CMA Foundation Announces 2023 Music Teachers of Excellence

The CMA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association, has announced 30 music teachers from across the country as 2023 Music Teachers of Excellence. Now in its seventh year, the program was created to recognize educators who are having the greatest impact on their students, using the power of music as an avenue for change. 

The CMA Foundation will hold its seventh Music Teachers of Excellence ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 19, in Nashville. Along with a night of celebration and recognition, the CMA Foundation will also invest $150,000 total to all of this year’s recipients. Half of each teacher’s investment will go toward their classroom needs and music programs, and the other half will support personal expenses. Funding is used to not only support teachers financially, but to also encourage commitment, motivation and retention in music education.

Through an extensive application process, which includes teaching videos, professional references and community service work, Music Teachers of Excellence are selected based on their dedication to bringing a high-quality music education to their students and the impact they’ve had on their school community through music. To date, the CMA Foundation has invested nearly $30 million nationally, including $850,000 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. 

“We could not be prouder to support these 30 incredible music teachers through the Music Teachers of Excellence program,” says Tiffany Kerns, Executive Director, CMA Foundation. “We have seen first-hand how critical music education is to the success and well-being of students, and that starts with our music teachers. We are thrilled to welcome a new class of music teachers into this community, and we cannot wait to celebrate them on September 19!”

2023 Music Teachers of Excellence Award Recipients (in alphabetical order):
Alicia Engram – Eagle View Elementary School, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Antioch, TN
Ann Marie Morris – Cole Elementary School, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Antioch, TN
Ashley Harris – Spring Station Middle School, Williamson County Schools, Spring Hill, TN
Briana Vogt – Franklin High School, Williamson County Schools, Franklin, TN
Corey Graves – Tony A. Jackson Middle School, Forney Independent School District, Forney, TX
Crystal Briley – University Park Creative Arts School, Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District, Charlotte, NC
DaJuana “Dee” Hammonds – Hull-Jackson Montessori School, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Nashville, TN
Danielle Leigh Taylor – Tusculum Elementary School, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Nashville, TN
Elaina Gallas – Edmondson Elementary School, Williamson County School District, Brentwood, TN
Elizabeth Carter – Snowden School, Memphis-Shelby County Schools, Memphis, TN
Eric Songer – Chaska Middle School West, Eastern Carver County School District, Chaska, MN
Ethan Chessin – Camas High School, Camas School District, Camas, WA
Frank Zimmerer – Antioch High School, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Antioch, TN
Garrett Doo – Smyrna High School, Rutherford County Schools, Smyrna, TN
Jacqueline Hanna – Glenview Elementary School, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Nashville, TN
Jason Glashauser – South Clinton Elementary School, Clinton City School District, Clinton, TN
Kacee Sanders – DuPont Hadley Middle School, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Old Hickory, TN
Kate Affainie – Granbery Elementary School, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Brentwood, TN
Kristina Waugh – Rossview High School, Clarksville-Montgomery County School System, Clarksville, TN
Mandy Funderburk – Meigs Academic Magnet School, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Nashville, TN
Matthew Trevino – Roan Forest Elementary School, North East Independent School District, San Antonio, TX
Dr. Nita L. Smith – Isaiah T. Creswell Middle Magnet School of the Visual and Performing Arts, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Nashville, TN
Nora Hernández – Monroe Elementary Language Academy, Garden Grove Unified School District, Fountain Valley, CA
Patrick Bourn – Franklin Elementary School, Franklin Special School District, Franklin, TN
Rose Hellmers – Ravenwood High School, Williamson County Schools, Brentwood, TN
Ryan Mack – P.S. 10 Magnet School of Math, Science, and Design Technology, NYC DOE District 15, Brooklyn, NY
Shawna Longo – Durban Avenue Elementary School, Hopatcong Borough Schools, Hopatcong, NJ
Sherie Grossman – Mt. Juliet High School, Wilson County Schools, Mt. Juliet, TN
Stephanie San Roman – Oswego High School, Oswego Community Unit School District 308, Oswego, IL
Stephen Lawrence-Carroll – North Atlanta High School, Atlanta City School District, Atlanta, GA

About Jerry Holthouse

Music editor for Jerry Holthouse is a content writer, songwriter and a graphic designer. He owns and runs Holthouse Creative, a full service creative agency. He is an avid outdoorsman and a lover of everything music. You can contact him at

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