to improving and sustaining music education programs across the United States, working to ensure every child has the opportunity to participate in music education. Through strategic partnerships, professional development and grant distribution, the CMA Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3), has invested more than $27 million across the national public school system, after school programs, summer camps and community outreach organizations. Guided by the generosity of the Country Music community, proceeds from CMA Fest, the four-day long music festival held annually in Nashville, are used to power the CMA Foundation’s social impact and unique model of giving.