CMA Foundation Announces 2024 Teachers of Excellence

photo from YouTube

The CMA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association, has revealed its 2024 class of Music Teachers of Excellence, representing a distinguished group of music educators from across the country who are making the greatest impact on their students and communities.

In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, the CMA Foundation partnered with 30 Country Music stars to surprise each Music Teacher of Excellence. Tanner Adell, Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Priscilla Block, Brothers Osborne, Luke Bryan, Chapel Hart, Jordan Davis, Lindsay Ell, Filmore, Mickey Guyton, Tyler Hubbard, Jelly Roll, Cody Johnson, Brian Kelley, Tiera Kennedy, Maddie & Tae, Ashley McBryde, Parker McCollum, Reba McEntire, Carly Pearce, MacKenzie Porter, Frank Ray, Reyna Roberts, Caitlyn Smith, Alana Springsteen, Thomas Rhett, Keith Urban, Lainey Wilson and Chris Young each shared congratulatory video messages for this year’s class, which were played this morning in each teacher’s school. In addition, CMA and CMA Foundation staff visited the 10 Metro Nashville Public School teachers in their classrooms to surprise them with news of becoming Music Teachers of Excellence.

“We are immensely proud to celebrate these 30 remarkable music educators as part of our Music Teachers of Excellence program,” says Tiffany Kerns, CMA Foundation Executive Director. “These teachers consistently go above and beyond to build inclusive environments in their classrooms and communities, often removing barriers that prevent even just one student from participating in music education. It takes a village, and we are so grateful for our village of amazing Country artists who joined us this morning to recognize these 30 incredible humans.”

The CMA Foundation will hold its Music Teachers of Excellence ceremony, presented by One Country, on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum in Nashville. As part of the CMA Foundation’s investment strategy, which helps to cultivate generosity to better meet the needs of the music and arts sector, each teacher will receive a $5,000 grant—half of the investment will go toward their classroom needs and music programs, and the other half will support personal expenses. Funding for Music Teachers of Excellence is thanks to the generosity of sponsors who recognize that the need to provide access to music has significantly outpaced existing charitable and government resources. Music Teachers of Excellence sponsors include ABC/“Abbott Elementary,” Berkley Entertainment Insurance, AllianceBernstein, Jamie Cheek, Deaton Family Foundation, Dr Pepper, DJ and Kella Farris, Joe Galante, G2 Structures, LLC, Girlilla Marketing, Klindt, Cole & Associates—Merrill Private Wealth Management, KP Entertainment, LBMC Cares, Levine Group, Moo TV, Charlie Morgan and Kelly Smith, Rob and Jason Ollander-Krane, Pancoast Benefits, Stephen Parker, Pinnacle Financial Partners, REACH, Risk Strategies, Sarah Trahern and Wayne Flatt, Universal Music Group, Josh and Jenny Van Valkenburg, Warner Music Nashville, Wells Fargo, and Jay and Katherine Williams.

“Our partnership with the CMA Foundation’s Music Teachers of Excellence program is a natural extension of One Country’s core values,” says Chase Locke, CEO, One Country. “We believe in the transformative power of music education and are proud to support educators who go above and beyond to enrich the lives of their students and communities.”

Through an extensive application process, which includes teaching videos, professional references and community service work, Music Teachers of Excellence are selected based on their dedication to bringing a high-quality music education program to their students and the impact they’ve had on their school community through music. To date, the CMA Foundation has invested over $30 million nationally to ensure music educators have the support and funding needed to create a thriving program within their school and community.

2024 Music Teachers of Excellence Award Recipients (in alphabetical order):
Justin Antos – Dwight D. Eisenhower High School, Blue Island, IL
Evan Burton – Page Middle School, Franklin, TN
Vanessa Cobb – Montgomery Central High School, Cunningham, TN
Johnny Croft – Cane Ridge High School, Antioch, TN
Charissa Duncanson – Ferndale Lower Elementary School, Ferndale Upper Elementary School, Oak Park, MI
Deanna Grandstaff – Cecil Intermediate School, McDonald, PA
Corey Graves – Jackson Middle School, Forney, TX
DaJuana “Dee” Hammonds – Hull-Jackson Montessori School, Nashville, TN
Eric Hanson – Wilson Elementary, Coppell, TX
Tony Hartman – Scales Elementary School, Murfreesboro, TN
Michael Holland – Franklin High School, Franklin, TN
Brent Hopper – Lakeland Preparatory School, Lakeland, TN
Allen Kennedy – Hume–Fogg Academic High School, Nashville, TN
Ollie Liddell – Memphis Central High School, Memphis, TN
Tyler Merideth – James Lawson High School, Nashville, TN
Allen Moody – Idlewild Elementary, Memphis, TN
Linzie Mullins – Snowden School, Memphis, TN
Cody Newman – Forney High School, Forney, TX
Katiana Nicholson – Columbia Central High School, Columbia, TN
Dave Petrelli – Lockeland Design Center Elementary, Nashville, TN
Holly Rang – Pennington Elementary, Nashville, TN
Samantha Reid – Oliver Middle School, Nashville, TN
Stephanie San Roman – Oswego High School, Oswego, IL
Jonathan Seligman – Casillas Elementary, Chula Vista, CA
Laura Shepherd – Donelson Middle School, Nashville, TN
Andrew Smith – Powell High School, Powell, TN
Sarah Theres – Florosa Elementary School, Mary Esther, FL
Kaitlin Tilden – Andrew Jackson Elementary, Old Hickory, TN
Taylor Walkup-Amos – Yorktown Elementary School, Yorktown, VA
Shoshana Wulf – Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School, Nashville, TN

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