Ruth LeMay Honored with
NAfME Council for Guitar Education Award

The NAfME Council for Guitar Education congratulates Ruth LeMay as the first recipient of the annual NAfME Council for Guitar Education Award for 2020. LeMay is the Director of Guitar Education at Southwest High School, Minneapolis Public Schools.

council for guitar education plaque


“I have had the pleasure of meeting her only twice, but I was in attendance at her UnLoCkeD performance at the NAfME keynote this year, and I was completely blown away by her efforts,” shared one individual who nominated LeMay for the award. “The kids were engaged, enjoying it, and performing! More importantly, they were inspiring to the hundreds of music educators in the audience.”

on stage 3 Strings UnLoCkeD ensemble with Ruth LeMay

Photo: Robb Cohen Photography


“She has given her students continuous exceptional music education over the years and works tirelessly to provide the best experiences,” shared another. “In addition to her students participating in the NAfME Guitar All-National Honor Ensemble, she also had her Special Needs Ensemble 3 Strings UnLoCkeD perform in concert at the Saturday NAfME Keynote address. With this performance she showed that Exceptional Needs students can be effectively taught music and demonstrate the remarkable ability to perform at a high standard.”

Other reasons shared for nominating Ruth LeMay for this award include:

“She conducts highly successful performance tours with her students (multiple groups) throughout her state, the Midwest, and the nation.”

“She has great programs for a variety of levels of her students: Special Needs, Advanced Performing, Songwriting, and Modern Band ensembles.”

“She is a genuine and authentic teacher who cares deeply for the betterment of her students academically and socially. I witnessed this firsthand as she brought multiple ensembles from Southwest High School on a Midwest tour through Omaha. She was very conscientious of how students were looking and feeling and offered encouragement and advice that was in the students’ best interests. There were multiple factors in their tour that none of us would want to face, including illness and severe weather complications. The main focus was on the students and their well-being, both physically and emotionally. With all of that going on, they still had an amazing performance and a successful tour.”

Ruth LeMay at 2019 NAfME national conference

Ruth LeMay. Photo: Robb Cohen Photography


Each year the NAfME Council for Guitar Education will honor a dedicated person in Guitar Education based on the following criteria:

  • Dedication to students
  • Contributions to local and regional guitar activities
  • Service to the field of guitar education (presentations, research, compositions, etc.)
  • Current NAfME member with five years of guitar teaching experience
  • An advocate for the continued growth of guitar education

NAfME Council for Guitar Education.  February 25, 2020. © National Association for Music Education (

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