Phillip Riggs of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, a 650-student public high school that serves only juniors and seniors, is the recipient of the third annual Music Educator Award presented by The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation, Grammy.org announced last week.
“I am truly honored and humbled,” the foundation quoted Mr Riggs as saying. “Most of my career has been about opening doors for others and working to enable students and fellow teachers to learn and to grow. 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.”
A total of 10 music teachers from 10 cities across eight states, including band director Brayer Teague at Downers Grove North High School in Chicago’s western suburbs, were selected in December 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.
Mr Riggs will be at the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards ceremony tonight in Los Angeles and will receive a $10,000 honorarium. 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. The nine other finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants.
A former student of his, who’s now a middle school band director in North Carolina, nominated him for the award. “I don’t really think he’s a teacher; I think he’s an inspirer,” CBS quoted her as saying about Mr Riggs. “He’s not just an inspiration, but he taught us to be inspirations. As a mother, as a wife, as a teacher, as a friend, it’s always about something bigger than myself.”
Mr Riggs has taught band and choir at various levels in North Carolina for the past 27 years and once received the Exceptional Contribution in Outreach Award from the University of North Carolina Board of Governors for his work with music programs throughout the state.
“Even when they’re completely tired and mentally they’re drained from all the academic work they’ve done,” CBS News quoted Mr Riggs as saying of his students, “you can still see in their eyes the fire of, I want to do this well.”
Mr Riggs is an active clinician throughout the US and China. His professional affiliations include the North Carolina Music Educators Association, the National Association for Music Education, the National Band Association, and the American School Band Directors Association.
- 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.