Recipient and Nine Finalists to Receive Cash Honorariums, with Generous Support and Resources Provided by the GRAMMY Foundation®'s Education Champions Converse, Disney Performing Arts, Ford Motor Company Fund, and Journeys

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Feb. 10, 2016) — Phillip Riggs of North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, N.C., has been announced as the recipient of the third annual Music Educator Award™ presented by The Recording Academy® and the GRAMMY Foundation®. A total of 10 music teachers from 10 cities across eight states were selected as finalists for the award. In total, more than 4,500 initial nominations were submitted from all 50 states.

The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators (kindergarten through college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. This special award will be presented at The Recording Academy's Special Merit Awards Ceremony (honoring recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustees Award and Technical GRAMMY® Award) in spring 2016.

"With the creation of this award, The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation are shining a spotlight on the positive and lifelong impact that music educators have on their students," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the GRAMMY Foundation and The Recording Academy. "So many GRAMMY-nominated and GRAMMY-winning artists share with me how a music teacher encouraged them early on, nurtured their talents and helped them realize that a professional career in music was an attainable goal. We are delighted to recognize Mr. Riggs for helping to usher in the next generation of GRAMMY-caliber talent."

"I am truly honored and humbled. Most of my career has been about opening doors for others and working to enable students and fellow teachers to learn and to grow," said Riggs. "My efforts to foster music education in North Carolina stand firmly on the shoulders of numerous students, parents, peers, and administrators in communities that value excellence in music. Music educators are fortunate to have The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation as steadfast supporters of music in all schools and it is exciting to have the opportunity to share the importance of music education throughout the country."

Riggs has taught band and choir at various levels in North Carolina for the past 27 years. Currently an instructor of music at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, he is a recipient of the Exceptional Contribution in Outreach Award presented annually by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors for his work with music programs throughout North Carolina. Prior to his tenure at NCSSM, Riggs was the fine arts coordinator at Reagan High School. He became the first faculty member inducted into the Reagan Hall of Fame.

Riggs is a past president of the North Carolina Bandmasters Association.  He served as chair of the North Carolina High School All-State Honors Band for eight years and served as chair of the Northwest District Band Directors Association.  During the summers of 2011 and 2012, Riggs served as coordinator of the NAfME National Wind Ensemble at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.  He has served North Carolina Music Educators Association as technology chair and founding chair of the NCMEA mentor committee.  Riggs is an active clinician and adjudicator throughout the United States and China. His professional affiliations include NCMEA, NAfME, National Band Association, and American School Band Directors Association.

Each year, one Music Educator Award recipient is selected from 10 finalists and recognized for his/her remarkable impact on students' lives. Riggs will be flown to Los Angeles to attend the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards® ceremony and will receive a $10,000 honorarium. The nine other finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists also will receive matching grants. The honorariums and grants provided to the finalists and schools are made possible by the generosity and support of the GRAMMY Foundation's Education Champions Converse, Disney Performing Arts, Ford Motor Company Fund, and Journeys.

A complete list of the winner and finalists is below. Applications for the fourth annual Music Educator Award are currently online; to nominate a teacher, visit The nomination deadline for the 2017 Music Educator Award is March 15, 2016, while the teacher application deadline is March 31, 2016. The application process will be adjusted each year to allow the broad array of effective teaching styles and methods used in the discipline to be recognized and awarded. 

Recipient Last Name School City State
Phillip  Riggs  North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics  Durham N.C.
First Name Last Name School City State
Bonnie Anderson Coronado Village Elementary School  Universal City  Texas
Krista  Fanning  Caddo Middle Magnet  Shreveport  La.
Anne  Fennell  Mission Vista High School  Oceanside  Calif. 
Frank  Gawle  Wilton High School  Wilton  Conn. 
Keith  Hancock  Tesoro High School  Rancho Santa Margarita  Calif.
Penelope  Quesada  Lincoln Elementary School  Louisville  Ky.
Bill  Swick  Las Vegas Academy of the Arts  Las Vegas  Nev.
Brayer  Teague  Downers Grove North High School  Downers Grove  Ill.
Lois  Wiggins  Edythe J. Hayes Middle School  Lexington  Ky.

Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Academy, please visit For breaking news and exclusive content, follow @TheGRAMMYs on Twitter, "like" The GRAMMYs on Facebook, and join The GRAMMYs' social communities on Foursquare, GetGlue, Google +, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and YouTube.

The GRAMMY Foundation was established in 1988 to cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture. The Foundation accomplishes this mission through programs and activities that engage the music industry and cultural community as well as the general public. The Foundation works in partnership year-round with its founder, The Recording Academy, to bring national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education and the urgency of preserving our rich cultural heritage. In recognition of the significant role of teachers in shaping their students' musical experiences, The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation partnered to present their first Music Educator Award in 2014. Open to current U.S. music teachers in kindergarten through college, the third annual Music Educator Award will be recognized during GRAMMY Week 2016. For more information about the Music Educator Award, please visit For more information about the Foundation, please visit For breaking news and exclusive content, please like "GRAMMY in the Schools®" on Facebook, follow the GRAMMY Foundation on Twitter (@GRAMMYFdn) and join us on Instagram (@GRAMMYFdn).

Converse Inc., based in Boston, Massachusetts, is a wholly owned subsidiary of NIKE, Inc. Established in 1908, the Converse brand has built a reputation as “America’s Original Sports Company”™ and has been associated with a rich heritage of legendary shoes such as the Chuck Taylor® All Star® shoe, the Jack Purcell® shoe and the One Star® shoe. Today, Converse offers a diverse portfolio including lifestyle men's, women's and children’s footwear, apparel and accessories and is sold globally by retailers in over 160 countries. For more information, visit and follow @converse.

Disney Performing Arts unlocks student potential and helps young people make their own dreams come true — whether it's performing in front of an international audience of thousands at Disney theme parks and resorts or honing their craft in enriching workshops and clinics taught by entertainment professionals. Every year, thousands of vocal, instrumental, and other ensembles travel from around the world to participate in Disney Performing Arts programs at the Disneyland Resort in Southern California and the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Disney delivers workshops and performance opportunities that enrich, inspire and often lead to life-changing personal achievement. 

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community and global partners to advance driving safety, education and community life. Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 65 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. Ford Driving Skills for Life is free, interactive, hands-on safety training focused on skill development and driving techniques, while addressing inexperience, distractions and impaired driving. Innovation in education is encouraged through Ford Blue Oval Scholars, Ford Next Generation Learning and other inspiring programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. The Ford Volunteer Corps enlists more than 30,000 Ford employees and retirees each year to work on local projects that strengthen their communities and improve people's lives in more than 40 countries around the world. For more information, visit

Drive 4 UR School was developed as a fun, efficient way to help high schools raise money to support their sports and extracurricular activities while engaging with Ford vehicles. Ford dealerships partner with a local high school to conduct a test-drive fundraising event. For every valid test-drive completed, Ford Motor Company donates $20 to the participating high school, up to $6,000. Since 2007, Ford has donated nearly $25 million to high schools nationwide.

Journeys is a leader in the teen specialty retail scene, with more than 800 stores in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. Journeys uses fashion savvy and merchandising science to keep in step with the fast-paced footwear and accessories market for 13- to 22-year-old guys and girls. Journeys offers a wide variety of trendy, relevant brands that cater to teens that seek the hottest, new styles. However, the Journeys store is more than a retail environment — it's an extension of the teen lifestyle. From the plasma TVs playing exclusive content and the latest music videos, to the visual merchandising strategy and promotions, to the employees whose image and style reflect the customers' lifestyle and attitude. In addition to retail stores, Journeys reaches its customers through catalogs, social media, and grass-roots events like the Warped Tour, Alternative Press Music Awards and national club-level music tours in the spring and fall seasons. Journeys — An Attitude You Can Wear! Journeys is a division of Genesco Inc.

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Media Contacts:

Hannah Berryman/GRAMMY Foundation/MusiCares/310.392.3777/

Christina Cassidy/GRAMMY Foundation/310.581.8670/


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