Beloved Annandale High School Music Teacher Scoops Prestigious Educator GRAMMY
An Annandale High School music teacher, whose work with children with disabilities has drawn praise, is the winner of the 2024 GRAMMY Music Educator Award, announced on national television this morning. (2/1/24)
Orchestra Director Annie Ray, the 2023 Fairfax County Public Schools Outstanding Secondary School Teacher, will now travel to the star-studded ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 4, to officially receive the honor.
The announcement was made to the nation on CBS Mornings’ television show.
Many of Ray’s students and colleagues joined her parents, her husband Irving, and two young daughters, Eloise and Millie, at an early morning watch party at Annandale. There was a spontaneous eruption of cheers when Ray’s name was announced.
“It’s been a whirlwind experience!” she said. “I'm so thankful to all the people who have poured love into me to allow me to make music. I am honored to have been selected from a remarkable group of educators.”
She thanked her colleagues for their support and student Kevin Juramillo for inspiring Crescendo Orchestra, which serves students with severe developmental or intellectual disabilities.
“Most of all I want to thank my students to whom this award actually belongs,” she said. The love of making music has been our unity and community. Thank you all for allowing me to guide you in this, I am humbled to accept this award for you all.”
The prestigious annual award recognizes current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the music education field and who also demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in schools.
Ray was one of 10 finalists selected from more than 2,000 initial nominations submitted from. She will receive a $10,000 honorarium and matching grant for the school’s music program.
During her years at Annandale, Ray founded Crescendo Orchestra. In addition, she is a founder of the popular FCPS Parent Orchestra, where parents of music students have the opportunity to learn the same instrument as their child.
Principal Shawn DeRose, Superintendent Dr. Michelle C. Reid, Fairfax County School Board Mason District Representative Dr. Ricardy Anderson, Chief of Schools Geovanny Ponce, and Region 6 Area Superintendent Michelle Boyd were also present for the big moment.
Principal DeRose paid tribute. “Annie is known for her passion, skill, and belief that every student can achieve greatness,” he said. “Her impact and dedication has made a positive difference in the school community. She truly is an inspiration, and we are so proud of her.”
Dr. Reid added, “Annie is an exemplary Fairfax County Public School teacher; dedicated, compassionate, talented, and innovative. We are grateful to Annie for everything she does to inspire her students every day. This award could not have gone to a more deserving teacher.”
You can learn more about Ray’s extraordinary work by reading the FCPS feature, It's Never Too Late: Parent Orchestra Teaches New Skills and Brings Families Closer Together, and this Washington Post article.