Music Educator Awards

Since our first concert for young people in 1941, the North Carolina Symphony has been committed to educating and inspiring the next generation of musicians and music lovers. Throughout the year, we work hand-in-hand with outstanding music educators who help carry out the Symphony’s programs in their schools and work every day to build their students’ musical skills and appreciation. Set in motion by Dr. Benjamin and Maxine Swalin, the Symphony’s music education program is now the most extensive of any symphony orchestra, engaging more than 150,000 students across North Carolina and beyond through our digital and in-person education programs.

The North Carolina Symphony’s annual Music Educator Awards recognize outstanding teachers who make a lasting difference in the lives of students of all abilities and backgrounds; serve the community in an exemplary manner as a role model in music education; inspire students to reach high musical standards; and instill a love for music in children.

Honorees receive monetary awards that are generously funded by the Jennie H. Wallace Educator Award Fund.

Know a music educator in your community who should be recognized for their work?

For more information, contact Jason Spencer at jspencer@ncsymphony.org or 919.789.5461.

Previous Honorees: 2020/21 2019/20 2018/19 2017/18 2016/17

Maxine Swalin Award for Outstanding Music Educator

The Maxine Swalin Award for Outstanding Music Educator is named for Maxine Swalin who—together with her husband Dr. Benjamin Swalin, NCS music director from 1939-1972—raised funds to establish the Symphony’s children’s concert division in 1945.

 

Maxine Swalin Award honoree, Margaret Maurice2021/22 Honoree: Margaret Maurice

Margaret Maurice is a passionate public school music educator. Her career spans two decades: after teaching in Burlington, Vermont and Atlanta, Georgia, she now teaches in Charlotte, North Carolina. She shares her vision of “the arts for all” and arts integration with the core academic curriculum through her classroom teaching and mentorship of new teachers.

Ms. Maurice also enjoys facilitating professional development courses and presenting guest lectures for staff, teachers, students, families, and community members in accessible settings throughout the community. Her curricula and research explore the power of healing trauma by giving a voice to students in self-expression through music and the arts.

Ms. Maurice actively seeks connections with educators beyond her school. Through these, she promotes music integration, social justice, and equity work through the arts. Her willingness to make and build relationships while advocating for a deeper and richer experience for students embodies the goal of music education and arts education for all. Music brings people together, celebrates culture, and allows us to imagine a better world.

The Charlotte education community is stronger because of Ms. Maurice’s unique perspective and willingness to share it. She is Kodály certified, with a special concentration in children’s choir development, through InterMuse Academy at Brigham Young University; she studied choral conducting under Dr. Zsuzsánna Mindszenty. She also has a Master’s degree in piano pedagogy from Georgia State University. She lives in Charlotte with her partner, Dr. Vaughn Schmutz, and two young daughters.

Jackson Parkhurst Award for Special Achievement

The Jackson Parkhurst Award for Special Achievement is named for the Symphony’s former director of education in recognition of his longstanding service and commitment to young people in the state of North Carolina.

 

Jackson Parkhurst Award honoree, Meredith Regan2021/22 Honoree: Meredith Regan

Meredith Regan began her nineteenth year of service in 2021 as an elementary music educator in Davidson County Schools. She has taught hundreds of students at multiple schools throughout the district, with a compassionate and attentive approach to teaching elementary music. Her involvement in many school communities has given her the opportunity to see firsthand the power music has to change lives for the better. Ms. Regan currently shares the joy of music with the students at Denton and Southmont Elementary Schools.

Ms. Regan holds a Bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Meredith College and a Master’s degree in vocal performance from Appalachian State University, and has performed as a soloist and in many choral ensembles. She has served as a Lead Elementary Music teacher for Davidson County Schools and as Coordinator for the Davidson County Elementary All-County Chorus. She has been selected as Teacher of the Year at two different schools: Southwood Elementary and Southmont Elementary. Ms. Regan holds professional memberships in the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and the North Carolina Music Educators Association (NCMEA).

At the forefront of her teaching philosophy is the belief that everyone at their core desires to be valued and loved. Ms. Regan believes that music class is one of the best places for students to experience a sense of belonging. She hopes to inspire students to become the very best version of themselves.

Underpinning Ms. Regan’s music career is her amazing family. She is wife to Corey and mother to Emma, Olivia, Curry, and Charlie.

North Carolina Symphony Musicians Award

The North Carolina Symphony Musicians Award honors emerging music educators with fewer than 10 years of teaching experience. This award is named for the musicians of the North Carolina Symphony in appreciation of their contributions to the children and communities of North Carolina, and in recognition of the fact that each one of the musicians on our stage has been influenced by excellent music teachers.

 

North Carolina Symphony Musicians Award honoree, Pablo Salamanca2021/22 Honoree: Pablo Salamanca

Pablo Salamanca is a Latin-American exchange teacher from Chile. Since 2018, he has worked at Eastlawn Elementary School in Alamance County. He enjoys teaching and helping around the school and has committed since day one to grow as an educator, keeping an open mind to training, learning, and trying new things.

Mr. Salamanca started his music journey late, at age 17, when he grabbed the guitar for the first time and spent several years learning instruments and music theory. After working in Chile in diverse environments, he and his family continued their journey here in North Carolina. Sharing Latin-American culture with students has been incredibly rewarding.

Although it is not an easy task, Mr. Salamanca has demonstrated through hard work that he will not quit trying every day to connect with the community. He believes in emphasizing the connection between sports and music because collaboration is so important in both. To further this connection, he applied team-building strategies to his Basketball Club to promote good behavior at school, which has yielded immense progress.

Mr. Salamanca believes in collaboration, sacrifice, and positive thinking to achieve his goals, no matter how challenging the task.