NAfME Members Stand Out Among GRAMMY Semifinalists

NAfME Members Stand Out Among GRAMMY Semifinalists


The GRAMMY Foundation has announced 25 GRAMMY semifinalists for the 2017 GRAMMY Music Educator Award™. Narrowed down from 290 quarterfinalists, 21 of the 25 semifinalists are members of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). In all, more than 3,300 initial nominations were submitted from 41 states. From elementary general music teachers to band directors, choral conductors, string teachers, and college professors, NAfME congratulates these talented, dedicated music teachers.

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 award is a joint partnership and presentation of The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation.

GRAMMY semifinalists

Here are the semifinalists. NAfME members are highlighted in bold. 

Erica Breitbarth

Reagan IB High School

Milwaukee, Wis.

Charles Cushinery

Ed W. Clark High School

Las Vegas, Nev.

Darnella Davidson

San Pedro Senior High School 

San Pedro, Calif.

David Dehner

Monte Vista Christian School

Watsonville, Calif.

Jose Diaz

MacArthur High School

Houston, Texas

Krista Fanning

Caddo Middle Magnet

Shreveport, La.

Chris Gleason

Patrick Marsh Middle School

Sun Prairie, Wis.

Roosevelt Griffin 

Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School

Harvey, Ill.

Keith Hancock

Tesoro High

Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.

Elizabeth Hankins

Lakewood High School

Lakewood, Ohio

Keith Hart Sr.

KIPP Believe College Prep

New Orleans, La.

Michael Henderson

Chase High School

Forest City, NC

Judy Hilliard

Easley Year-Round Elementary School

Durham, NC

Kathryn Malin Iwanusa

PS 11 Purvis J. Behan

Brooklyn, NY

Brandi Jason

Liberty High School

Eldersburg, Md.

Nick Lenio

Basalt Middle School

Basalt, CO

Pamela McClain

Parkersburg High School

Parkersburg, W.Va.

Henry Miller

Sierra Vista Middle School

Irvine, Calif.

Richard Nickerson

Windham High School

Windham, Maine 

Ulli Reiner

Bernardo Heights Middle School

Poway, Calif.

Melissa Salguero

PS 48 Joseph R. Drake

Bronx, NY

Nathan Sletten

Earlham Community Schools

Earlham, Iowa

Jason Smith

Newton High School

Covington, Ga.

Nicole Thompson

Taylor Road Middle School

Johns Creek, Ga.

Linda Versprille

Cane Bay High School

Summerville, SC


The 10 finalists will be announced in December

Read a list of the quarterfinalists, including NAfME Members.

The 2017 GRAMMY Music Educator will 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. Fifteen semifinalists will 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 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.

The finalists will be announced in December. Find additional GRAMMY Educator information. Nominations for the 2018 Music Educator award are open. 

Roz Fehr, NAfME Membership Outreach Specialist, October 24, 2016. © National Association for Music Education (