County music teacher among quarterfinalists for national award

PIEDMONT – A Canadian County music teacher is one of 197 teachers across the nation who has been named quarterfinalists for a national award.

Julie Ely, who teaches at Stone Ridge Elementary in Piedmont, is nominated for the Music Educator Award presented by the Recording Academy and the Grammy Museum.

The Music Educator Award was established to “recognize current educators from kindergarten through college who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools.”

The award is open to current and former music teachers, and anyone can nominate a teacher.

“I am very humbled and honored to be selected as a quarterfinalist,” said Ely, who has taught at the school for eight years.

Ely also taught for 11 years at Southwestern Christian University.

She was nominated by her former principal, Margaret McNair Dale, who retired at the end of the 2016 school year.

“She always wanted me to go for these type things,” Ely said.

The music teacher said she is proud of the work she does with the children.
“I love the students. We get to sing, dance and play every day,” she said.

And it’s not just music that her 556 students learn in class. They also incorporate the other core subjects.

“Music is so important to all of our lives,” Ely said.

Ely is one of five semifinalists for the award from Oklahoma. The others are Connie Coleman, Bixby High School; Michael Raiber, Oklahoma City University; Kathy Scherler, Oklahoma Baptist University; Ronald Stowell, Will Rogers Middle School in Miami.

Semifinalists will be announced in September.

The winner will be flown to New York to attend the 60th annual Grammy Awards and a range of Grammy Week events. Nine additional finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium , and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants.

“I am excited, but I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high. I would like to be in the finals or even win, but we will wait and see,” she said.

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