Ann Arbor teacher named semifinalist in running for national Music Educator Award

Award is presented by Recording Academy, GRAMMY Museum

Thurston Elementary School music teacher Yael Rothfeld. Photo courtesy of Yael Rothfeld. (Yael Rothfeld)

ANN ARBOR – Longtime music teacher at Thurston Elementary, Yael Rothfeld, has been named a semifinalist in the run for the GRAMMY Museum and Recording Academy’s 2022 Music Educator Award.

After being named a quarterfinalist in July, Rothfeld has been selected as a semifinalist among a group of 25 teachers from 16 states. The GRAMMY Museum and Recording Academy have narrowed down their top selection after receiving more than 1,135 nominations for educators across 49 states.

Rothfeld, the only educator from Michigan to make it into the semifinals, said she was “a little shell-shocked” when she found out about being named a quarterfinalist earlier this summer.

“I was just really honored and, especially after this difficult year with COVID, I feel like it was a nice acknowledgment that all of the hard work I am doing is being seen,” she told A4 in July.

According to a news release, the Music Educator Award “recognizes current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the music education field and demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools.”

One recipient is chosen from 10 finalists each year. The top prize is a $10,000 honorarium and matching grant for the music program at the winner’s school. Additionally, the nine remaining finalists each receive an honorarium and matching grants worth $1,000, and the remaining 15 semifinalists receive an honorarium with matching school grants worth $500.

Ford Motor Company Fund, the GRAMMY Museum’s Education Champion, funds the matching grants each year.

The finalists for the 2022 Music Educator Award will be announced in December. For more information, visit

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.