A music teacher from the Santa Ana Unified School District was named one of 10 finalists nationwide for the 2018 Grammy Music Educator Award, presented by The Recording Academy and the Grammy Museum.
Victor de los Santos, director of bands for Santa Ana High School, was chosen out of more than 2,300 nominees from across the country for their significant and lasting contributions to their field.
As a finalist, de los Santos will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the school will receive a matching $1,000 grant. He’s also now eligible for the grand prize of $10,000 and a trip to the 60th Annual Grammy Awards in New York City.
“I’m really happy for Santa Ana High School and the district. And, I’m especially happy for our students who get to be proudly connected to Santa Ana,” de los Santos said.
At the campus, de los Santos not only serves as a music instructor, he’s also a mentor, and often a father figure to many of his students, fellow teachers have said. Since he began working at the school, the teacher has grown the music conservatory, and added a mariachi program.
“This is a great story for the kids more than for me. Santa Ana is a diamond in the rough, and to be recognized nationally shows what quality exists here in our students and our school.”
Dennis Cole, Orange County Department of Education’s director of humanities, often worked with de los Santos when Cole served as principal at Willard Intermediate in Santa Ana.
“When I first arrived at the school we had no music program. I called Victor to tell him my vision for a renewed music program and he came over with some of his students, cleaned the music room closets, sent instruments to be repaired, organized sheet music and gave me referrals for possible teachers,” Cole said.
“Together, we envisioned the Hope Alive concert series and connected with community partners. Today, Willard has a vibrant music program thanks to the help he offered me freely,” he said.
One of the 10 finalists will be presented with the Music Educator Award at a ceremony during Grammy Week. In addition, the winner will receive a $10,000 honorarium, and a $10,000 grant will go to their school.
The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators 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.
Applications are evaluated based on several criteria including: Making a measurable difference in students’ lives, making a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education, being exemplars of the best in the field, showing commitment to maintaining music education in schools, and making a significant impact on their school and community.
The Grammy’s Music Educator Award is supported by the NAMM Foundation and the National Association for Music Education. For more information on the award, click here.