The CMA Foundation Welcomes Veteran Music Educator Franklin Willis As Community Impact Director


The CMA Foundation has announced the hiring of music educator Franklin Willis as its Community Impact Director effective August 8.

In the newly created role, Willis will serve as a key force in furthering the CMA Foundation’s ongoing commitment to fostering high quality and sustainable music education programs across the U.S. Through unique creative vision and an extensive network of community partners, Willis will focus on guiding the CMA Foundation toward more tactical and impactful opportunities to leverage the power of music to raise up the next generation of leaders. Playing a crucial role in the creation and execution of all the CMA Foundation’s events, initiatives and programs, Willis will work closely with teachers, students, policymakers, nonprofit partners and other key stakeholders to expand outreach, increase involvement and foster connection.

“Franklin has been a key voice and valuable partner to the CMA Foundation for many years,” says Tiffany Kerns, Executive Director, CMA Foundation. “He not only shares our passion for furthering and fostering quality music education programs for students, but as a former music educator and past Music Teacher of Excellence himself, he offers invaluable insight into the challenges and opportunities that exist in the arts. We are thrilled to welcome Franklin to our team and are excited to maximize his creativity and robust knowledge to create impactful and sustainable change across music and arts education.”

Prior to joining CMA, Willis worked as an Elementary Music Coach for Metro Nashville Public Schools, where he developed strategies to increase student music achievement and music teachers’ capacity by cultivating professional development communities, implementing curriculum, articulating district initiatives and training teachers and other instructional staff. With an unwavering dedication to furthering music education across the country, Willis brings more than a decade of experience as a music educator, creating unique opportunities for the CMA Foundation through advocacy, partnership and collaboration. Willis reports to Kerns. Beginning Aug. 8, reach Willis at [email protected].

About the Country Music Association 
Founded in 1958, the Country Music Association is the first trade organization formed to promote a type of music. CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961 to recognize artists and industry professionals with Country Music’s highest honor. Music industry professionals and companies across the U.S. and around the globe are members of CMA. The organization serves as an educational and professional resource for the industry and advances the growth of Country Music around the world. This is accomplished through CMA’s core initiatives: the CMA Awards, which annually recognize outstanding achievement in the industry; CMA Fest, which benefits the CMA Foundation and music education and is taped for a three-hour network television special, “CMA Fest”; and “CMA Country Christmas.” All of CMA’s television properties air on ABC.

Franklin Willis, Community Impact Director
Photo Credit: Nora Canfield
Carrie Underwood surprises Franklin Willis’ Andrew Jackson Elementary School class ahead of the group’s performance of Underwood’s “The Champion” on the Nissan Stadium stage during CMA Fest 2019.
Photo Credit: Electric Machine/CMA