music education

For Immediate Release
Contact: Catherina Hurlburt or (571) 323-3395

National Association for Music Education Member
Mickey Smith Jr. Named
2020 GRAMMY Music Educator AwardTM Honoree

All Seven GRAMMY Music Educator AwardTM Recipients Are NAfME Members


RESTON, VA (February 6, 2020)—The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) congratulates music educator Mickey Smith Jr. on being honored with the prestigious 2020 Music Educator AwardTM. The honor presented by The Recording Academy® and the GRAMMY Museum is well-deserved. Mickey is a member of NAfME and the Louisiana Music Educators Association (LMEA). This is the seventh year the Music Educator Award has been presented, and all seven years the winners have been members of NAfME: Kent Knappenberger (2014); Jared Cassedy (2015); Phillip Riggs (2016); Keith Hancock (2017); Melissa Salguero (2018); Jeffery Redding (2019); and now Mickey Smith Jr. (2020).

Mickey Smith Jr Headshot

Photo courtesy of Mickey Smith Jr.

Mickey Smith Jr. is the Director of Bands at Maplewood Middle School in Sulphur, Louisiana. He is also the author of a children’s book The Adventures of Little Mickey: Keep on Going. In an interview last year with NAfME, Smith said, “I grew up in a forgotten community, and music was my opportunity to be the first in my family to go to college and travel the world. Music was my open door, so I wanted to open the door for others to discover their ‘sound.’” Describing the impact of music education on students, Smith said, “I believe music is still an essential element. It is a key component to what it means to be human. In a time where schools, industries, and economies are looking for forward-thinking individuals with the capacity to problem-solve, interpret data, and still communicate, empathize, and synergize, music remains that uniquely essential element that does all that and more for those who understand it [music]. Music opens up an entirely new dimension of understanding.”

“Music was my open door, so I wanted to open the door for others to discover their ‘sound.’”

Talking about his students recently on “CBS This Morning,” Smith said, “Sometimes I sit down in the chair with them because I always want to be cognizant of ‘what did it feel like to be 12?’ I believe that if I am familiar with that, I can connect with them more. And that’s really what it’s all about: connection.”

Mickey Smith holding a children's book

Photo: Elizabeth Medwick

NAfME congratulates Mickey Smith Jr. on this distinguished recognition. Under his direction, the students of Maplewood Middle School have experienced the significant benefits of music education and the joy of making music each day. Smith’s dedication to the difference music education can make in his students’ lives is exemplary. He is an outstanding member of NAfME, and we applaud his accomplishments.

Mickey Smith Jr. was acknowledged on the GRAMMY Award broadcast Sunday, January 26, 2020.

As the GRAMMY Museum describes, 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.

In this seventh year of the award, nine of the 10 finalists for the Music Educator Award are members of NAfME. All of these teachers’ positive impact on their students’ lives and tireless advocacy for music education are invaluable in U.S. education today. Nominations for the 2021 Music Educator Award are being accepted through March 15, and teacher applications need to be completed by March 31:



National Association for Music Education, among the world’s largest arts education organizations, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers. The Association has supported music educators at all teaching levels for more than a century. With more than 60,000 members teaching millions of students nationwide, the organization is the national voice for music education in the United States.

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For additional information, contact Catherina Hurlburt at or 571-323-3395.

April 2024 Teaching Music

Published Date

February 6, 2020


  • NAfME News


February 6, 2020. © National Association for Music Education (

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