Teaching to Make a Difference: Music Educator Award™ Finalist David Dehner

Teaching to Make a Difference

Music Educator Award™ Finalist David Dehner


Nominate a teacher by March 15, 2018.
Applications due by March 31, 2018.


The GRAMMY Foundation® and The Recording Academy® have just chosen 10 finalists for the 2017 Music Educator Award. The 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 schools. Nine out of the 10 finalists are NAfME members, as was last year’s ultimate winner, Phillip Riggs of North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, NC. Teachers are encouraged to apply by visiting www.grammymusicteacher.com. Teachers participating in the Music Educator Award process by applying makes them part of our overall music education advocacy movement.




David Dehner, another NAfME member, is the Director of Vocal Arts at the Monte Vista Christian School in Watsonville, California. He has been named as one of the 10 finalists for the 2017 award. David answered some questions from NAfME:

Q: Why did you decide to become a music teacher?

I am a teacher because of purpose. I am determined to leave a better world by helping a student realize their potential and power in music gifting. Through my years of teaching on numerous occasions I have witnessed my influence as a teacher to unlock potential in students who were unsure of their place in the world. Music is a tool for enlightening society, culture diversity, spiritual awareness, relational security, and the understanding that makes a better world. I teach to make a difference; music is my language.


David Dehner


Q: Please describe your music program and what role you believe it plays in the overall fabric of the school.

The Monte Vista Christian School Vocal Arts Department is steeped in the spiritual, social and educational fabric of our school. It is comprehensive for each level of music learning, it is designed to benefit and develop campus and community social enhancement, and it is designed to advance the academics and performance of the musical art form. This program includes a wide diversity of united students who produce measurable success by enriching our community, providing awareness of community need, and achieving recognized excellence through high level performance.

Q: Any thoughts on the GRAMMY Educator process?

It is refreshing to have an organization recognize music educators at the grassroots level. The process of enlisting nominations by anyone is an operative way to acknowledge the work of teachers who may have been ignored. The thoughtful process of surveying the nominees with relevant questions related to their measurable success in the classroom is significant. The assignment for each semi-finalist to demonstrate their work is helpful for self-evaluation and communication of our expertise and accomplishment. For me, knowing that I meet these standards is humbling. Dedicated teachers work with diligence to make the classroom a productive environment. I am delighted to be chosen to represent these teachers.

Q: What role do you believe your NAfME membership has in the professional development aspects of your career?

NAfME has been, for me, “the place to go” for teacher development, advocacy, partnership for success, social interaction, student advancement, and program development. As I continue in career development, NAfME will always be the place to find inspiration. NAfME offers comprehensive tools for the craft of music education.


For more information on the GRAMMY Music Educator Award™ process please visit www.grammymusicteacher.com.
Nominate a teacher by March 15, 2018.
Applications due by March 31, 2018.

Brendan McAloon, Marketing and Events Coordinator, January 24, 2017. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)