Upstate New York is home to inaugural Grammy’s 2014 Music Educator Award – Kent Knappenberger of Westfield Academy and Central School in Westfield, N.Y. was recently announced as the winner of this well deserved award. There were 30,000 nominees and 10 finalists for the award that recognizes teachers that 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. The schools of the 10 final nominees will receive a grant of $1,000 and the 9 finalist teachers will receive an equal honorarium, while Knappenberger will receive a $10,000 honorarium.
CBS This Morning reported the news on Tuesday morning and viewers had the opportunity to see why Mr. K (as his students call him) was the natural choice for this award. Knappenberger has been teaching 6th-12th grade Music for 25 years at Westfield Academy, he says, “for this art form there is this synergy that takes place.” Mr. K believes it is his job to find something musical in every child. Students and parents agree that he is no ordinary teacher – one student in the CBS interview said, “Mr. K makes you love music, even if you did previously, it just grows.”
When Knappenberger isn’t teaching music, he’s at home on his farm with his wife, 9 children and his farm animals. This educator surely fits the role of the type of individual many of us had in school, whom showed us the musical talent we held inside. That one life-changing teacher that brought us to embody the music that we live and breathe, in whatever capacity possible.
The deadline for nominating next year’s recipient is March 31st. If you know a music educator that you would like to nominate, applications are currently online at GRAMMYMusicTeacher.com.
Photo By: Derek Gee of the Buffalo News