LEWIS CENTER — Olentangy Shanahan Middle School vocal music teacher Katie Silcott has been named a finalist for the 2022 Music Educator Award, the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum announced Tuesday.
According to organizers, the 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 schools.”
“I am so honored to be a finalist for this prestigious award,” Silcott said. “I have been blessed to teach choir for the past 20 years. It truly is the best job in the world and has been a heartwarming experience to reflect upon the thousands of students and families I have been lucky enough to work with. Music is one of the most accessible and inclusive subjects for people of all ages and abilities, and I love spreading that message every day.”
Open to current music teachers across the country, more than 1,100 nominations were submitted, including Silcott’s nomination, which came from her sixth grade students at Shanahan Middle School.
“It is the biggest honor to be nominated because I love what I do so much, every day working with all of these students,” Silcott said. “To be recognized on a national level, to advocate for music education, and to shine a light on what it can do for people of all ages is a great privilege.”
Silcott began her teaching career 20 years ago with the nearby Marysville Exempted Village School District. Since 2018, she has called Olentangy Schools home, teaching vocal music and directing the choir at Shanahan Middle School.
“Katie Silcott is incredibly deserving of this recognition,” Principal Josh McDaniels said. “She inspires students and staff with her kind spirit, positivity, and genuine love for music and teaching. Students take great pride in the music they create together and have opportunities to shine on stage and in our community — igniting a lifelong passion for music. Mrs. Silcott makes a powerful, lasting impact, and we are grateful to have her at Shanahan Middle School.”
To show their appreciation and to honor Silcott for being named a finalist for the Music Educator Award, Daniels and Assistant Principal Christina Zeller surprised Silcott in her classroom Wednesday afternoon with flowers. She was then led through the hallways of the school on a surprise “clap out.”
“Walking down the hall felt like the most beautiful dream/movie/music video where everywhere you looked were smiling, loving faces and supportive souls,” Silcott said. “I felt like I was floating!”
The winner of the 2022 Music Educator Award will be announced during GRAMMY week in January. Along with a $10,000 honorarium, the winner will also receive a matching grant for their school’s music program. The other nine finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium and a matching grant for their school.
“We are just now starting to dream of what we can add to our program (with the matching grant),” Silcott said. “We are already very fortunate, but no specifics yet.”