Phillip Riggs Selected As 2016 Music Educator Award Recipient

Phillip Riggs of North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, N.C., has been announced as the recipient of the third annual Music Educator Award presented by The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation. A total of 10 music teachers from 10 cities across eight states were selected as finalists for the award. In total, more than 4,500 initial nominations were submitted from all 50 states.

The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators (kindergarten 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 the schools. This special award will be presented at The Recording Academy's Special Merit Awards Ceremony (honoring recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustees Award and Technical GRAMMY Award) in spring 2016.

"With the creation of this award, The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation are shining a spotlight on the positive and lifelong impact that music educators have on their students," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the GRAMMY Foundation and The Recording Academy. "So many GRAMMY-nominated and GRAMMY-winning artists share with me how a music teacher encouraged them early on, nurtured their talents and helped them realize that a professional career in music was an attainable goal. We are delighted to recognize Mr. Riggs for helping to usher in the next generation of GRAMMY-caliber talent."

"I am truly honored and humbled. Most of my career has been about opening doors for others and working to enable students and fellow teachers to learn and to grow," said Riggs. "My efforts to foster music education in North Carolina stand firmly on the shoulders of numerous students, parents, peers, and administrators in communities that value excellence in music. Music educators are fortunate to have The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation as steadfast supporters of music in all schools and it is exciting to have the opportunity to share the importance of music education throughout the country."

Riggs has taught band and choir at various levels in North Carolina for the past 27 years. Currently an instructor of music at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, he is a recipient of the Exceptional Contribution in Outreach Award presented annually by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors for his work with music programs throughout North Carolina. Prior to his tenure at NCSSM, Riggs was the fine arts coordinator at Reagan High School. He became the first faculty member inducted into the Reagan Hall of Fame.

Riggs is a past president of the North Carolina Bandmasters Association.  He served as chair of the North Carolina High School All-State Honors Band for eight years and served as chair of the Northwest District Band Directors Association.  During the summers of 2011 and 2012, Riggs served as coordinator of the NAfME National Wind Ensemble at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.  He has served North Carolina Music Educators Association as technology chair and founding chair of the NCMEA mentor committee.  Riggs is an active clinician and adjudicator throughout the United States and China. His professional affiliations include NCMEA, NAfME, National Band Association, and American School Band Directors Association.

Each year, one Music Educator Award recipient is selected from 10 finalists and recognized for his/her remarkable impact on students' lives. Riggs will be flown to Los Angeles to attend the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards ceremony and will receive a $10,000 honorarium. The nine other finalists will 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 2017 award are now open at www.grammymusicteacher.com.

In the Spotlight

Kevin Burke

Attended GRAMMY Camp New York 2011, 2012; GRAMMY In The Schools Media Team 2012

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