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A total of 25 music teachers from 25 cities across 17 states have been announced as semifinalists for the Music Educator Award™ presented by The Recording Academy®and the GRAMMY Foundation®. In total, more than 7,000 initial nominations were submitted from all 50 states.
The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators (K through college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in their schools. A joint partnership and presentation of The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation, this special award will be presented at the Special Merit Awards Ceremony & Nominees Reception (honoring recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustees Award and Technical GRAMMY® Award) on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, during GRAMMY Week.
As announced on the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards® by President/CEO of The Recording Academy and GRAMMY Foundation Neil Portnow, TV and radio host/producer and GRAMMY Foundation Honorary Board Chair Ryan Seacrest, and nine-time GRAMMY winner Justin Timberlake, the award is open to current U.S. music teachers, and anyone could nominate a teacher — students, parents, friends, colleagues, community members, school deans, and administrators. Teachers were also able to nominate themselves, and nominated teachers were notified and invited to fill out an application.
This fall, the school of each semifinalist will have the chance to earn an additional $6,000 for their music program through the Ford Drive 4 UR School program. Since the program’s launch in 2007, Ford has donated nearly $25 million to schools around the country through its unique test-drive experience.
Kent Knappenberger of Westfield Academy and Central School in Westfield, N.Y., was the recipient of the first annual Music Educator Award. Knappenberger was recognized during the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards telecast in a segment featuring Portnow along with nine-time GRAMMY winner John Legend and Seacrest.
"Music education has such an important impact on our cultural fabric," said GRAMMY Foundation Honorary Chair Ryan Seacrest. "It’s a privilege to join the GRAMMY Foundation and Ford Motor Company to applaud the efforts of our nation’s top 25 music teachers and work with their schools to help raise awareness about the importance of music in schools."
One recipient is selected from 10 finalists each year, and will be recognized for his/her remarkable impact on students' lives. The winner will be flown to Los Angeles to accept the award, attend the GRAMMY Awards ceremony, and receive a $10,000 honorarium. The nine finalists will each receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists also will receive matching grants. The honorariums and grants provided to the finalists and schools are made possible by the generosity and support of the GRAMMY Foundation's Education Champions: Converse, Disney Performing Arts, Ford Motor Company Fund, and Journeys. Nominations for the 2016 Music Educator Award are now open at www.grammymusicteacher.com.
A complete list of semifinalists is below. The finalists will be announced in December.
Penfield High School
Diamond Bar High School
Kenmore East High School
Cane Bay High School
Windham High School
Pioneer High School for the Performing Arts
Highland Park High School
Dr. Buddy Clements
Walnut High School
Ed W. Clark High School
Monte Vista Christian School
Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy
Marriotts Ridge High School
Caddo Middle Magnet
Washington Middle School
South Miami K-8 Center
Meeker Middle School
Aaron Hill Sr.
Smithfield High School
Glenbrook South High School
Arcadia High School
Springhouse Middle School
Maplewood Middle School
Nyack High School
Volunteer State Community College
Barrington High School
Martin Gifted and Talented Magnet Middle School
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