NAfME Member Margie Looney Named Arizona Rural Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Willcox Middle and High Schools orchestra teacher Margie Looney, who was recently named 2014 Cochise County Teacher of the Year and 2014 Arizona Rural Teacher of the Year! The Arizona Educational Foundation also recently named Looney an ambassador of excellence, making her a finalist for their Teacher of the Year.

Margie Looney, center, with her Willcox Middle School orchestra students

Looney credited her own middle school music teacher for giving her the confidence to succeed. “Music helps children develop language and reasoning abilities in addition to life skills such as responsibility, discipline, and sensitivity,” Looney said. “Music is a tool to help students be creative, work together for a common goal and is a life-long gift which they can enjoy and share with others.”

In an interview with the Arizona Education News Service Looney elaborated on the 21st-century skills music education provides and the community camaraderie music programs create. She continued, “Students are motivated to achieve success, parents and students are excited to be a part of an outstanding musical ensemble and work together to ensure progress in and outside of school. Children who would otherwise not talk to each other are playing beautiful music together and are proud of their collaborations.”

“It is vital that we work together so the gift of music is available to all and not a lost art in our public schools,” Looney emphasized.

“It is amazing to see how through our craft social, economic, and racial lines become blurred,” said Looney, “and many people who would otherwise have mostly differences between them have something in common.”

Read the rest of the interview with Margie Looney here.

Catherina Hurlburt, Special Assistant, October 29, 2014. © National Association for Music Education (