Music Ed Grammy Finalists Announced

Mike Lawson • News • December 9, 2013

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Inaugural Award to be Presented at Special Ceremony & Reception during Grammy Week 2014

A total of 10 music teachers from ten cities across eight states have been announced as finalists for the first annual Music Educator Award presented by The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation. In total, more than 30,000 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 the schools. A joint partnership and presentation of The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation, this special award will have its inaugural presentation at the Special Merit Awards Ceremony & Nominees Reception honoring recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustees Award and Technical Grammy Award during Grammy Week 2014.

The award was open to current U.S. music teachers, and anyone could nominate a teacher — students, parents, friends, colleagues, community members, school deans, and administrators. Teachers were also able to nominate themselves, and nominated teachers were notified and invited to fill out an application.

One recipient will be selected from 10 finalists each year, and will be recognized for his/her remarkable impact on students’ lives. The winner will be flown to Los Angeles to accept the award, attend the 56th 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 Box Tops For Education®, Converse, Ford Motor Company Fund, Journeys, and Microsoft Surface, with additional support from Universal Music Group.       

The 10 finalists are:  

  • Lisa Bianconi, Kurn Hattin Homes for Children, Westminster, Vt.
  • Charles Cushinery, Ed W. Clark High School, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Andrew DeNicola, John P. Stevens High School, Edison, N.J.
  • Vivian Gonzalez, South Miami K-8 Center, Miami, Fla.
  • Kent Knappenberger, Westfield Academy and Central School, Westfield, N.Y.
  • Kathrine Kouns, Horizon High School, Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Glen McCarthy, George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.
  • Steve Vutsinas, Grassfield High School, Chesapeake, Va.
  • Jo Wallace-Abbie, Plano West Senior High School, Plano, Texas
  • Mary Jo West, George Mason High School, Falls Church, Va.

The winner will be announced in January. Applications for the second annual Music Educator Award are currently online; to nominate a teacher, visit The deadline to nominate is March 31, 2014. The application process will adjust each year to allow the broad array of effective teaching styles and methods used in the discipline to be recognized and awarded.

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