The CMA Foundation, a national music education nonprofit and the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association, will hold its fourth annual Music Teachers of Excellence Awards on Tuesday, April 30 in Nashville, hosted by three-time CMA Awards winner Dierks Bentley.
The invite-only event will honor 10 music educators from districts across the state of Tennessee, 10 from Metro Nashville Public Schools and 10 from across the United States. Award recipients are selected because of 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 $575,000 to ensure music educators have the support and funding needed to create a thriving program within their school and community.
“These teachers have gone above and beyond in their classrooms to really bring music to life and their commitment and determination has not gone unnoticed,” said Bentley. “As a parent I have seen first-hand the importance of music in my children’s lives and its importance in school programs. Every child deserves the chance to feel the power of music and it’s not possible without supporting these teachers.”
The CMA Foundation created their Music Teachers of Excellence program in 2016 in an effort to recognize those who are having the greatest impact on their students, using music as a vehicle for change. Along with a night of celebration, the CMA Foundation will invest $2,500 into each teacher’s music program to help drive their commitment to high quality music for all children forward. Additionally, each winner will receive a $2,500 gift to use for whatever they’d like, with past winners using their award earnings for down payments, continuing education, to record their own music, and more.
“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,” said Tiffany Kerns, CMA Foundation Executive Director. “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.”
Multi-Platinum singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley continues to be a dominant voice for the genre with over 8.6 billion overall digital streams. Reaching a new creative high while “making music designed to challenge” (The New York Times), Bentley co-wrote 10 of the 13 tracks on his current album The Mountain (Capitol Records Nashville), including his poignant new single “Living,” which follows two back-to-back No. 1s: “Woman, Amen” and “Burning Man.” The Mountain earned Bentley the highest debut sales of his career and became his seventh chart-topping album. He has amassed 18 career No. 1s, countless awards and more while also earning 14 Grammy nominations. His 2019 Burning Man Tour in partnership with 5-hour ENERGY® “is one not to forget” (MusicRow) as he continues to make notable stops throughout the country. For more information and a full list of tour dates, visit Dierks.com.
2019 Music Teachers of Excellence Tennessee Award Recipients
- Bryant Adler, Alcoa Intermediate School, Alcoa City Schools – Alcoa, TN
- Kathryn Affainie, Granbery Elementary School, Metro Nashville Public Schools – Brentwood, TN
- Josephine Cappelletti, Coulter Grove Intermediate School, Maryville City Schools – Maryville, TN
- Benjamin Easley, Nolensville High School, Williamson County Schools – Nolensville, TN
- Carole Smith Grooms, Freedom Middle School, Franklin City Elementary School District – Franklin, TN
- Sherie Grossman, Mt. Juliet High School, Wilson County School District – Mt. Juliet, TN
- John Hazlett, McGavock High School, Metro Nashville Public Schools – Nashville, TN
- Michael Holland, Nolensville High School, Williamson County Schools – Nashville, TN
- Trey Jacobs, Nashville School of the Arts, Metro Nashville Public Schools – Nashville, TN
- Kevin Jankowski, W.H. Oliver Middle School, Metro Nashville Public Schools – Nashville, TN
- Robbin Johnston, Clarksville High School, Clarksville-Montgomery County School System – Clarksville, TN
- Spencer Nesvick, Houston Middle School, Germantown Municipal School District – Germantown, TN
- Denise Rives, Barksdale Elementary School, Clarksville-Montgomery County School System – Clarksville, TN
- Matthew Taylor, Meigs Academic Magnet Middle School, Metro Nashville Public Schools – Nashville, TN
- Alice Asako Walle, Waverly Belmont Elementary School, Metro Nashville Public Schools – Nashville, TN
- Susan Waters, W.H. Oliver Middle School, Metro Nashville Public Schools – Nashville, TN
- Anna Laura Williams, Siegel Middle School, Rutherford County Schools – Murfreesboro, TN
- Franklin Willis, Andrew Jackson Elementary School, Metro Nashville Public Schools – Old Hickory, TN
- Frank Zimmerer, Antioch High School, Metro Nashville Public Schools – Antioch, TN
- Ben Zolkower, Hillwood High School, Metro Nashville Public Schools – Nashville, TN
2019 Music Teachers of Excellence National Award Recipients
- Kevin Brawley, Torrence Creek Elementary School, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools – Huntersville, NC
- Sheldon Frazier, North Cobb High School, Cobb County School District – Kennesaw, GA
- Robyn Starks Holcomb, Roosevelt High School, Sioux Falls School District – Sioux Falls, SD
- Jeff Horenstein, Meadowdale High School, Edmonds School District – Lynnwood, WA
- Theresa Kennedy, Jamestown Middle School, Guilford County Schools – Jamestown, NC
- Chris Maunu, Arvada West High School, Jefferson County R-1 School District – Arvada, CO
- Henry Miller, Sierra Vista Middle School, Irvine Unified School District – Irvine, CA
- Amy Rangel, Glendale High School, Glendale Unified School District – Glendale, CA
- Ashleigh Spatz, Burgess-Peterson Academy, Atlanta Public Schools – Atlanta, GA
- Brianne Turgeon, Springdale Park Elementary School, Atlanta Public Schools – Atlanta, GA
U.S. Bank is this year’s Music Teacher of Excellence Awards supporting partner, continuing its ongoing partnership with the CMA Foundation.
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 $25 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.