Teacher of the Year
Nominations now open for the 
2020 NCMTA Teacher of the Year Award!  

Important message from Dr. Kerry Carlin, Planning Senate Chair:


Nominations are now open for the 2020 NCMTA Teacher of the Year Award.  You may nominate one member of NCMTA for this prestigious award. Send the name of your nominee, along with a paragraph in support of the nomination, to Kerry Carlin (carlink@ecu.edu), NCMTA Planning Senate Chair.


Deadline for nominations: Monday, September 28, 2020 at midnight.   


The supporting paragraph should include as much of the following information as possible about the nominee:  

  1. Years of teaching experience (approximation is acceptable) 
  2. Teaching/Professional achievements, including evidence of student success 
  3. Service at local, state and national levels 
  4. Community involvement.


The winner of the 2020 NCMTA Teacher of the Year Award will be announced at the 2020 NCMTA Virtual Fall Conference in October. 


Thank you for participating in this important process, and I look forward to receiving your nominations!

HISTORY: The NCMTA Teacher of the Year Award program was established in 2008. This award recognizes a teacher who makes a significant difference in the lives of students, contributes to the advancement of music in a community, and is an outstanding example of a music educator.  Teachers, who are recipients of this annual award, automatically have their names submitted as the NCMTA nominee for the MTNA Teacher of the Year Award.

Any NCMTA member may nominate another member for the NCMTA Teacher of the Year Award. The application form is found by clicking on “Teacher of the Year Application” at the bottom of this page.


The application form contains the criteria by which the award winner is chosen. The submission deadline for the completed application and all supporting documents (letters) is 30 days before the Fall NCMTA State Conference.  The completed application is submitted online. All supporting documents (letters) should be sent to Paul Stewart, pbstewar@uncg.edu, chair of the Senate Planning Committee, and coordinator of the teacher of the year selection committee. Traditionally, the nominee assists with the compilation of the application.


North Carolina’s first Teacher of the Year Award recipient (Marie Burnette, NCTM) was also the recipient of the MTNA Teacher of the Year Award in 2009.

NCMTA Teacher of the Year Recipients:
2019 Anne Scoggin

Anne Scoggin’s reputation and professional contributions as a dynamic outstanding Raleigh area piano teacher span a long and generous career. Few in our state can match her record of productive and professional longevity.


Anne Scoggin’s students of all ages consistently achieved high scores and superior ratings in local and state contests and festivals. Her 50+ year teaching career is notable for her competence in teaching students of all levels, from beginners of all ages to college-bound piano majors. 

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2018 Kerry Carlin

Kerry Carlin studied at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music (BM), the Vienna Hochschule fur Musik, and Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music (MM, DME). His piano teachers included Jorge Bolet, Gyorgy Sebok, Robert Goldsand, John Ogdon, and Marion Hall. He received the Certificate in Piano Pedagogy from The New School for Music Study in Princeton, NJ, where he studied under eminent piano pedagogues Frances Clark and Louise Goss, and Permanent Professional Certification from the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA).

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2017 Diane Blanchard

Diane Houghton Blanchard, NCTM, has maintained a large, highly successful private piano studio in NC since 1995, and has served on the faculty of the Raleigh Conservatory of Music. Ms. Blanchard holds a Bachelor of Music degree (Summa cum laude), with a concentration in piano pedagogy, from Meredith College, and the MTNA Permanent Professional Certification designation.

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2016 Constance Kotis

Constance Hughes Kotis, a native of Lynchburg, Virginia, earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Music Education and a Master’s degree in Piano Accompanying in 1977.  She studied piano performance with Daniel Ericourt and George Kiorpes at UNCG.  Connie has long been recognized for her work in the field of piano pedagogy and her students have excelled in local, state and national competitions. 

