MusiCounts Reveals National 2024 Teacher of the Year Award Nominees

February 6, 2024
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February 6, 2024

Toronto, ON – At today’s live JUNO Nominee Announcement, Canada's leading music education charity, MusiCounts revealed the nominees for the 2024 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, presented by Anthem Entertainment.

Since 2005, the annual MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award has recognized and celebrated the accomplishments of 18 music teachers across Canada, who strive to preserve the livelihood of music education in their schools and communities.

This year, the charity is proud to highlight five nominees from across the country:

  • Zeda Ali - Sunnyview Middle School, Brampton, ON
  • Robert Bailey - École Charlie Killam School, Camrose, AB
  • Élisabeth Bouchard-Bernier - École Des Explorateurs, Malartic, QC
  • Sarah Comerford - Macdonald Drive Junior High, St. John’s, NL
  • Stephen Richardson - École St. Joseph, Yellowknife, NT

Zeda Ali exemplifies inclusivity in the music room by ensuring students’ interests and cultures are reflected in the music they make. She introduced a steelpan program that empowers the significant population of Caribbean students to make music that reflects their heritage.

Robert Bailey has made a significant contribution to the music scene in his community throughout his 40+ year career by helping generations of young people get their start in concert and jazz band.

Élisabeth Bouchard-Bernier is a two-time MusiCounts Band Aid Grant recipient who has been a driving force in the use of music therapy techniques to benefit students’ emotional regulation and wellbeing.

Sarah Comerford is a music educator who leads by example and does it all. She runs six different ensembles at her school, plays in the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, and has elevated the Newfoundland and Labrador Band Association to a national level.

Stephen Richardson is a three-time MusiCounts Teacher of the Year nominee who celebrates the Northern music scene by preparing students for a lifetime of music using technology, songwriting, performance and production opportunities.

“Congratulations to the nominees for the 2024 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, presented by Anthem Entertainment! This award shines the spotlight on the important work done by music educators in schools across the country,” said Kristy Fletcher, President of MusiCounts. “We’re thrilled to highlight the exceptional impact these five educators have had on their communities, schools, and most of all students.”

One exceptional teacher will be chosen from the five nominees by an external committee of music education experts and announced as the MusiCounts Teacher of The Year Award winner on the 53rd Annual JUNO Awards live broadcast from the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, NS on March 24th. The recipient will receive a JUNO Award statuette, a $10,000 cash prize, a grant for their school through the MusiCounts School Music Funding Program, and grants made to additional schools in their honour.

For additional information on MusiCounts and the Teacher of the Year Award, presented by Anthem Entertainment, please visit

Full biographies for all of the nominees are available here, and images are available here.


About MusiCounts:

MusiCounts is Canada's music education charity associated with CARAS and the JUNO Awards. MusiCounts' vision is to ensure that all youth in Canada have access to music education through their schools and communities. This vision is realized through grant programs that invest directly into schools and communities across Canada that put musical instruments into the hands of kids who need them the most. Additionally, MusiCounts creates educational resources for teachers and students; empowers young people to pursue music as a career; and celebrates teachers, artists, and philanthropists who champion music education. Since 1997 MusiCounts has awarded over $18,000,000 in support of music education in Canada.

About Anthem Entertainment:

Anthem Entertainment is one of the world’s leading independent music companies. Comprised of award-winning organizations, Anthem Entertainment is home to Anthem Music Publishing, Anthem Records, and a production music division that encompasses Jingle Punks, 5 Alarm Music and Cavendish Music. Headquartered in Toronto, with operations in Nashville, New York, Los Angeles, and London, Anthem supports and invests in the careers and works of songwriters and artists, and the creation of exceptional music for recording artists and audio-visual productions. Anthem’s unique approach combines the resources, power, and reach of a major with the agility, entrepreneurism, and soul of an independent. Anthem’s subsidiary businesses include Compact Media, the leading film and television audio-visual secondary rights management company based in London.