Yamaha Proudly Announces its Third Annual 40 Under 40 Music Educators List 

SBO Staff • News • March 13, 2023

For the third year, Yamaha has selected 40 exceptional music educators under 40, possessing action, courage, creativity, and growth characteristics while going above and beyond when instructing music programs. 

Students, parents, teachers, and local instrument dealers and mentors submitted hundreds of nominations highlighting the positive impact of music educators on their community and students. 

2023 honorees include: 

John Aguilar – Robert Eagle Staff Middle School (Seattle, WA) 

Dr. Emily Williams Burch – University of South Carolina, Aiken (Aiken, SC) 

Gabriella Burdette – Grace James Academy of Excellence (Louisville, KY) 

Logan Burnside – Jordan High School (Jordan, MN) 

Rob Chilton – RC Theory (Frisco, TX) 

Dr. Leah N. Claiborne – University of the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) 

David Davis – Park Spanish Immersion Elementary School (St. Louis Park, MN) 

Brandon J. Duras – Brunswick High School (Brunswick, MN) 

Jasmine M.T. Fripp KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School (Nashville, TN) 

Dr. Derek Ganong – Boise State University (Boise, ID) 

Andrés González – Play on Philly (Philadelphia, PA) 

Corey L. Graves – Tony A. Jackson Middle School (Forney, TX) 

Kylie Griffin – Dozier Elementary School (Erath, LA) 

Matt Gullickson – Eastview High School (Apple Valley, MN) 

Lisa Hatfield – Batavia Elementary Schools (Batavia, IL) 

Dr. Joseph Jefferson – Southeast Missouri State University (Cape Girardeau, MO) 

Prof. Larry L. Jenkins – Tennessee State University (Nashville, TN) 

Johanna M. Kitchell – Riverside Junior High School, Riverside Intermediate School (Fishers, IN) 

Paul Lowry – Del Sol Academy of the Performing Arts (Las Vegas, NV) 

Nerissa Manela – University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL) 

Emily Meyerson – North Baltimore local Schools (North Baltimore, OH) 

Dr. William Oliver – Huston-Tillotson University (Austin, TX) 

Noelle Radar – Mendive Middle School (Sparks, NV) 

Caleb Schepart – Dr. Kenneth B. Clark Academy (Dobbs Ferry, NY) 

James Sepulvado – Cuyamaca College (Rancho San Diego, CA) 

Dr. Timothy S. Sexton – Tarpon Springs Leadership Conservatory for the Arts (Tarpon Springs, FL) 

Dylan Sims – York Middle School (York, SC) 

Marcus D. Smith – Baltimore City College (Baltimore, MD) 

Taylor Spakes – West Rowan Middle School (Salisbury, NC) 

Theodore Thorpe III – Alexandria City High School (Alexandria, VA) 

Jabari Tovar – Salem Public Schools (Salem, MA) 

Trevor Tran – Fort Myers High School (Fort Myers, FL) 

Miriam L. Vazquez – Duane D. Keller Middle School (Las Vegas, NV) 

Nicole Wakabayashi – Notre Dame School of Manhattan (New York, NY) 

Sara Weir – Park View Middle School (Cranston, RI) 

Greg White – Ronald Reagan High School (San Antonio, TX) 

Tyler Wigglesworth – West Covina High School (West Covina, CA) 

Jeremy Williams – L.H. Marrero Middle School (Marrero, LA) 

Franklin Willis – Vanderbilt University, Blair School of Music (Nashville, TN) 

Susan Wines – Wade Hampton High (Greenville, SC) 

The 40 selected music educators elevate their communities by continually showing their love and charisma for music. The selection was based on the following criteria: 

  • • Proposing and implementing new or bold ideas 
  • • Offering innovation and imagination in achieving plans and objectives 
  • • Establishing and growing or improving music education in their schools and communities 

“Despite the headwinds educators have, music educators are undertaking some of the most innovative, creative, and impactful programs to make a difference in strengthening and encouraging arts education nationwide,” said Heather Mansell, marketing manager, education group at Yamaha Corporation of America. “Yamaha shares the same commitment to high-quality, well-rounded music education for all, and we look forward to supporting and encouraging the efforts of these 40 outstanding educators and the thousands more like them across the country.” 

To learn more about these educators visit: www.Yamaha.io/40under40-23 

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