MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award

Presented By The Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation

Award Overview

What: The MusiCounts Teacher of the Year (MTOY) Award presented by the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation, was established in 2005 to recognize and honour an exceptional Canadian music teacher each year. To date, this award has celebrated the accomplishments of fifteen music educators across Canada who strive to preserve the livelihood of music education in their school and community.

Who is eligible to be nominated: any Canadian music teacher who has applied for and received a MusiCounts Band Aid Program instrument grant on behalf of any school music program. This can be the nominee’s current school, or a school that they have taught at in the past.

Who can nominate a teacher: teachers are typically nominated by a colleague who is familiar with their teaching practice. This may include school administrators, parents, or other teachers. Teachers may not nominate themselves for this award.

When: Nominations open Thursday, , October 22, 2020 and will be available on this page. Nominations close December 3, 2020.

Key Attributes & Evaluation Criteria

The MusiCounts Teacher of the Year should possess the following key attributes:

  1. Passion. The MTOY should demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to teaching, and should have a demonstrated history of providing meaningful musical experiences for students.
  2. Advocacy. The MTOY should be a strong advocate for preserving quality music education in Canadian schools through fundraising, voicing their passion for music education on different committees and boards, etc.
  3. Experience. The MTOY’s teaching should reflect a prolonged dedication to music education and student impact.
  4. Inclusivity. The MTOY should ensure students of varying backgrounds and skill levels have the opportunity to learn, experience and appreciate music.
  5. Adaptability. The MTOY should have a proven track record of adapting and diversifying their teaching practices to keep up with changing student needs. The MTOY will also have established creative ways to maintain meaningful music education experiences for their students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  6. Recognition. The MTOY should have the support, respect and admiration of students, parents, administrators and colleagues. They should be regarded as a leader in their community and a mentor in their field.
  7. Inspirational. The MTOY should make tangible and positive differences in the lives of students, with the ability to motivate, challenge and encourage them to be more confident creators and appreciators of music.

Equity Priority Policy

MusiCounts is proud to support all music education practices and teachings in Canada. In MusiCounts’ 20+ year history of investing in music education, however, the majority of our resources have been allocated to music programs that reflect a Western colonial music education tradition. In an effort to promote equal access to music education, and to foster a more diverse and inclusive music education landscape in Canada, MusiCounts is committed to investing in music education programs that empower young people to celebrate their cultural identity, and celebrating music educators that help to facilitate this.

Nomination Process

Dianne Winmill – Teacher of the Year – Blue Rodeo PC: Barry Roden

Nominations Open

October 22, 2020
Alex Voros – 2009 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year

Nominations Due

December 3, 2020
Hugh Johnston – 2012 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year

Evaluation Period

Dec 2020 - Jan 2021
Steve Sainas – 2015 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year

Nominees Finalists Notified

Spring 2021

Prize Details

  • $ 10,000 cash donation to the recipient
  • Significant contribution to the recipient’s school music program
  • Recognition at the 2021 JUNO Awards
  • A spectacular solid crystal statuette based on the JUNO Award design created by Canadian glass artist, the late Shirley Elford

Award Process

  1. Nomination: anyone who is familiar with the nominee’s teaching may nominate a teacher for this award. Nominating a teacher will require the following:
    • Completion of an online nomination form that will ask basic questions about the nominee and their teaching background.
    • A letter of nomination that outlines why the nominee should receive this award.
    • 2-3 additional letters of support from others who are familiar with the nominees teaching (school administrators, colleagues, current/former students, etc)
  2. Initial adjudication: nomination packages will be assessed, and a shortlist of finalists will be determined.
  3. Finalist supplemental materials: MusiCounts will notify the finalists and request additional materials and information. This will include:
    • A resume/CV
    • Completion of a questionnaire that will ask the nominee to explain how their teaching aligns with the MTOY Key Attributes (see below)
    • A statement of teaching philosophy
  4. Final Adjudication: A national committee of music educators will assess the materials submitted by both the nominator and the nominee.
  5. Recipient & nominee notification

Eligibility Criteria

  • The nominee must have applied for and received a MusiCounts Band Aid Program instrument grant on behalf of any school music program. This can be the nominee’s current school, or a school that they have taught at in the past.
  • The nominee must be an active, full-time music teacher (not retired), with no less than 5 years experience teaching music.
  • The nominee must be a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant, residing and teaching in Canada.

Evaluation Criteria

The MTOY Award, bestowed by the MusiCounts Committee, is in recognition of a music teacher who:

  • Is a professional and outstanding music educator
  • demonstrates an extraordinary commitment towards children and teaching
  • has made a tangible and positive difference in students’ lives, with an ability to motivate, challenge and encourage them
  • inspires students to learn about and appreciate music
  • inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities
  • contributes to the advancement of music in his/her community
  • has the support, respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues
  • possesses the ability to generate excitement and enthusiasm for music within his/her school and/or community

Previous MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award Recipients

About The Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation

"The Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation has been dedicated to bringing higher education within reach for Canadian families for over 50 years," said Sherry MacDonald, President and CEO, Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation. "We believe that a music education can enrich the human experience and that our true heroes lie in those who inspire young Canadians to reach their dreams.  We are excited to be presenting this Award to two such heroes alongside MusiCounts at the JUNOs this year." 

In 1960, the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation (CSTF) was established as a non-profit, grassroots organization with one role, the advancement of education in Canada including carrying on charitable projects in the educational field and helping families save for their child’s post-secondary education.   For over 56 years we have focused on this mission and have been key enablers through our advocacy work of programs such as the Registered Education Savings Plan program, the Canada Learning Bond, the Canada Education Savings Grant, as well as the Saskatchewan Grant for Education Savings and the BC Training and Education Savings Grant among others.  Most recently, we developed a new community program called CST Inspired Minds® Learning Project. Since 2014, CST Inspired Minds® has provided $700,000 to support innovative learning programs in Canada.