Music Educator Award Finalists Announced by The Grammy Foundation

Mike Lawson • ChoralNews • December 9, 2016

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A total of 10 music teachers from 10 cities across 7 states have been announced as finalists for the Music Educator Award™ presented by The Recording Academy® and the GRAMMY Foundation®. Initial nominations were submitted from all 50 states. Nominations and applications for the 2018 Music Educator Award are now open via A complete list of finalists is below.

Name School Name City State

Erica Breitbarth Reagan IB High School   Milwaukee   Wis.

David Dehner Monte Vista Christian School   Watsonville   Calif.  

Jose Diaz MacArthur Senior High School   Houston   Texas  

Keith Hancock Tesoro High School   Rancho Santa Margarita   Calif.  

Elizabeth Hankins Lakewood High School   Lakewood Ohio

Keith Hart Sr. KIPP Believe College Prep   New Orleans   La.  

Henry Miller Sierra  Vista Middle School   Irvine   Calif.

Richard Nickerson Windham High School  Windham   Maine  

Ulli Reiner Bernardo Heights Middle School Poway   Calif.  

Nicole Thompson Taylor Road Middle School   Johns Creek   Ga. 

A joint partnership and presentation of The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation, 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 schools.

The award is open to current U.S. music teachers, and anyone can 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. 

Each year, one recipient is selected from 10 finalists and recognized for their remarkable impact on students’ lives. The 2017 honoree will be flown to Los Angeles, the host city of the GRAMMY Awards®, and will be recognized during GRAMMY Week in February 2017. The recipient will also attend the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards ceremony and a range of GRAMMY Foundation events. In addition, the recipient will receive a $10,000 honorarium. The nine finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants. 

Additionally, the previously named 15 semifinalists will receive a $500 honorarium with matching school grants for the first time in the award’s history. 

The 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. In addition, the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, NAMM Foundation, and National Education Association support this program through outreach to their constituencies.

The winner will be announced during GRAMMY Week. For more information, please visit

Award Recipient and Finalists to Receive Cash Honoraria with Generous Support and Resources Provided by the GRAMMY Foundation®‘s Education Champions: Converse, Disney Performing Arts, Ford Motor Company Fund, and Journeys 



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