Nine of 10 GRAMMY Music Educator Finalists for 2017 Are NAfME Members

Nine of 10 GRAMMY Music Educator Finalists for 2017 Are NAfME Members


The GRAMMY Foundation® announced 10 finalists for the 2017 GRAMMY Music Educator Award™, and 9 of the 10 are members of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). In all, more than 3,300 initial nominations were submitted from all 50 states—from elementary general music teachers to band directors, choral conductors, string teachers, and college professors. NAfME congratulates these talented, dedicated music educators.

grammyThe finalists, with NAfME members in bold, are:


Erica Breitbarth

Reagan IB High School

Milwaukee, Wis.

Jose Diaz

MacArthur High School

Houston, Texas

Ulli Reiner

Bernardo Heights Middle School

Poway, Calif.

Elizabeth Hankins

Lakewood High School

Lakewood, Ohio

Keith Hancock

Tesoro High School

Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.

Keith Hart Sr.

KIPP Believe College Prep

New Orleans, La.

Henry Miller

Sierra Vista Middle School

Irvine, Calif.

David Dehner

Monte Vista Christian School

Watsonville, Calif.

Richard Nickerson

Windham High School

Windham, Maine

Nicole Thompson

Taylor Road Middle School

Johns Creek, Ga.


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.

The 2017 GRAMMY Music Educator award will receive a $10,000 honorarium and attend the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards ceremony and a range of GRAMMY Foundation events. The nine additional finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants. Additionally, the previously named 15 semifinalists will receive a $500 honorarium with matching school grants for the first time in the award’s history.

The honorariums and grants provided to the finalists and schools are made possible through the support of the GRAMMY Foundation’s Education Champions Converse, Disney Performing Arts, Ford Motor Company Fund, and Journeys. In addition, the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education, the NAMM Foundation, and the National Education Association support this program through outreach to their constituencies.

All three of the previous GRAMMY Music Educator honorees—Kent Knappenberger, Jared Cassedy, and Phillip Riggs—are NAfME members.

A joint partnership and presentation of The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation, the recipient will be honored during GRAMMY Week 2017.

Watch the finalists’ announcement on CBS This Morning.

Nominations and applications for the 2019 Music Educator Award are now open via

Roz Fehr, NAfME Membership Outreach Specialist, December 9, 2016. © National Association for Music Education (