THE CMA FOUNDATION PAYS TRIBUTE TO MUSIC EDUCATORS AT THE SIXTH CEREMONY OF MUSIC TEACHERS OF EXCELLENCE, ORGANIZED BY KIX BROOKS
Special appearances by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and artists from the country music community
The CMA Foundationthe philanthropic arm of Country Music Association, held its sixth Music Teacher Excellence Ceremony on Wednesday, October 19 at Marathon Music Works in Nashville. Hosted by Country Music Hall of Fame Member and Music Education Advocate Kix Brooks, from Brooks & Dunn, the event honored 30 music teachers – 10 teachers from Metro Nashville public schools, 10 from Tennessee state districts and 10 from the United States. The winners were selected for their commitment to providing a high quality music program to their students and the impact they have had on their school community through music.
The teachers started the day at the CMA office for a professional development session, where they heard from leaders and executives, including the CMA’s CEO, Sarah TrahernCMA Foundation Community Impact Director Franklin WillisAmro Music’s Nick Averwater, and members of the CMA communications team on a variety of topics ranging from leadership skills and effective habits to media coaching. Later they were joined by United States Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona for lunch and a Q&A session.
The evening of celebration included a red carpet, dinner with more than 25 artists from the country music community, and a variety of performances throughout the night. Music students from Hillwood High School in Nashville presented the evening’s host, Brooks, with a Brooks & Dunn medley, which included the hits “My Maria”, “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” and “Neon Moon”. Later in the program, the students performed Randy Travis’ “Heroes and Friends” and joined Brooks in performing the Brooks & Dunn classic “Rock My World (Little Country Girl)”, which ended with a standing ovation. .
The event also hosted several guest speakers, including Secretary Cardona, who highlighted how essential music and arts education is in a student’s life and celebrated the passion and dedication shown by each of the 30 teachers in the room. Other speakers included Trahernwho spoke about the impact music teachers have on the next generation and highlighted the value the country music community places on maintaining high-quality and equitable music and arts programs, Executive Director of the CMA Foundation Tiffany Kernwhich detailed the mission of the CMA Foundation and Brooks’ key role in its creation through his unwavering commitment and advocacy for music education. Mayor of Nashville John Cooper also took the floor to honor this year’s 30 Outstanding Music Teachers and express his congratulations on their accomplishment.
Shamari Suttle, whose music teacher Johnathan Vest was a 2020 Excellence Music Teacher, gave a heartwarming account of Vest’s intentional investment in Suttle’s life both in the music classroom and beyond. He talked about the power of a teacher’s role in a student’s life and how he continued to use the skills and tools that Vest instilled in him in all areas of life.
Videos played throughout the evening, one featuring music students discussing the “myths” surrounding music teachers while another highlighted the power and unity found in music, by especially over the past two years. Country music artists who were unable to attend the event also shared congratulatory messages for teachers.
Immediately following the program, teachers and special guests enjoyed an after-party with DJs and dancing.
In addition to Wednesday’s celebration, the CMA Foundation has invested $5,000 in each recipient – half for each teacher’s music program to enhance their music program and the other half for personal use. Past winners have used their winnings for down payments on homes, continuing education, to record their own music and more.
2022 Music Teacher Excellence Award Recipients (in alphabetical order):
- Justin Antos – Dwight D. Eisenhower High School, Community School District 218, Blue Island, Illinois
- Evan Burton – Fred J. Page Middle School, Williamson County Schools, Franklin, TN
- Jesse Cannon II – Duncanville High School, Duncanville Independent School District, Duncanville, TX
- Jared Cassedy – Lexington High School, Lexington Public Schools, Lexington, MA
- Sara Cowan – Central High School, Omaha Public Schools, Omaha, NE
- Alicia Engram – Eagle View Elementary School, Nashville Metro Public Schools, Antioch, TN
- Elaina Gallas – Edmondson Elementary School, Williamson County Schools, Brentwood, TN
- Jason Glashauser – South Clinton Elementary School, Clinton City Schools, Clinton, TN
- Viviane González – Miami Arts Studio 6-12 @ Zelda Glazer, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami, FL
- John David Hazlet – McGavock High School, Nashville Metro Public Schools, Nashville, TN
- Michael Holland – Nolensville High School, Williamson County Schools, Nolensville, TN
- Samuel Holmes – Garden Hills Elementary School, Atlanta Public Schools, Atlanta, Georgia
- Trey Jacobs – Nashville School of the Arts, Nashville Metro Public Schools, Nashville, TN
- Kevin Jankowski – WH Oliver Middle School, Nashville Metro Public Schools, Nashville, TN
- Ollie Liddell – Memphis Central High School, Memphis-Shelby County Schools, Memphis, TN
- Jarrett Lipman – Claudia Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson High School, North East Independent School District, San Antonio, TX
- Andrew Lynn – Stewarts Creek College, Rutherford County Schools, Smyrna, TN
- Darlene Machacon – John A. Murdy Elementary School, Garden Grove Unified School District, Garden Grove, CA
- Marguerite Maurice – Billingsville-Cotswold Elementary School, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Charlotte, North Carolina
- Tyler Merideth – Hillwood High School, Nashville Metro Public Schools, Nashville, TN
- Mary Millin – Tara Oaks Elementary School, Collierville Municipal School District, Collierville, TN
- Linzie Mullins – Snowden School, Memphis-Shelby County Schools, Memphis, TN
- Joseph Powell – White Station High School, Memphis-Shelby County Schools, Memphis, TN
- Samantha Reid – Isaac Litton Middle School, Nashville Metro Public Schools, Nashville, TN
- Emily Riley – Julia Green Elementary School, Nashville Metro Public Schools, Nashville, TN
- Danielle LeighTaylor – Mt. View Elementary School, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Antioch, TN
- Matthew Trevino – Roan Forest Elementary School, Northeast Independent School District, San Antonio, TX
- Tiffany Turn – Brentwood Middle School, Williamson County Schools, Brentwood, TN
- Susan Waters – WH Oliver Middle School, Nashville Metro Public Schools, Nashville, TN
- Frank Zimmerer – Antioch High School, Nashville Metro Public Schools, Antioch, TN
About the CMA Foundation
Established in 2011 as the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association (CMA), the CMA Foundation is committed to enhancing and maintaining high-quality music education programs across the United States, ensuring that each child has the opportunity to participate in the music. Through strategic partnerships, professional development, and grant distribution, the CMA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, invests a variety of resources in the national public school system, after-school programs, camps summer schools and local community organizations.