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BHS/NAfME Music Educator of the Year Award

Honoring exceptional music educators

The BHS/NAfME Music Educator of the Year award recognizes excellence in teaching, performing, and the lifelong impact music teachers make on young singers.

In partnership and collaboration with the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the Barbershop Harmony Society presents an annual award to honor educators who give students the opportunity to learn and participate in the joy and power that music brings in uplifting the human spirit and fostering the well-being of society.

Past recipients include:

  • Dr. Kim Watters of Gordon Central High School, Calhoun, Georgia (2023)
  • Katy Dane of Benold Middle School, Georgetown, TX (2022)
  • John Wernega of Quinton Township School, Quinton, New Jersey (2021)
  • Dr. Misty Martinez of Cocoa High School, Cocoa, Florida (2020)
  • Lori Lyford of Chandler High School in Chandler, Arizona (2019)
  • Debbie Cleveland of Gaither High School in Tampa, Florida (2018)
  • Heather Nail of Valley Southwoods Freshman High School, West Des Moines, Iowa (2017)

Nominate a deserving music educator


  • Recipient must be a music educator and member in good standing of NAfME
  • Recipient must be a member in good standing of the Barbershop Harmony Society
  • Recipient must demonstrate the highest values of professionalism, commitment, cooperation, and inspiration in instilling the virtues of lifelong singing, teamwork, and joy in the creation of vocal harmony.


September 1- November 1 annually

All nominations for the 2024 Barbershop Harmony Society/NAfME Music Educator Award should be submitted by November 1, 2023. Nominations should discuss in depth the ways the nominee is making a difference in people’s lives, inspiring a lifelong love of vocal harmony, and uplifting communities. Anecdotes, videos, or testimonials from students or families affected are welcomed. Be thorough!

The selection committee carefully consider nominees each year. Many qualified nominees are expected, so please do not hesitate to update and resubmit the nominations of outstanding educators not previously honored. x

Contact for more information.

Nominations for 2023 have closed. Thanks for the thoughtful submissions received for this year!