APATA – The Australian Performing Arts Teachers Association

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GRAMMY’s Music Educator of 2020

Posted by Team APATA | Jan 31, 2020

With Australia’s own ARIA’s, Broadway’s TONY Awards and most recently the GRAMMY’s, handing out their annual educator awards, seeing a teacher under the spotlight for the incredible work they do within the realm of performing arts makes us realise we are on the right path! All of us who scratched on a violin, pulled on a tutu or who warbled our way through choir who have then subsequently gone on to have a creative career, understand the significance an inspirational educator can have in a young person’s life.

This January, the GRAMMY’s announced Mickey Smith Jr as the GRAMMY Music Educator for 2020. Since starting at Maplewood Middle School in Sulpher City, Louisiana 15 years ago,  the school band has grown from 26 students to 146 students. That’s half the school’s population participating in the school band under Mickey’s tutelage.

When Mickey was asked, Why he teaches when he could have had a career as a performer, Mr Smith replied, “Why not Teach?!” His ethos is simple, all a child wants is to be loved, valued and wanted.

“I entertain, engage and elevate my students to excellence through music!”, Mr Smith told a reporter backstage at the GRAMMY’s. “Kids don’t care about how much you know, until you show them how much you care!”

The GRAMMY winner has previously written an autobiographical children’s book called The Adventures of Little Mickey: Keep on Going, and performs actively while teaching. Congratulations Mickey Smith Jr, GRAMMY Music Educator for 2020.

Here at the Australian Performing Arts Teachers Association our APATA Awards aim to acknowledge the work of teachers, private educators, schools, programs and those who really make a difference. It is amazing to see teachers in the spotlight for the effort, thought and heart they put into each and every moment they spend with our kids!

We have 13 Award categories and one lucky winner will receive the Ultimate Broadway Teachers Workshop prize!  New York City could be yours! We couldn’t think of a better way to reward and inspire one of our worthy educators.


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