Annual Event to Honor 34 Music Educators for Their Innovation and Commitment to Music Education

RCA Records Nashville recording artist and CMA Foundation board member Chris Young will host the CMA Foundation’s Music Teachers of Excellence invite-only event at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works on Tuesday, May 8.
Photo credit: John Shearer

On Tuesday, May 8, the CMA Foundation will present the third annual Music Teachers of Excellence Awards, honoring 34 music educators from districts across the state of Tennessee, as well as Chicago, Cincinnati, Seattle and Los Angeles, for their innovation and commitment to music education. The invite-only event will be hosted by multi-platinum RCA Records Nashville recording artist and CMA Foundation board member Chris Young at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works. The CMA Foundation created the Music Teachers of Excellence program in 2016 in an effort to recognize the best and brightest music teachers from Nashville and beyond.

Award recipients were selected based on their dedication to bring a quality music program to their students and the impact they’ve had on their community through music. In addition to a night of celebration, these dedicated educators will each receive a stipend from the CMA Foundation in recognition of their tireless work for their students and music programs.

“Research continues to show us that a quality music education will have a positive impact on a student’s academic achievement and social development and a lot of that responsibility falls in the hands of music educators, ” said Tiffany Kerns, CMA Director of Community Outreach. “We are excited to have Chris Young join us this year as our host to help honor music teachers from across the country, thanking them for their dedication to students and their music community .”

“As someone who’s benefitted from music education, I am so thankful  for the music teachers who helped me along the way,” said Young. “I look forward to celebrating the music educators who share their love of music with the next generation.”

Young, one of the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry, is coming off his second consecutive studio album to debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. At the age of 32, the RCA Records Nashville recording artist has 10 No. 1 singles and seven albums to his credit, including the Platinum-certified Neon and 2015’s Gold-certified I’m Comin’ Over, which earned multiple nominations from CMA Awards, ACM Awards, Billboard Music Awards, CMT Music Awards, Grammys and Radio Disney Music Awards and scored three consecutive chart-topping singles. Named “one of his era’s finest traditionalists” by the Associated Press, Chris has quickly become an international ambassador for Country Music, performing to packed houses around the globe and is currently headlining the sold-out “Losing Sleep 2018 World Tour.”

2018 National Music Teachers of Excellence Award Recipients:

Darnella Davidson, Los Angeles Unified School District, San Pedro, CA
Elizabeth Fortune, Seattle Public School, Seattle, WA
Andrew McGuire, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, IL
Christian Tierney, Cincinnati Public School, Cincinnati, OH

2018 Tennessee Music Teachers of Excellence Award Recipients:

Pamela Andrews, Station Camp Elementary School
Ronda Armstrong, Stanford Montessori
Jennifer Barnes, Lockeland Design Center
Lisa Benton, Heritage Middle
Rita Black, Eakin Elementary
Christopher Blackmon, Thomas A. Edison Elementary
Jacob Campos, Franklin High School
Joel Denton, Ooltewah High School
Benjamin Easley, Nolensville High School
Kim Folsom, Dan Mills Elementary
Lisa Forbis, Hume Fogg High School
Glenn Fugett, Nashville School of the Arts
Mark Hale, Mt. View Elementary
Katie Harrah, Oliver Middle School
Trey Jacobs, Nashville School of the Arts
Kevin Jankowski, Oliver Middle Prep
Julie Jolly, West End Middle School
Anna Maria Miller, Hume-Fogg Academic H.S., Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet School
Jennifer Partridge, Gower Elementary
James Phillips, Oak Ridge High School
Lauren Ramey, Ravenwood High School
Alaina Schwartz, Crieve Hall Elementary
Matthew Taylor, Meigs Academic Magnet Middle
Barry Trobaugh, Munford High School
Alice Asako Wall, Waverly Belmont Elementary
Paul Waters, Bellevue Middle Prep
Kristina Waugh, Rossview Middle School
Franklin Willis, Andrew Jackson Elementary School
Chad Witemeyer, Henry Maxwell Elementary
Alexis Yatuzis-Derryberry, Lascassas Elementary School

Music Teachers of Excellence is supported by Delta Air Lines, Anheuser-Bush and Uber.

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 $21 million in over 85 programs 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.

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