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Acciani Named Grammy Music Educator Award Semifinalist

On Feb. 8 2015, America will tune into the 57th Annual Grammy awards on CBS.

While the ceremony is held to present artists with the recording industry's most prestigious award, The Recording Academy and The Grammy Foundation will also honor one local hero.

For the second year, the organization will recognize a music educator who has "made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate[s] a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools."

Last year's winner Kent Knappenberger from the small town of Westfield, New York, shared how the award created a paradigm shift in his school.

"It's still impacting me and it's impacting my students," Knappenberger said.

And even though he received the award in February, he's still seeing the effects.

"There's a joke with me and my band director. Until they crown the next Miss America, you're going to be pretty busy," Knappenberger said.

This year, 7,000 nominations were submitted from all 50 states. The 25 semifinalists have been announced and come from 25 cities across 17 states.

All semifinalists will have the chance to earn $6,000 for their music department through the Ford Drive 4 UR School program.

Ten finalists will be announced in December and will be recognized for their impact on students.

The winner will be announced during Grammy week 2015 and will be flown to Los Angeles to accept the award and a $10,000 honorarium.

As exciting as the award is, Knappenberger said there's still more to be done.

"The national average of the kids we impact is 12 percent. We need to think differently how we can deliver our subject area to a broader population and a changing population," Knappenberger said.

Here, announcing for the first time, is the list of the 2015 Grammy Music Educator Award semifinalists:

Steven Acciani, Diamond Bar High School, Diamond Bar, California
Diane Abrahamian, Penfield High School, Penfield, New York
Phil Aguglia, Kenmore East High School, Tonawanda, New York
William Bennett, Cane Bay High School, Summerville, South Carolina
Jared Cassedy, Windham High School, Windham, New Hampshire
Caleb Chapman, Pioneer High School for the Performing Arts, American Fork, Utah
Josh Chodoroff, Highland Park High School, Highland Park, Illinois
Dr. Buddy Clements, Walnut High School, Walnut, California
Charles Cushinery, Ed W. Clark High School, Las Vegas, Nevada
David Dehner, Monte Vista Christian School, Watsonville, California
Jamal Dickerson, Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy, Camden, New Jersey
Terry Eberhardt, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, Maryland
Krista Fanning, Caddo Middle Magnet, Shreveport, Louisiana
Elizabeth Fortune, Washington Middle School, Seattle, Washington
Vivian Gonzalez, South Miami K-8 Center, Miami, Florida
Micah Haven, Meeker Middle School, Tacoma, Washington
Aaron Hill Sr., Smithfield High School, Smithfield, Virginia
Stevi Marks, Glenbrook South High School, Glenview, Illinois
Richard Maxwell, Arcadia High School, Phoenix, Arizona
Debra Reilly, Springhouse Middle School Allentown, Pennsylvania
Huber Smith, Maplewood Middle School, Sulphur, Louisiana
Michael Smith, Nyack High School, Upper Nyack, New York
James Story, Volunteer State Community College, Gallatin, Tennessee
Nancie Tobison, Barrington High School, Barrington, Illinois
Danny Yancey, Martin Gifted and Talented Magnet Middle School, Raleigh, North Carolina