The CMA Foundation recognized some stellar teachers at its sixth Music Teachers of Excellence ceremony on Wednesday (Oct. 19) at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works.
Hosted by Country Music Hall of Fame member Kix Brooks, the event honored 30 music teachers—10 from Metro Nashville Public Schools, 10 from districts across the state of Tennessee, and 10 from across the U.S. Honorees were selected for their commitment to bringing a high-quality music program to their students and the impact they have had on their school community through music.
Teachers began the day at CMA’s office for a professional development session, where they heard from leaders and executives, including CMA CEO Sarah Trahern, CMA Foundation Community Impact Director Franklin Willis, Amro Music’s Nick Averwater, and members of the CMA Communications team on a variety of topics. Later, they were joined by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona for lunch and a Q&A session.
The evening celebration included a red carpet, dinner with more than 25 artists from the country music community, and a variety of performances throughout the night.
Music students from Nashville’s Hillwood High School introduced Brooks with a Brooks & Dunn medley, including hits “My Maria,” “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” and “Neon Moon.” The students also performed Randy Travis’ “Heroes and Friends” as well as joined Brooks for “Rock My World (Little Country Girl).”
The event also featured several guest speakers, including Secretary Cardona, who highlighted how critical music and arts education is in a student’s life and celebrated the passion and dedication displayed by each of the 30 teachers in the room.
Other speakers included Trahern, who spoke to the impact music educators have on the next generation and highlighted the value the country music community places on sustaining high-quality and equitable music and arts programs. CMA Foundation Executive Director, Tiffany Kerns also detailed the mission of the CMA Foundation and Brooks’ key role in its establishment. Nashville Mayor John Cooper also took the stage to honor this year’s 30 Music Teachers of Excellence and express his congratulations for their accomplishment.
In addition to Wednesday’s celebration, the CMA Foundation invested $5,000 to each recipient–half for each teacher’s music program to help enhance their music program and half for personal use.