2015 GRAMMY Music Educator Finalists Say NAfME Makes a Difference

Jared Cassedy via zimbio.com

In February, the GRAMMY Foundation named Jared Cassedy of Windham, New Hampshire, the 2015 GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year. Cassedy was one of 10 finalists chosen from a pool of 7,000 nominations nationwide. Of the 10 music educators, eight are NAfME members. Each finalist received a $1,000 honorarium, and their schools each received a $1,000 grant from the GRAMMY Foundation. 

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: Converse, Disney Performing Arts, Ford Motor Company Fund, Journeys, and Microsoft. Nominations are open for the 2016 GRAMMY Music Educator. The deadline to nominate is March 16, 2015

Glenn Nierman, president of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), says the honored teachers represent high-quality music educators everywhere.

“It was my pleasure to represent NAfME in this year’s 2015 Grammy Selection Process. We watched video clips and read written statement from each nominee, typically 25–35 nominees for each round. (I was involved in the final three rounds of selection.) It was very gratifying to hear testimonials from school administrators, parents and students about how much music educators were involved in orchestrating success in the lives of these young people,” said Nierman.  

“We have a lot of good teachers out there, and many of the teachers mentioned in their statements how much NAfME was involved in their success,” Nierman continued. “It was so difficult to rank these fine teachers because the environments in which they teach were so different. How do you compare the successes of an inner-city music educator with limited resources and many environmental challenges with the successes of a program in the seven wealthiest county in the nation? In my mind, there could have been many winners.”

“Nevertheless, the Committee did its work with the utmost care and diligence. Congratulations to Jared Cassedy. NAfME and its family of state associations are very proud of you!”

NAfME asked its GRAMMY finalists to share information about their music programs, what guides them as music educators and the role NAfME has played in their career development. Click on the names below for their illuminating answers. All of the finalists are also members of their state Music Education Associations. One finalist,  Charles Cushinery, is president of the Nevada Music Educators Association.

Danny Yancey

William Bennett

Krista Fanning

Richard Maxwell

Debra Reilly

Charles Cushionery


Roz Fehr,  February 26, 2015. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org).