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Ironwood native a semifinalist for Grammy educator award


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IRONWOOD NATIVE Ken Wiele, center, director of bands at Indian Trail High School and Academy in Kenosha, Wis., poses with his students during a concert. Wiele is a semifinalist for the Music Educator Award, to be given during the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in January 2014.

KENOSHA, Wis. — Ken Wiele, formerly of Ironwood, Mich., is a semifinalist in a competition for music educators to be honored at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in January 2014.

Wiele, director of bands at Indian Trail High School and Academy in Kenosha, has been nominated for the “Music Educator Award,” a joint effort of The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation.

He has taught music in the Kenosha Unified School District for more than 30 years.

The award, being offered for the first time, was established to recognize educators from kindergarten to college who have made significant and lasting contributions to music education, the Kenosha News reported.

Wiele was nominated by a parent and a colleague. He is one of 217 music teachers in the semifinal round. More than 30,000 nominations were submitted across the country.

“First of all, I was just really flattered that colleagues and parents would think of me in that way,” Wiele told the Kenosha News. “It’s been a really humbling experience.”

Wiele is the son of Margaurite and the late Ken Wiele Sr., of Ironwood. His wife, Karen, is the daughter of Steve and Karen Thomas, also of Ironwood. Ken and Karen have two sons, Ken and Jacob, who have both graduated with degrees in music performance and education from Lawrence University in Appleton.

Wiele told the Kenosha News he is proud to have the chance to work with and help kids. “It’s always amazing to see the influence of music and music education, the way they progress and ... how it affects their lives. Music is an extremely powerful way for kids to learn great lessons about life.”

The next round requires submissions of additional videos and statements of support for the nominees’ efforts in teaching students and their values of music education.

Ten finalists will be selected and Wiele said he should know by August if he is one of them. One recipient will be chosen from the 10 to be honored with the award.

The winner will be flown to Los Angeles to accept the award, attend the Grammys and receive a $10,000 honorarium.

The nine other finalists will each receive a $1,000 honorarium and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants.


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