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Jackson MS Band Director, Corey Graves, Named Yamaha 40 Under 40

corey graves headshot

Jackson Middle School Director of Bands, Corey Graves, was named a 2023 Yamaha 40 Under 40 Music Educator. There were four directors from Texas announced on the list, but Graves is the only Middle School Director.

Yamaha launched the “40 Under 40” music education advocacy program in 2021 to celebrate and recognize outstanding music educators who are making a difference by growing and strengthening their music programs. Now, we celebrate the 2023 group of remarkable educators who triumphed before, during and after the pandemic to keep their programs thriving.  

These 40 educators — all under the age of 40 — showcase the following characteristics: action (offer innovation and imagination solutions in achieving plans and objectives), courage (propose and implement new or bold ideas), creativity (show innovation and imagination in achieving plans and objectives) and growth (establish, grow or improve music education in their schools and communities). 

We received hundreds of nominations from students, parents, other teachers and administrators, local instrument dealers and mentors. The selected “40 Under 40” educators have gone above and beyond to elevate music and music-making in their students’ lives — like Gabriella Burdette, who embraces the Afrocentric and gender-specific curriculum at Grace James Academy of Excellence; Rob Chilton, who created a music theory video series that makes reading music fun;  Jasmine M.T. Fripp, who weaves history, culture and issues of social justice into her general music program; Kylie Griffin, who is keeping the music, culture and language of south Louisiana alive in her classroom; and James Sepulvado, who has helped to create a premier summer camp that attracts top music students and musicians/clinicians, as well as a new professional development workshop for music educators.

All the “40 Under 40” educators have remarkable stories behind their teaching philosophies and methods. You’ll be inspired by all of them. 

Join us in applauding the 2023 class of “40 Under 40” educators.