Dr. Gene Hundley, SMS band director, has been selected as a quarterfinalist for the 2022 GRAMMY Music Educator Award.
As such, he is one 219 music teachers from 204 cities chosen for the award presented by the Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Museum. There were 2,000 nominees in total.
The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators (kindergarten through college, public and private schools) 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. A joint partnership and presentation of the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum, the recipient will be recognized during GRAMMY Week 2022.
The award is open to current U.S. music teachers, and each year, one recipient is selected from 10 finalists and recognized for his or her remarkable impact on students’ lives. The eighth annual honoree will be flown to Los Angeles to attend the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards and a range of GRAMMY Week events. Additional finalists will receive an honorarium with matching school grants.
“I am very humbled and honored to be considered for this award,” Dr. Hundley said. “It is very gratifying to work in a community where fine arts are supported by parents, administration, the superintendent, board of education, as well as the people in the community. Without their support, it would be impossible to build a program that could be recognized at this level.”
Scotty Hattaway, Emanuel County Schools Superintendent, commented with pride that an educator from the district was chosen for such an honor. He said, “We are thankful and honored for the accomplishment that Dr. Hundley has been recognized for. We appreciate Dr. Hundley’s passion for music and for educating our students. We also appreciate his efforts to provide exponential growth within our band program. Dr. Hundley has been in the business of educating students with the gift of music for several years. You don’t get selected as Teacher of the Year for your school and the system (twice) without being an exceptional educator. Congratulations on your well deserved recognition, Dr. Hundley!”
Dr. Willie Gibson, Swainsboro Middle School’s principal, echoed similar statements. He said, “This is indeed a great honor. I can’t think of a more deserving band director. Dr. Hundley’s dedication has to the students, SMS family, and community is truly appreciated. We are grateful to have him on our staff. We are all cheering for Dr. Hundley to win this prestigious award.”
Currently serving as band teacher for grades six through eight at Swainsboro Middle School, Dr. Hundley earned his B.S. and M.Ed. degrees in Music Education with an emphasis in piano and low brass from Georgia Southern University and his Ed.S. and Ph.D. in computer technology from Nova Southeastern University.
Dr. Hundley has been a member of the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) for 26 years and has served as district secretary, district chairman, and band chair. He also served on the GMEA State Board of Directors, the Band Council, the Large Group Performance Evaluation Music Selection, and All-State Committees. Dr. Hundley has been active as a clinician for GMEA honor bands as well as an adjudicator for large group performance evaluations. He has presented workshops to band directors and other educators on differentiation, data-based instruction, as well as the use of technology in music education and the use of Finale and Smartmusic as tools to enhance student achievement. Dr Hundley has held memberships in the PAGE, IEEE, ACM, Tau Beta Sigma, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity and was recently inducted into Phi Beta Mu, the honorary International Band Directors Fraternity. He was also selected as both the Swainsboro Middle School and the Emanuel County Teacher of the Year in 2012 and again in 2019.
Swainsboro Middle School’s band program has grown from three band classes and 65 students in 1996 to five band classes and 1 jazz band class with an average of 230 students. This is approximately one-third of the school’s student population enrolled in band. A wide range of performances are given each year, ranging from Christmas and spring concerts, Greenjackets baseball games, jazz band dinner theater, Christmas dinner theater, and community performances for local civic groups and churches. Additionally, SMS band students have had opportunities to perform in New York, New Orleans, Washington D.C., Nashville, The Blue Bird Café, The Grand Ole Opry, and Carnegie Hall. The SMS jazz band has won the statewide Junior Beta group talent competition two times and placed in the top three every other time they entered the competition. The SMS concert band is one of three bands in the district that has consistently received superior ratings at the GMEA Large Group Performance Evaluation and had students selected to the all-state band for the past several years. Despite the fact that almost none of the students are able to take private lessons due to lack of private instructors in the area, Emanuel has had one of the highest district-wide averages of students participating in solo and ensemble festivals, district honor bands, all-state bands, and the University of Georgia Honor Band for the past several years.