CMA Foundation Honors Teachers Of Excellence

Photo credit: Kayla Schoen/CMA

The CMA Foundation honored 34 music educators during its third annual CMA Music Teachers of Excellence ceremony Tuesday night (May 8) at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works. The invite-only event, hosted by CMA Foundation board member Chris Young, celebrated teachers from districts across the state of Tennessee as well as from Chicago, Cincinnati, Los Angeles and Seattle for their advocacy and commitment to music education.

More than a dozen artists and celebrities attended the ceremony in addition to Nashville Mayor David Briley, Metro Nashville Public Schools Superintendent Shawn Joseph, CMA and CMA Foundation board members, industry leaders, and representatives from eight CMA Foundation beneficiary programs. In addition to Young, artists, songwriters and celebrities in attendance included Jimmie Allen, Craig Wayne Boyd, Kix Brooks, Max Camp, CB30, Adam Craig, Jacob Davis, Devin Dawson, Jerry Douglas, Lindsay Ell, David Fanning, Nicolle Galyon, Hunter Hayes, Kristi Hoopes, R&B trio SWV’s Taj Johnson-George, Tracy Lawrence, Steve Moakler, Eric Paslay, Walker McGuire, and Charlie Worsham.

“I am honored as we celebrate 34 music teachers from across the state of Tennessee and beyond who have demonstrated excellence—not only in their classrooms, but in their communities, those who work tirelessly to help our young people develop a love for music,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer.

“Your students will remember everything you do for them,” added Young, a product of music education himself. “They will remember the patience and passion you have when you teach and how you helped build their confidence and gave them self-worth. Music teachers can shape their students in ways you might not even realize. I’m living proof of that.”

The CMA Foundation created the Music Teachers of Excellence program in 2016 in an effort to recognize the best and brightest music teachers from Nashville and beyond. Award recipients were selected because of their dedication to delivering a quality music program to their students and the impact they’ve had on their school community through music. The dedicated educators will each receive $5,000 from the CMA Foundation to not only support their classroom needs, but to support their professional development as well.

2018 Music Teachers of Excellence Recipients:
Pam Andrews, Station Camp Elementary School, Gallatin, TN
Ronda Armstrong, Stanford Montessori Elementary School, Nashville, TN
Jennifer Barnes, Lockeland Elementary Design Center, Nashville, TN
Lisa Benton, Heritage Middle School, Thompson Station, TN
Rita Black, Eakin Elementary School, Nashville, TN
Christopher Blackmon, Thomas A. Edison Elementary School, Antioch, TN
Jacob Campos, Franklin High School, Franklin, TN
Darnella Davidson, Los Angeles Unified School District, San Pedro, CA
Joel L. Denton, Ooltewah High School, Ooltewah, TN
Benjamin Easley, Nolensville High School, Nolensville, TN
Kim Folsom, Dan Mills Elementary School, Nashville, TN
Lisa Forbis, Hume-Fogg Magnet High School, Nashville, TN
Elizabeth Fortune, Washington Middle School, Seattle, WA
Glenn Fugett, Nashville School of the Arts, Nashville, TN
Mark Hale, Mt. View Elementary School, Antioch, TN
Katie Harrah, Oliver Middle School, Nashville, TN
Trey Jacobs, Nashville School of the Arts, Nashville, TN
Kevin Jankowski, Oliver Middle School, Nashville, TN
Julie Jolly, West End Middle School, Nashville, TN
Andrew McGuire, Roger C. Sullivan High School, Chicago, IL
Anna Maria Miller, Hume-Fogg Magnet High School & Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School, Nashville, TN
Jennifer Partridge, Gower Elementary School, Nashville, TN
Dr. JD Phillips, Oak Ridge High School, Oak Ridge, TN
Lauren Ramey, Ravenwood High School, Brentwood, TN
Alaina Schwartz, Crieve Hall Elementary School, Nashville, TN
Matthew Taylor, Meigs Magnet Middle School, Nashville, TN
Christina E. Tierney, Roselawn Condon Elementary School, Cincinnati, OH
Barry Trobaugh, Munford High School, Munford, TN
Alice Asako Walle, Waverly Belmont Elementary School, Nashville, TN
Paul Waters, Bellevue Middle School, Nashville, TN
Kristina Waugh, Rossview Middle School, Clarksville, TN
Franklin Willis, Andrew Jackson Elementary School, Old Hickory, TN
Chad Witemeyer, Henry C. Maxwell Elementary School, Nashville, TN
Alexis Yatuzis-Derryberry, Lascassas Elementary School, Lascassas, TN

Students from Nashville’s Andrew Jackson Elementary School’s Eagle Honor Choir perform under the direction of two-time Music Teacher of Excellence Franklin Willis Tuesday, May 8 at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works during the CMA Foundation’s Music Teachers of Excellence event. Photo credit: Kayla Schoen/CMA


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Hollabaugh, a staff writer at MusicRow magazine, has over 20 years of music business experience and has written for publications including American Profile, CMA Close Up, Nashville Arts And Entertainment, The Boot and Country Weekly. She has a Broadcast Journalism and Speech Communication degree from Texas Christian University, (go Horned Frogs), and welcomes your feedback or story ideas at

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