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Two Forney ISD Teachers Honored by CMA Foundation as 2024 Music Teachers of Excellence

Graysen Reid


Corey Graves, Band Director at Jackson Middle School, and Cody Newman, Band Director at Forney High School, were chosen by the Country Music Association (CMA) Foundation as a 2024 Music Teachers of Excellence. Graves and Newman are two of only 40 educators to receive this award from across the nation.

“We are incredibly proud to have two outstanding educators representing Forney ISD this year,” said Mario Luna, Director of Fine Arts for Forney ISD. “Their dedication to our students and their passion for music makes a huge impact on our Forney Family. We are so proud of them for this amazing accomplishment.”

This is the second year in a row that Graves has received the Music Teacher of Excellence Award from the CMA Foundation. Graves is finishing his 16th year in education, and he has served as the Band Director at Jackson Middle School since 2021. Under his direction, bands have earned the highest levels of state and national recognition. His students have also consistently received superior sweepstakes ratings at UIL Concert and Sightreading Contests, are National Winners in the Foundation for Music Education National Wind Band Honors contest, performed at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Conference, and have been named the Texas Music Educators Association CC Honor Band.

Newman is finishing his 18th year in education and has served as the Forney High Band Director since 2020. Since accepting this position, the Forney Band has been UIL Area Marching champions three times, BOA marching championship finalists and finished 8th in the 2021 UIL State Marching Championship and 4th in 2023. The Forney High School Wind Ensemble most recently earned 5th place in the state in the 2023 TMEA Honor Band Competition and was announced as a National Winner in the Mark of Excellence National Wind Band Honors Project in 2023.  In 2021, Mr. Newman was named a Yamaha 40 Under 40 top educator in the country, an honor awarded to teachers under 40 who are impacting their communities through education.

Recipients of the Music Teacher of Excellence award are selected through an extensive application process, which includes teaching videos, professional references and community service work. Music Teachers of Excellence are selected based on their dedication to bringing a high-quality music education to their students and the impact they've had on their school community through music.

Graves and Newman are invited to attend the CMA Foundation’s Music Teachers of Excellence ceremony at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. Along with the recognition, each teacher will receive a $5,000 grant with half of the investment going toward their classroom needs and the other half for personal use. 

For more information about the Forney Independent School District, contact the Forney ISD Marketing and Communications Department at or by phone at 469-762-4100.