Ten Teachers Selected As Music Educator Award Finalists

A total of 10 music teachers from 10 cities across nine states have been announced as finalists for the second annual 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 (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 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 are also able to nominate themselves, and nominated teachers are notified and invited to fill out an application.

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.

One recipient will be selected from 10 finalists each year, and will be recognized for his/her remarkable impact on students' lives. The 2015 winner will be flown to Los Angeles to accept the award, attend the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards ceremony, and receive a $10,000 honorarium. The nine 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.

A complete list of finalists is below. The winner will be announced in February.

First NameLast NameSchoolCityState
StevenAccianiDiamond Bar High SchoolDiamond BarCalif.
WilliamBennettCane Bay High SchoolSummervilleS.C.
JaredCassedyWindham High SchoolWindhamN.H.
Charles CushineryEd W. Clark High SchoolLas VegasNev.
Krista FanningCaddo Middle MagnetShreveportLa.
RichardMaxwellArcadia High SchoolPhoenixAriz.
Debra ReillySpringhouse/Orefield Middle SchoolsAllentownPa.
Huber SmithMaplewood Middle SchoolSulphurLa.
NancieTobisonBarrington High SchoolBarringtonIll.
DannyYanceyMartin Gifted & Talented Magnet SchoolRaleighN.C.

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