Thirteen of the 2023 GRAMMY Music Educator Award™ Semifinalists Are NAfME Members

Announcing the 25 Selected Semifinalists

The Recording Academy™ and GRAMMY Museum® have announced the 25 semifinalists for the 2023 GRAMMY Music Educator Award™. More than 1,205 initial nominations were submitted from 47 states; semifinalists were selected from 25 cities across 18 states. NAfME is delighted to announce that 13* of the 25 GRAMMY semifinalists are active members of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). NAfME congratulates each of these inspiring, dedicated, and noteworthy music educators.

The GRAMMY Music Educator Award was first introduced to highlight the meaningful work done daily by thousands of music educators across the United States, from kindergarten to college, from public to private schools. Teachers honored with this award have made clear contributions to music education, and have committed to the cause of preserving and maintaining music education in schools. The award is a partnership and joint presentation of The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Museum.

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

Name School City State
Matt McKagan Lindero Canyon Middle School Agoura Hills California
Tammy Yi Chapman University Orange California
Patrick Smith Cooperative Arts & Humanities Magnet High School New Haven Connecticut
Wayne Splettstoeszer Torrington High School Torrington Connecticut
Ernesta Chicklowski Roosevelt Elementary Tampa Florida
Trevor Nicholas Senn Arts at Nicholas Senn High School Chicago Illinois
Bethany Robinson Noblesville High School Noblesville Indiana
Cory Joy Craig Benton Intermediate School Benton Louisiana
Tony Small Pallotti Arts Academy Laurel Maryland
Aaron Bush Foxborough High School Foxborough Massachusetts
Kevin McDonald Wellesley High School Wellesley Massachusetts
Matthew Shephard Meridian Early College High School Sanford Michigan
David Davis Park Spanish Immersion Elementary School St. Louis Park Minnesota
Alice Tsui New Bridges Elementary Brooklyn New York
Antoine Dolberry P.S. 103 Hector Fontanez School Bronx New York
Brian McMath Northwest Guilford High School Greensboro North Carolina
Jack A. Eaddy, Jr. Western Carolina University Cullowhee North Carolina
Katie Silcott Olentangy Shanahan Middle School Lewis Center Ohio
Ryan Bulgarelli Loyalsock Township High School Williamsport Pennsylvania
William Bennett Cane Bay High School Summerville South Carolina
Marisa Frank Nashville Classical Charter School Nashville Tennessee
Christine Cumberledge Central Junior High School Euless Texas
Jorge L. Garcia Elias Herrera Middle School Laredo Texas
Pamela Dawson DeSoto High School DeSoto Texas
Phil Aguglia Permian High School Odessa Texas

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

The ten finalists will be announced in December.

The 2023 GRAMMY Music Educator, selected out of the ten finalists, will receive a $10,000 honorarium and matching grant for their school’s music program, and be recognized during GRAMMY Week 2023. The nine additional finalists will each receive a $1,000 honorarium with matching school grants. Fifteen semifinalists will also receive a $500 honorarium with matching school grants.

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. Outreach for this program has been assisted by the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, NAMM Foundation, and National Education Association.

Seven of the previous nine GRAMMY Music Educator honorees, Kent KnappenbergerJared CassedyPhillip Riggs, Keith Hancock, Melissa SalgueroJeffery Redding, and Mickey Smith Jr. are NAfME members. The 2021 GRAMMY Music Educator Award recipient is Jeffrey Murdock, associate professor of music at the University of Arkansas, and the 2022 GRAMMY Music Educator Award recipient is Stephen Cox, band director at Eastland High School in Eastland, Texas.

More information about the GRAMMY Music Educator Award is available hereNominations for the 2024 Music Educator Award are open for both teachers, students, and the public to nominate a music educator who inspires them. Nominations are due March 15, 2023, and applications are due March 30, 2023. Best wishes to the semifinalists for the 2023 award!

October 29, 2022. © National Association for Music Education (

April 2024 Teaching Music

Published Date

October 29, 2022


  • NAfME News


October 29, 2022. © National Association for Music Education (

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