Music Educator Awards

For more than 75 years, the North Carolina Symphony has worked hand-in-hand with statewide music educators. Working together, each year we reach more than 100,000 students across North Carolina and beyond with music programming.

The North Carolina Symphony’s annual Music Educator Awards recognize outstanding teachers who make meaningful connections between students’ personal and musical lives; inspire students of all abilities and backgrounds to reach for appropriately high musical expectations and growth; serve the school community and larger community in an exemplary manner; and serve as a role model for music education. Honorees receive monetary awards that are generously funded by the Jennie H. Wallace Educator Award Fund.

The following awards are presented each year:

  • Maxine Swalin Award for Outstanding Music Educator ($1,000 Award)
  • Jackson Parkhurst Award for Special Achievement ($500 Award)
  • North Carolina Symphony Musicians Award (for teachers<10 Years’ Experience ($500 Award)

In addition to a monetary award, honorees also receive public recognition at a future NC Symphony concert, tickets to a 2023/24 Classical series concert of their choosing, a school visit from a NC Symphony musician and/or small ensemble; and complimentary registration to the 2023 NC Music Educators Association Conference.

Nominate a Teacher by February 28

  • To nominate a music educator in your school or community, complete the nomination form linked below. Nominations are due by Tuesday, February 28, 2023. Nominators and nominees will receive two (2) complimentary tickets to a North Carolina Symphony Classical series concert this spring.
  • Nominated teachers will be contacted separately to provide two supporting recommendations, as well as a portfolio that supports their nomination and exemplifies the award guidelines.”

For more information, contact Jason Spencer at or 919.789.5461.

Previous Honorees: 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017

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 Maurice2022 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 Regan2022 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 Salamanca2022 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.