Centerport resident Elaine Gates, who has been teaching for more than six decades, and Huntingtons Danielle McRoy are among 217 quarterfinalists selected from a field of more than 30,000 nominees from 45 states. Both are adjunct professors at LIU Post.
This is a wonderful testament to the work these individuals do daily, said Noel Zahler, dean of LIU Posts School of Visual and Performing Arts.
Gates has been an adjunct at LIU Post for the past 12 years and teaches Introduction to Music Education and the graduate Elementary Music Education classes. She oversees music education student teachers and conducts children's choruses at LIU Posts Performing Arts Academy Summer Camp. She was also an educator for 44 years at the Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts in Wheatley Heights.
Dale Lewis, executive director for the Usdan Center, said Gates was one of the programs first instructors in the inaugural class of 1968. At the same time, she was a vocal music teacher in the Huntington School District and later, the coordinator of elementary music education.
Aside from her musical talents she is primarily a vocalist her success, Lewis said, is a credit to the enchanting effect she has on children.
She is something of a pied piper. Children are very responsive to her energy and her love of music, Lewis said. Shes vivacious and energetic and engaged in every aspect of music education. That kind of enthusiasm is really infectious.
For Gates, education is a family affair. Her daughter, Michelle Marino, is the principal of the Southdown Primary School and formerly headed the Discovery program, a choir for 6- and 7-year-olds. Her granddaughter, Megan Marino, is the assistant director of Discovery, and her sister, Amanda Marino, is an Usdan educator.
Meanwhile, McRoy is up for the same Grammy acclaim. She is the choral director at Half Hollow Hills High School East, where she directs the Womens Choir, Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, and Vocal Jazz Ensemble. A Hills West graduate, she grew up playing the piano but also sang through school. When she studied for her bachelors degree at SUNY Geneseo, she declared a vocal performance major.
Shes very passionate about what she does she communicates well with her students and she knows her pedagogy extremely well, said Sal Randazzo, Half Hollow Hills director of fine arts.
Since 1999, McRoy has served as an adjunct professor of voice and music education at LIU Post, where she earned her graduate degree in education. She has also served as Music Department chairperson, as director of choral activities at The Mary Louis Academy, and as a teaching assistant at the Teachers College of Columbia University, where she earned her doctorate.
After I started teaching public school, I really understood that in order to be a terrific teacher I had to be a lifelong learner, so I decided to go back and do a doctorate in music education and do some research in that field so I could be the best teacher that I could be, she said.
That philosophy dovetails with the rubric for the Grammy award. Eligible nominees include current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and demonstrate a commitment to maintaining music education in schools.
Ten finalists will be selected, including one winner, who will be flown to Los Angeles to attend the Grammy Awards ceremony. The winner receives a $10,000 honorarium. All other finalists will receive $1,000.
Semifinalists will be announced in August. For more information, visit www.grammymusicteacher.com.