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2015 Margaret Louise Norwood, NCTM


Number of Years Teaching: 35


Teaching/Professional Achievement:

Active recitalist, collaborative pianist, clinician, visiting lecturer in piano, and adjudicator
Nationally Certified Teacher of Music in Piano, Music Teachers National Association
Master of Music Degree in Piano – University of Southern California
Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano – University of Montevallo
Postgraduate studies include the Academy of Music in Sion, Switzerland, and the Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford
Coaching with Walter Hautzig, John O’Conor, Sheila Paige, Clifton Matthews 

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                                           2014 no award was given

2013 Liz LaBelle


Bachelor of Music in Music Education, Crane School of Music, State University of New York at Potsdam, 1973

Performers Certificate in Voice, Crane School of Music, 1974

Graduate Study, Crane School of Music, 1973-1974

Voice training in Los Angeles:  Dr. Maurice Allard, Jack Metz, Carlos Noble, Martin Katz, 1976-1981

Graduate Study, University of New Hampshire, 1996

Awards, Fellowships, Grants

Sigma Alpha Iota, Scholarship Award, Crane School of Music, 1973

Permanent National Certification in Voice, MTNA

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2012 Diane Higgins


  • Salem College, Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance
  • Studied Piano under Dean Clemmons Sandresky
  • Studied Composition/Theory for 4 years under composer Margaret Vardell Sandresky
  • Studied Piano Pedagogy under Margaret Mueller
  • Received a scholarship to play violin with the Winston-Salem Symphony (4 years)



  • MTNA Permanent National Certification

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2011 Paul Stewart

Teaching/professional achievements –

Number of years teaching experience equals Fifty- one years as an Independent piano teacher, University group piano Professor, Piano Pedagogy Professor and Professor of Piano Performance Studies.



1985       D.M., Florida State University

1970       M.M., University of Illinois

1965       B.M., Indiana University

1965       B.M.E., Indiana University

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2010 Barbara Furr

A.  Teaching/professional achievements and number of years teaching experience:

         1.  Certified by MTNA (College Teaching Certification)

         2.  Thirty-five years teaching experience, both at the University level and as a private studio


B.   Evidence of teaching excellence (i.e. students’ successes):

         1.  A three-time MTNA state winner and Southern Division Alternate

         2.  Four MTNA state honorable mention winners

         3.  A five-time winner of the Old Dominion University (Virginia) Classical Piano Competition

         4.  A winner of two Eastern Music Festival Competitions (Summer 2010), resulting in

              a performance at the Kennedy Center in D.C. and a performance with the Eastern Music

              Festival Orchestra

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2009 John Ruggero

John Ruggero has had a multi-faceted career in music as a pianist, composer, teacher and writer. As a teacher, he has specialized in helping serous pianists solve the technical problems that impede free musical expression. His book A Path to Piano Mastery explains his innovative approach to piano technique.
The son of a professional musician and teacher, John moved from New York City to Raleigh in 1953. He received his B.A. (Phi Beta Kappa) from Duke University, studying with Loren Withers and Iain Hamilton. While at Duke, he appeared as soloist with the Triangle and Duke Symphonies and was the state winner of the MTNA Collegiate Piano Competition. He received his M.S. in Piano Performance from the Juilliard School as a scholarship student of Erwin Freundlich. After graduating from Juilliard, he worked with Arnold Arnstein, music editor and copyist for Copland, Bernstein, Corigliano, Ginestera and others.
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2008 Marie Burnette, NCTM

Marie Burnette was the first recipient of the 2008 Teacher of the Year Award from the North Carolina Music Teachers Association.  She was chosen for the National Award in 2009 from all those selected as Music Teacher of the Year form their respective states.
Marie is an independent music teacher in High Point, NC.  She has taught piano and organ for 47 years.  She is certified by the NC Music Teachers Association and the Music Teachers National Association.  She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in piano, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organ, and a Master of music degree in Organ.  She has served as president of NCMTA, as national secretary of Music Teachers National Association, as national chair of the Independent Music Teachers Forum of MTNA, and as secretary-treasurer of MTNA Southern Division.
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