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What is a Music Teacher of Excellence?

The Music Teachers of Excellence award supports educators who demonstrate exemplary teaching and student learning, and are committed to making a positive impact on their school and community while advocating for the broader cause of music education. In addition, the ideal candidate can confidently overcome challenges in the classroom and is constantly seeking opportunities to continue to develop themselves professionally. 


The Music Teachers of Excellence award is open to full time, public school music teachers who have at least 4 years of experience. Teachers who have won three years in a row must take (1) year off from applying. 

Judging Criteria

The entirety of this application and process has been reviewed by and based on the recommendations of teachers. The application responses and all supporting materials should provide a comprehensive overview with clear evidence from the past 3 years based on the following judging criteria:

Exemplary teaching 

  • Teacher demonstrates a high level of musical knowledge and musicianship
  • All interactions are positive and encouraging
  • Teacher sets clear and rigorous expectations for all students
  • Musical concepts and performance practices are successfully identified and appropriate for the age level of the class or ensemble
  • Primary learning objectives are clear and relate to standards 

Student learning and engagement

  • Students are responsive and engaged
  • Teacher demonstrates exemplary classroom management
  • Student learning is assessed and feedback is provided

Positive contribution to school and community culture

  • A positive and respectful culture in the classroom is evident
  • The teacher and music program affect the entire school culture
  • The teacher serves as a consistent and positive role model for the community
  • The teacher is a strong and active advocate for music education in both their school and  community

Continued professional and personal growth 

  • Participation in and presenting at state and national music organizations and conferences
  • Leading local, state, or national professional development
  • Earning advanced degrees or certifications
  • Taking advantage of individual resources and self-learning opportunities