By ALEXANDER WILLIS
Hosted by the CMA Foundation, the fourth annual Music Teachers of Excellence Awards saw award recipients from Brentwood, Nolensville and Franklin Tuesday night, with the three teachers being honored for their dedication in bringing high-quality music programs to students.
Held in Nashville, the award ceremony was hosted by country music singer and songwriter Dierks Bentley.
The three award recipients from Williamson County were Kathryn Affainie from Brentwood, Benjamin Easley from Nolensville, and Carole Smith Grooms from Franklin. Each teacher will see $2,500 invested into their respective music programs, as well as a $2,500 prepaid visa gift card.
“These teachers have gone above and beyond in their classrooms to really bring music to life and their commitment and determination has not gone unnoticed,” said Bentley. “As a parent, I have seen first-hand the importance of music in my children’s lives and its importance in school programs. Every child deserves the chance to feel the power of music and it’s not possible without supporting these teachers.”
The CMA Foundation is a national nonprofit organization that aims to improve and sustain music education programs across the United States, and has invested more than $25 million towards public schools, summer camps and community outreach organizations. CMA’s executive director, Tiffany Kerns, spoke during the award ceremony, saying that she was the award recipients’ biggest fan in the room.
“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,” Kerns said. “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.”