Nine of Ten GRAMMY Music Educator Finalists
for 2020 Are NAfME Members

NAfME member Mickey Smith Jr. has been named the honoree of the 2020 GRAMMY Music Educator Award™. Congratulations!

educator award

The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Museum® announced ten finalists for the 2020 GRAMMY Music Educator Award™, and nine of the ten are members of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME)*. More than 3,300 initial nominations were submitted from across the country—from public to private school educators, from general music teachers to band directors, choral conductors, string teachers, and college professors. NAfME congratulates each and every one of these talented, dedicated music educators. 

Here are this year’s finalists. NAfME members are highlighted in bold.

Elizabeth Bennett

Buffalo Grove High School

Buffalo Grove


Stephen Cox

Eastland High School



Victor de los Santos

Santa Ana High School

Santa Ana


Geoffrey Gould

Swift River Elementary School



Elizabeth Hering

Churchill High School



Jason Majerczak

Drexel Hill Middle School

Drexel Hill


Chris Maunu

Arvada West High School



Lynne Ruda

Lancaster High School



Mickey Smith

Maplewood Middle School



Kokoe Tanaka-Suwan

Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls, The Shirley Rodriguez-Remeneski School




The 2020 GRAMMY Music Educator, selected out of the ten finalists, will be flown out to Los Angeles to attend the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards, and attend various GRAMMY Week events at the end of January, and take home a $10,000 prize. The nine additional finalists will each receive a $1,000 honorarium; the schools of all ten finalists will receive matching grants. The remaining 15 semifinalists will receive a $500 honorarium with matching school grants.

Read a list of the quarterfinalists featuring NAfME members.

The honorariums and grants provided to the finalists and schools are made possible through the support of the GRAMMY Museum’s Education Champion Ford Motor Company Fund. 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.

All six of the previous GRAMMY Music Educator honorees, Kent KnappenbergerJared Cassedy, Phillip Riggs, Keith Hancock, Melissa Salguero, and Jeffery Redding are NAfME members.

Learn more about the Music Educator AwardTM process.


Nominations for the 2021 Music Educator Award are now open for teachers, students, and the rest of the public to nominate a music educator who inspires them. The deadline to nominate is March 15. The deadline to apply is March 31.

Best of luck to the finalists! 

* This number reflects those whose memberships were current at the time of this announcement and is subject to change.

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