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Stephen Richardson Named the 2024 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year

Press Release

March 25, 2024

MusiCounts is proud to announce Stephen Richardson from École St. Joseph School in Yellowknife, NT as the winner of the prestigious 2024 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, presented by Anthem Entertainment.

In his music program, Stephen engages students from kindergarten through to grade 12, incorporating music theory, concert band, choir, songwriting, music video creation, video game scoring, music production, rock band, piano, and African percussion. He also routinely collaborates with the Dene Elders in his community who facilitate Indigenous drum making sessions with students. Stephen listens to what his students are curious about, blends in the latest in brain-based research, and creates innovative and unique programming to align with student interests and needs. Stephen – an active performer and songwriter in his own rock band – is an advocate for bringing conversations about songwriting and the music industry into the classroom.

“MusiCounts is delighted to recognize Stephen Richardson with the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, presented by Anthem Entertainment,” said Kristy Fletcher, President of MusiCounts. “Stephen’s work highlights the link between the music classroom and the music industry, and he is instrumental in building and fostering a strong community of performers, professionals, and music enthusiasts in Yellowknife. Stephen is an inspiring and innovative educator, and we’re so excited to present him with this well-deserved award.”

Stephen was revealed as the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award winner on the 53rd Annual JUNO Awards live broadcast from the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, NS tonight. He is the first educator from the Northwest Territories to receive this award. He will receive a JUNO Award statuette, a $10,000 cash prize, a grant for École St. Joseph School through the MusiCounts School Music Funding Program, and grants made to additional schools in his honour.

“I am deeply honored and elated to be named the 2024 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year. Thank you to my family, to all the local musicians of both Yellowknife, NT and of my home province of Nova Scotia; musicians who continue to inspire me to be a better one. Thank you to my first music teachers and music engagers: my Mother and Father.

Most importantly, I wish to thank all my students past, present, and future at École St. Joseph School. Their love of music is the fuel that recharges my passion for teaching each and every day. I am also grateful for all of my supportive colleagues and administrators who share my core belief in the transformative power of music education for young learners

It was especially amazing to receive this award in my home province of Nova Scotia, particularly in the beautiful city of Halifax where I went to university and whose local music scene fostered my passion for a lifelong relationship in music.

Thank you to MusiCounts and Anthem Entertainment for recognizing teachers and celebrating music students with this important award,” said Stephen.

Stephen contributes to the profession by mentoring school staff and brings artists touring the North through to École St. Joseph School for performances, workshops, and Q&As. He mentors homeroom educators who are expected to deliver music programming to ensure that students are getting the best music education possible. Originally from Nova Scotia, Stephen pursued his postsecondary studies at Saint Mary’s University and Saint Francis Xavier University in Halifax. He’s studied inclusive practice, mindfulness, self regulation, and brain-based research to build the impact of his music pedagogy. Inclusivity figures prominently in his teaching; by using noise assist gear and apps, he draws pathways to success for neurodivergent students and kids with exceptionalities. Stephen was previously nominated for the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award in 2021, 2022, and 2023.

Each year since 2005, the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award has recognized and honoured an exceptional Canadian music teacher’s impact both on students at their school and the broader music education profession. The Award is made possible through the generous support of Anthem Entertainment.

“Great music teachers inspire our future artists, songwriters and music professionals. Anthem is thrilled to celebrate the impact of Stephen’s creative approach to music education and mentorship on his community, colleagues, and students,” said Jason Klein, CEO of Anthem Entertainment. “We thank Stephen for his dedication and congratulate him on this earned recognition.”

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