Cedar Hill ISD Fine Arts Director Selected as Grammy Music Educator Quarterfinalist

For the second time in a decade, Derrick Walker was nominated for the Grammy Music Educator Award.

Walker, who was promoted to Cedar Hill ISD Fine Arts Director in February, was first nominated in 2012 when he was a band director in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

This time, Walker was selected among 219 Quarterfinalists, each of whom will receive $500 along with a matching grant to their school.

“Just to be mentioned is a huge deal,” Walker said. “The last thing you’re thinking about is winning a Grammy.”

Fifteen semi finalists will be announced in September, with each receiving a $1,000 prize and a matching grant for the school.

The winner will travel to the 64th Annual Grammy Awards on January 31, 2022 in Los Angeles – with a $10,000 prize.

“Mr. Walker has been the heartbeat for the Red Army Band,” Cedar Hill High School Principal Jason Miller said. “This nomination is recognition of his tireless efforts with scholars, families and the Cedar Hill Community. We are honored to serve with Mr. Walker.”

Walker said he isn’t sure who nominated last December. It could have been a current or former scholar, a colleague, parent or community member. There were approximately 2,000 nominations.

Walker completed the application, which included videos of him teaching as well as his philosophy on teaching. 

After submitting the application, he didn’t think much about it, until this week when he learned that he’d been selected as a quarterfinalist.

He’ll have to submit additional responses and teaching videos, in an effort to become one of the semifinalists.

Walker, 43, has worked as a music/band educator for 20 years.  He is one of only three Fine Arts Directors in Texas who also teaches classes.

“I love working as an administrator, but I love teaching even more,” Walker said.

In addition to his position with the district, Walker is also a CHISD parent.