• Published November 9, 2021

    Five WCS music educators are being recognized by the Country Music Association (CMA) Foundation for their excellence in the classroom.

    Clovercroft Elementary's Lauren Baker, Centennial High's Johnathan Vest, Franklin High's Jacob Campos, Nolensville High's Benjamin Easley and Nolensville High's Michael Holland are all CMA Foundation Music Teachers of Excellence. The program honors educators who go above and beyond their role and responsibilities in the classroom.

    "I am proud to be a small part of an organization that does so much to aid music educators and their programs all over the country," said Baker. "Because one music teacher can influence thousands of students, the Foundation's generosity is far reaching. Students are active music makers and recognize the inclusiveness of music. When we are moving, singing and playing together, we are one."

    Several of the educators have already received the Music Teachers of Excellence recognition in previous years. Campos earned the honor in 2018, Holland in 2019 and Easley in 2016, 2018 and 2019.

    "I am deeply humbled to receive this recognition from the CMA Foundation," said Campos. "Their work is truly helping better music education around the country. I believe that active musicianship teaches our young people to deal with their emotions in a logical, methodical and detailed way. This prepares them not only to express themselves but leads to less violence and better connections across communities."

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, educators who received the award in 2020 were not able to attend an awards ceremony. The CMA Foundation is taking a different route and providing all of the Music Teachers of Excellence tickets to the CMA Awards on Wednesday, November 10, in Nashville.

    "It's been an incredible honor to receive this award from the CMA," said Vest. "None of us go into teaching for the recognition, but it sure is nice. It's a validation that what we do matters and that excellence in teaching is vital to student success."