The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation recently awarded Kent Knappenberger with the very first annual Music Educator Award. Mr. Knappenberger, a music teacher at Westfield Academy and Central School in Westfield, N.Y, was selected among an impressive group of finalists from 30,000 initial nominations across all 50 states.
"I am extremely humbled and honored to be the recipient of the first-ever Music Educator Award," said Knappenberger. "I believe that this award has already been and will continue to be a tremendous encouragement to all music educators. Besides the attention it has brought to many fine teachers, it brings attention to the importance of music education in general."
The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program, sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, also recognizes the importance of this subject and offers K-12 educators of all fields the unique opportunity to engage in a professional development opportunity abroad and conduct research in their teaching area.
In 2009, Marisol Ponte-Greenberg, a Music teacher from New York, travelled to Buenos Aires to understand how the traditional music of Argentina was being included as part of the Argentine music curriculum. Marisol continues to be inspired by her Fulbright experience and just last year organized the “Children's Voices of The Andes" concert at Museo del Barrio in NYC. The concert included 140 children from 3 different NYC schools who celebrated the cultural roots of Latin America by singing in Quechua, Mapuche, and Aymara.
As part of a Fulbright alumni grant, Marisol arranged a concert in New York City in which her own students, and students from other New York City schools, came together to celebrate Latin American culture by singing in the style of Quechua, Mapuche and Aymara indigenous people of the Andean region More recently, Katherine Condon, a music educator from Minneapolis, was selected as a 2014 Fulbright Distinguished Teacher. Later this year, she will travel to Helsinki to conduct research on curriculum and program design in music education. Most of her time will be spent at the prestigious Sibelius Academy, which has produced an exceptional number of world-renewed classical musicians. Upon return, Katherine hopes to infuse her teaching with the academic learnings of Finland and, in the near future, create a replicable model of music education to be used throughout the United States.
Congratulations again to Kent and also to Marisol and all of the other music educators keeping music education alive!