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CMA Foundation honors teachers

Monday, March 9, 2020 – The CMA Foundation, a national music education nonprofit and the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association, is honoring 30 music teachers from across the country as Music Teachers of Excellence.

Now in its fifth year, the annual program was created in an effort to recognize those educators who are having the greatest impact on their students, using music as a vehicle for change.

On Tuesday, May 5, the CMA Foundation will hold its fifth annual Music Teachers of Excellence Awards in Nashville, hosted by Kelsea Ballerini. The CMA Foundation will invest $150,000 total to all of this year's recipients, with half of each teacher's investment going toward their classroom needs and music programs and the other half to support professional development and personal expenses in an effort to continue driving commitment and motivation.

Award recipients are selected based on their dedication to bringing a high-quality music program to their students and the impact they've had on their school community through music. To date, the CMA Foundation has invested more than $27 million nationally since 2006, including more than $700,000 towards Music Teachers of Excellence to ensure music educators have the support and funding needed to create a thriving program within their school and community.

"Music education has proven to be an effective and invaluable tool for academic achievement and social development, yet we consistently hear that programs are not properly supported," says Tiffany Kerns, CMA Foundation Executive Director and CMA Vice President, Community Outreach. "Each year, when we recognize the tremendous group of music educators through our Music Teachers of Excellence program, it allows us to give back to those who have dedicated their lives to serving our next generation. These educators, who spend countless hours in the classroom, are helping to shape creative, collaborative, future leaders through the power of music."

2020 Music Teachers of Excellence National Award Recipients are:
Chris Maunu, Arvada West High School, Jefferson County Public Schools - Arvada, CO
Efrain Casillas, Desert Oasis Elementary School & Porfirio H. Gonzalez Elementary - Tolleson, AZ
Joanie Padgett, Fitzgerald High School College & Career Academy, Ben Hill County Schools - Fitzgerald, GA
Jose Antonio Diaz, MacArthur High School, Aldine Independent School District - Houston, TX
Kayla B. Werlin, Longmeadow High Schools, Longmeadow Public Schools - Longmeadow, MA
Keith Hancock, Tesoro High Schools, Capistrano Unified School District - Rancho Santo Margarita, CA
Kelsey, D. Burkett, Hillard Memorial Middle School, Hillard City Schools - Hillard, OH
McKenna Stenson, Charles J. Colgan High School, Prince William County Public Schools - Manassas, VA
Theresa McKnight, Oakdale Elementary School, Oak Hills School District - Cincinnati, OH
Thomas Pierre, Thomas G. Pullen K-8 Creative and Performing Arts Academy, Prince George's County Public Schools - Landover, MD

2020 Music Teachers of Excellence Tennessee Award Recipients (in alphabetical order)
Adrian Maclin, Cordova High School, Shelby County Schools - Cordova, TN
Alice Asako Walle, Waverly Belmont Elementary School, Metro Nashville Public Schools - Nashville, TN
Anna Maria Miller, Hume-Fogg Academic High School, Metro Nashville Public Schools - Nashville, TN
Alicia Engram, Eagle View Elementary School, Metro Nashville Public Schools - Antioch, TN
Benjamin Easley, Nolensville High School, Williamson County Schools - Nolensville, TN
Danielle Leigh Taylor, Mt. View Elementary School, Metro Nashville Public Schools - Antioch, TN
Eleni Miller, John Overton High School, Metro Nashville Public Schools - Nashville
Jacob Campos, Franklin High School, Williamson County Schools - Franklin, TN
Johnathan Vest, Centennial High School, Williamson County Schools - Franklin, TN
Kaitlin Tilden, Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School, Metro Nashville Public Schools - Nashville
Katie Harrah, W.H. Oliver Middle School, Metro Nashville Public Schools - Nashville
Lauren Baker, Clovercroft Elementary School, Williamson County Schools - Franklin, TN
Linzie Mullins, Snowden School, Shelby County Schools - Memphis, TN
Michael Choate, Cookeville High School, Putnam County Schools - Cookeville, TN
Michael Holland, Nolensville High School, Williamson County Schools - Nolensville, TN
Neshawn Calloway, Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts, Hamilton County Schools - Chattanooga, TN
Nita L. Smith, Isaiah T. Creswell Middle School of the Arts, Metro Nashville Public Schools - Nashville
Samantha Sharp, Mt. View Elementary School, Metro Nashville Public Schools - Antioch, TN
Sandy Elliott, Mt. Juliet High School, Wilson County Schools - Mt. Juliet, TN
Susan Waters, W.H. Oliver Middle School, Metro Nashville Public Schools -Nashville

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