Jazz Educator of the Year Award
We are pleased to welcome nominations for the
John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year Award.
This award recognizes an outstanding jazz educator at an
elementary, middle school, or high school level
who represents the highest standards of teaching and whose results in the classroom
have brought distinction to an institution and their students.
ABOUT JOHN LAPORTA
The award originated in memory of the jazz education pioneer John LaPorta, who spent more than 30 years at Berklee, becoming one of the college’s most respected and influential educators. Passionate, opinionated, garrulous, witty, uncompromising as an artist, and an inspiring teacher, LaPorta revolutionized jazz education.
His influence at Berklee played a pivotal role in the earliest stage of formalized American jazz education—shaping the unique Berklee curriculum and influencing the artistic lives of thousands of students. As Richard Vacca wrote in the Troy Street Observers honoring John LaPorta, he commented, “At Berklee, LaPorta created and directed the Instrumental Performance Department, which was Berklee’s ‘reach your potential’ program. Said another faculty member of LaPorta’s achievement: ‘John knew how to take a bunch of kids who had music in them and go forward with that. That was a breakthrough for the school. John was magnificent with lower-level kids. He could get music out of three stones and a corn cob.’”
LaPorta composed, arranged, performed, and recorded with such jazz greats as Kenny Clarke, Miles Davis, Dizzie Gillespie, Woody Herman, Charles Mingus, Charlie Parker, Herb Pomeroy, Lester Young, and many others. He also performed with the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Leonard Bernstein.
Eligibility Criteria for the Educator of the Year Nominees
- A practicing music educator — currently advancing the artistic lives of students in the classroom
- Minimum of 5 years teaching experience (jazz context; elementary, middle, or high school setting)
- Demonstration of student-centered engagement
- Nominee represents the highest standards of jazz teaching, and results in the classroom have brought distinction to nominee’s institution and students
Nomination Deadline: September 30, 11:59 p.m. (EST)