By JONATHAN ZWEYGARDT
Victoria’s K-12 music teacher is one of almost 200 from across the U.S. up for a Grammy Award.
The Recording Academy and the Grammy Museum announced this week that Luke Johnson was one of 197 music teachers from 187 cities across 45 states and Washington D.C. that are quarterfinalists for the Music Educator Award.
The award was created as a way to recognize current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education.
Johnson, who is in his second year at Victoria, was the only Kansas teacher among the quarterfinalists said he was excited when he found out he had been nominated. He said the recognition is a great reflection of the Victoria school district.
“My kids are just phenomenal,” Johnson said “They work so hard, not just in music but across the board in sports and academics.”
Anyone can nominate a teacher but Johnson said he did not know who nominated him. The 15 semifinalists will receive a $500 honorarium with matching school grants.
“I don’t know what the odds (of winning) are,” said Johnson “With the way funding is for education, we could use it.”
Johnson, a Fort Hays State Graduate, was notified in the spring that he was a quarterfinalist for the award which allowed his to get started on creating the three videos to submit for the next round.
The three submissions feature Johnson teaching in the classroom, student testimonials and a video of Johnson talking about his work.
Johnson said because he teaches every grade level everyday it was difficult to pick which class to highlight for his teaching video but he chose his second-grade students.
“Because they know their note names and can count rhythms,” Johnson “They’re pretty much music literate already.”
“That’s the exciting thing I like, I want all my kids to be able to read music by the time they leave grade school.”
Among the 187 quarterfinalists are instructors at elementary schools, high schools and colleges and Johnson said the list is pretty impressive.
He said of the names that stood out to him was Robert W. Smith, a world renowned composer and producer and Instructor at Troy University.
“I own a lot of his music in my library, so to see his name was just awesome” said Johnson.
The 10 finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants.
The fifth annual honoree will attend the 60th Annual Grammy Awards and Grammy Week events in New York City.