Milwaukee teacher may be nominated for a Grammy award

Erica Breitbarth on shortlist for educator award
Posted at 9:19 PM, Dec 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-10 22:20:02-05

A Milwaukee teacher could be walking the red carpet at the 2017 Grammy Awards.

The Reagan High School choir director has been named a finalist for the prestigious Music Educator Award. This week, Erica Breitbarth found out her passion landed her on the shortlist for the award.

"It's a great honor, but I'm more excited that my students get that recognition because they spend day in and day out practicing,” she said.

Reagan senior Emmanual Rodriguez said his first reaction was pure joy.

"Holy moly, my teacher is getting nominated for a Grammy,” he said.

Rodriguez thanks Breitbarth for pushing him out of his comfort zone in the classroom.

"In my mind, I was like who else deserves this?,” said Rodriguez.

The process all started when Breitbarth was nominated by Reagan staff.  They put together video samples of teaching followed by a round of interviews.

"With friends, family, students, parents and community members,” Breitbarth added.

Breitbard said an 8-year uphill climb sets her apart.

“When I started there was no program here,” she said. "The principal said you should build a program so we started it from scratch.”

The music program has grown from 50 students to 400 since.

"I have never had a teacher who cares so much about her students,” said Rodriguez.

A sentiment that rings true throughout the school’s chamber choir. She made the cut from 290 quarter-finalists down to ten. If Breitbarth wins, she’ll have a night with the stars with a favorite already in mind.

"I'd love to meet Beyonce, that would be great,” she said.

Breitbarth will find out if she wins in late January. If she does, she’ll receive a $10,000 prize as well as another $10,000 for her program.

The Grammy Awards will be held February 12.