WCS Educators Recognized by CMA Foundation

Five teachers smile at an awards ceremony
  • Published October 25, 2022

    Five Willamson County Schools educators are being recognized by the Country Music Association (CMA) Foundation for their dedication toward music education.

    Edmondson Elementary's Elaina Gallas, Brentwood Middle's Tiffany Turner, Grassland Middle's Kevin Jankowski, Page Middle's Evan Burton and Franklin High's Michael Holland were all honored at the October 19 ceremony held in Nashville. Only 30 music educators from across the nation earned this award.

    "It is an honor to be selected and included in this remarkable list of music educators," said FHS band director Michael Holland. "I grew up playing music with my family and found a place that challenged me and fostered various life skills that shaped me into the man I am today. I must thank the many music educators who contributed to my journey. They believed in me, gave me space to develop my skills, challenged me to grow and now they continue to support me in my career."

    Music Teachers of Excellence are selected based on their dedication to bringing high-quality music education to their students and their impact on their school community through music. In addition to the night of celebration at the awards ceremony, Music Teachers of Excellence received a $5,000 stipend to help support classroom needs, music programs and professional development.

    "Being selected as a Music Teacher of Excellence has been one of my proudest achievements," said EES music teacher Elaina Gallas. "As a music teacher, I take great joy in teaching the whole student. Music opens doors for lessons on history, math, reading, science, social and emotional intelligence and more. My time with students is limited, but music is everywhere. I'm so thankful to the CMA Foundation for recognizing the difference music makes in our students' education."

    Music education gives students an opportunity for self-expression and creativity, says Page Middle band director Evan Burton. That's why he's so dedicated to sharing that with his students.

    "Making music combines reading, counting, physical movement, listening, creating and emoting all in real-time with a constant demand for problem-solving and adjusting performances," Burton said. "No other discipline touches so many parts of students' minds and souls. It is so encouraging to be recognized for the work I do and for the difference music education makes in the lives of children."

    BMS orchestra director Tiffany Turner says this recognition gives educators a platform to advocate for their programs.

    "My hope is that WCS and our communities will continue to support the wonderful arts programs we have in this district and that music education will continue to bounce back after the pandemic," Turner said. "I believe music is a unique discipline in its ability to connect people and teach a multitude of different lessons in many different ways."