Metro Schools music teacher receives Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award

Rita Black Rita Black, a music teacher at Eakin Elementary School, is one of 10 music teachers across the country to receive the 2017 Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award.

Awardees were identified and nominated in partnership with the National Association for Music Education and the VH1 Save the Music Foundation. They were selected in recognition of their innovative approaches to music education, their dedication to their urban communities and their desire to make a substantial difference in the lives of students and families.

“The Yale School of Music is continuing its tradition of recognizing exceptional music teachers working in schools across the United States,” YSM Associate Dean Michael Yaffe said in a press release. “This year, we’re focusing specifically on the leadership of educators in city schools, whose work is made more critical by a growing disparity in opportunities for music making in America’s cities.”

Black holds a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Central Oklahoma and has taught general music and choir for 13 years. In addition to being a music teacher, she also mentors pre-service teachers, directs theater and choir and presents workshops for educators.

She is a member of the National Association for Music Education and the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, having served as a committee co-chair in 2014. She is an adviser for music curriculum and serves as a peer reviewer for the Tennessee Fine Arts Growth Measures System. She is also a 2016 Teaching Fellow at Tennessee’s State Collaborative on Reforming Education, where she focused on education policy issues, and was named a Music Teacher of Excellence in 2016 by the Nashville Public Education Foundation and the Country Music Association Foundation.

Recipients of the 2017 Yale Distinguished Music Educator Awards were invited to New Haven to attend this year’s Symposium on Music in Schools, which focused on the role that music-making plays in America’s city schools.

Congratulations to Ms. Black on this impressive accomplishment!