As part of the star-studded Country Music Association (CMA) Awards season in October, School of Music alumna Margaret Maurice (M.Mu. Piano Pedagogy ’08) was invited to Nashville to be recognized as one of 30 nationwide Music Teachers of Excellence awarded by the CMA Foundation. This award program, now in its sixth year, recognizes educators who have the most significant impact on their students, using the power of music as an avenue for change.
As part of the award, the CMA Foundation will invest $150,000 in all of this year’s recipients. Half of each teacher’s investment will go toward their classroom needs and music programs. The other half will support professional development and personal expenses to continue driving commitment, motivation, and retention in music education.
Some of country music’s brightest stars, along with U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona, were in attendance at the event to celebrate, recognize and show support for the esteemed educators.
“The CMA Foundation’s 2022 Teachers of Excellence Award Ceremony was simply amazing,” said Maurice of her experience. “Being inspired by Dr. Miguel Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Education totally changed my life. I wish I could bottle it up and send out his personal encouragement, authenticity and empowerment for every teacher out there. Having him look into my eyes and personally give me feedback, thank me for 22 years of impactful service so far, give shout-outs and career advice changed my life.”
Currently a music teacher at Hidden Valley Elementary School in Charlotte, Maurice’s career as a music educator covers more than two decades and three states. Having taught in Atlanta, as well as Burlington, Vermont prior to her role in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, Maurice advocates for “the arts for all” through arts integration with core academic curriculum. As an educator herself, she recalls the impact of the Georgia State music faculty who made their mark on her graduate studies: her piano professor, Dr. Geoffrey Haydon, her piano pedagogy advisor, Dr. Sergio Gallo, and her advisor, Dr. Steven Harper who also served as the chair of her graduate exams.
Earlier this year, the North Carolina Symphony also awarded Maurice the Maxine Swalin Award for Outstanding Music Educator.