Celebrating Our Champions

Over the last decade, the CMA Foundation has been committed to investing in quality music education throughout the country. As our work has progressed and we’ve learned more about the overwhelming challenges that face music education – and its educators, we felt motivated to go beyond simply supporting the education system but to also champion the incredible human beings who go well above and beyond their role and responsibilities in the classroom and who are vital to their students and communities.


In 2016, the CMA Foundation launched Music Teachers of Excellence to celebrate, honor, and invest in music education teachers who exemplify excellence.

Did you know?

94% of public school teachers in the U.S. spend their own money on classroom supplies.

The CMA Foundation proudly presents each MTOE Award recipient with a stipend of $5,000 to be split evenly between supporting classroom and personal needs.

To date, the CMA Foundation has honored 120 music teachers and given $700k to support their excellence.

2019 EVENT

Country superstar, Dierks Bentley hosted the fourth annual CMA Foundation Music Teachers of Excellence awards, where we celebrated and honored 30 music teachers throughout Tennessee and U.S., for their commitment to shaping the next generation through music. These change agents go above and beyond their role and responsibilities in the classroom and are vital to their students and communities.


Spencer Nesvick
Houston Middle School, Germantown, TN

This experience was top notch. The advocacy gained for the kids in my program has been huge. In just a few short months after being recognized as a Music Teacher of Excellence, the band program has gained a lot of support and positive attention in the community. The Mayor, Board of Alderman, and School Board have all personally sent letters of congratulations and offered support to the kids in the program. There is no doubt that the CMA Foundation is the reason for this new found attention. The music that was purchased with the grant money has grown our music library by double. I can’t wait to see how the kids respond to this current literature and I’m excited to hear how they’ll sound performing it for a new found fans in our school and community.

Sherie Grossman
Mt. Juliet High School, Mt. Juliet, TN

Being selected as a CMA Music Teacher of Excellence is a huge honor!  Sometimes, as teachers, we can feel isolated, like the outside world doesn’t know or appreciate what we do as music educators every day.  We are more than educators.  To some students we are their only safe place, their family, and a place to express themselves in a safe environment.  Being the only orchestra program in my district I feel alone often.  CMA saw me, recognized me, and appreciated me!  With the money from their generous donation I was able to repair instruments, purchase new bows for my program, and provide more supplies for my students to use.  Thank you to the CMA Foundation and all of the artists who donate their time towards recognizing music educators!

Robyn Starks Holcomb
Roosevelt High School, Sioux Falls, SD

Thank you CMA Foundation, not only for the red carpet treatment you offer to music educators across the country, but also for the validation and respect that accompanies an honor such as this. Music Education is offering the world more than music. It is about teaching culture, humanity, art, teamwork. creativity, and life skills that only a subject that reaches emotions as this can. Your work for teachers is a blessing, and the Music Teachers of Excellence Awards banquet was an experience that I will never forget. It was a true gift to be able to spend that evening with my daughter and take the stories (and generous funding) back to my school. Because of you, I am reminded that what ALL of us in this field do from day to day is important and shaping the world that we will find ourselves tomorrow.  My heart is full of gratitude!