Country superstars surprise 2024 'Music Teachers of Excellence'

Country's biggest stars, including Luke Bryan, Jelly Roll and Lainey Wilson, surprised 30 of America's best music teachers

ByJoseph Maxfield OTRC logo
Tuesday, May 7, 2024
Country superstars surprise 2024 'Music Teachers of Excellence'
30 music teachers are recognized by the CMA Foundation's Music Teachers of Excellence ceremony each year.

LOS ANGELES -- Some of the biggest stars in country music, including Luke Bryan, Jelly Roll and Lainey Wilson, surprised 30 of America's best music teachers who've been selected as this year's CMA Foundation Music Teachers of Excellence.

In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, the country artists, including Kelsea Ballerini, Cody Johnson, Ashley McBryde, Keith Urban and others recorded video messages congratulating this year's honorees, which were played at each teacher's school.

This year's Music Teachers of Excellence class represents teachers from all over the U.S., including California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois and more. Each teacher honored receives a $5,000 grant, with half of the money going toward their classroom needs and music programs and the other half going toward their personal expenses.

The teachers also get to attend the Music Teachers of Excellence Ceremony in Nashville which will be held September 17 this year at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

"We are immensely proud to celebrate these 30 remarkable music educators as part of our Music Teachers of Excellence program," said Tiffany Kerns, CMA Foundation Executive Director. "These teachers consistently go above and beyond to build inclusive environments in their classrooms and communities, often removing barriers that prevent even just one student from participating in music education. It takes a village, and we are so grateful for our village of amazing country artists who joined us this morning to recognize these 30 incredible humans."

Other country stars that recorded video messages for the teachers were Tanner Adell, Dierks Bentley, Priscilla Block, Brothers Osborne, Chapel Hart, Jordan Davis, Lindsay Ell, Filmore, Mickey Guyton, Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley, Tiera Kennedy, Maddie & Tae, Parker McCollum, Reba McEntire, MacKenzie Porter, Frank Ray, Reyna Roberts, Caitlyn Smith, Alana Springsteen, Thomas Rhett, and Chris Young.

2024 Music Teachers of Excellence Award Recipients (in alphabetical order):

Justin Antos - Dwight D. Eisenhower High School, Blue Island, IL

Evan Burton - Page Middle School, Franklin, TN

Vanessa Cobb - Montgomery Central High School, Cunningham, TN

Johnny Croft - Cane Ridge High School, Antioch, TN

Charissa Duncanson - Ferndale Lower Elementary School, Ferndale Upper Elementary School, Oak Park, MI

Deanna Grandstaff - Cecil Intermediate School, McDonald, PA

Corey Graves - Jackson Middle School, Forney, TX

DaJuana "Dee" Hammonds - Hull Jackson Montessori, Nashville, TN

Eric Hanson - Wilson Elementary, Coppell, TX

Tony Hartman - Scales Elementary School, Murfreesboro, TN

Michael Holland - Franklin High School, Franklin, TN

Brent Hopper - Lakeland Preparatory School, Lakeland, TN

Allen Kennedy - Hume-Fogg Academic High School, Nashville, TN

Ollie Liddell - Memphis Central High School, Memphis, TN

Tyler Merideth - James Lawson High School, Nashville, TN

Allen Moody - Idlewild Elementary, Memphis, TN

Linzie Mullins - Snowden School, Memphis, TN

Cody Newman - Forney High School, Forney, TX

Katiana Nicholson - Columbia Central High School, Columbia, TN

Dave Petrelli - Lockeland Design Center Elementary, Nashville, TN

Holly Rang - Pennington Elementary, Nashville, TN

Samantha Reid - Oliver Middle School, Nashville, TN

Stephanie San Roman - Oswego High School, Oswego, IL

Jonathan Seligman - Casillas Elementary, Chula Vista, CA

Laura Shepherd - Donelson Middle School, Nashville, TN

Andrew Smith - Powell High School, Powell, TN

Sarah Theres - Florosa Elementary School, Mary Esther, FL