Andrew Glenn

Andrew Glenn said his family influenced his decision to be a music teacher.

A Desert Vista High School grad is one of two Arizona teachers  among the 216 quarterfinalists for the Grammys’ Music Educator Award. Andrew Glenn is among the nearly 2,000 teachers who were nominated. 

The semifinalists will be announced in September.

Glenn is entering his sixth year as music teacher at Estrella Foothills High School in Goodyear. He strives to engage every student with music. 

“I want them to enjoy music in a way that is enjoyable and applicable to them,” said Glenn, who now lives in Goodyear. “I don’t want to force them to learn what I did or what I find enjoyable in music. It’s not necessarily the same for everyone. 

“If everyone walks away with an understanding for what they like in terms of music, I’ve done my job.”

Glenn said his family influenced him to become a music teacher. 

“My mom was a special education teacher before I was born,” he said. “I’m the oldest of three boys. My grandmother was a Spanish teacher. My uncle was and still is a middle school band teacher. It was something that was always around. 

“My junior year of high school I had an epiphany. I wanted other people to enjoy music like I did. I thought about what way I could effectively do that. I thought maybe becoming a music teacher would be the best route.”

A graduate of Desert Vista and Arizona State University, Glenn has been nominated four times, but this is the first time he reached the semifinals. 

“I’m not sure what changed this year,” he said. “I talked about the program at Estrella Foothills. My first year, there were nine students in the band side. Now on the band side, there will be 45 students this coming fall. In about six short years, I’ve worked to expand that. It’s really because of community engagement.”

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. 

The honor is a joint partnership and presentation of the Recording Academy and Grammy Museum. The recipient will be recognized during Grammy Week 2021. 

The award is open to current U.S. music teachers, and anyone can nominate a teacher – students, parents, friends, colleagues, community members, school deans and administrators.

Teachers are also able to nominate themselves, and nominated teachers are notified and invited to fill out an application.

Each year, one recipient is selected from 10 finalists and recognized for their remarkable impact on students’ lives. The eighth annual honoree will be flown to Los Angeles to attend the 63rd annual Grammy Awards and a range of Grammy Week events. 

The nine additional finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants.

Fifteen semifinalists will receive a $500 honorarium with matching school grants. The matching grants provided to the schools are made possible by the generosity and support of the Grammy Museum’s Education Champion Ford Motor Company Fund. 

In addition, the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, NAMM Foundation and National Education Association support this program through outreach to their constituencies.

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