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A South Coast educator is short-listed for a prestigious national award

mckagan 1.jpeg
Caroline Feraday
Lindero Middle School band teacher Matt McKagan is a semi-finalist for a national Grammy Educators award

The Conejo Valley band teacher is a semi-finalist for the Recording Academy and Grammy Museum's 2023 Music Educator Award.

Lindero Canyon Middle School band director Matt McKagan is working on a piece of music with a group of band students.

It’s a role he’s occupied for over thirty years, enthusing generations of budding musicians at the school – but now he’s in line for recognition on a national level. McKagan is one of just 25 semi-finalists nationwide for the Recording Academy and Grammy Museum’s 2023 Music Educator Award.

He says that his long tenure at the school means his former students are now in the audience as parents, which he says is "pretty cool."

"I don't know what to say, I really love what I do, I really have a passion for it.

"My students are 11 to 14, so to get to work with them like this and see them get all charged up about watch that spark in their eyes when they start to play it! It changes lives and I've seen it happen year after year."

McKagan is humble about the recognition, and told KCLU that he feels "incredibly fortunate" to be a semi-finalist.

He may be humble himself but he’s more than worthy of the award, says Lindero Middle School Principal Eric Anhalt.

"He brings nothing but excellence and his A-game to everything he does. He's somebody who coaches and finds something kids can be good at, and does it in a very nurturing way but also has high expectations."

mckagan 2.jpeg
Caroline Feraday
McKagan is one of just 25 semi-finalists nationwide for the Recording Academy and Grammy Museum’s 2023 Music Educator Award

Student Lachlan Wimmer plays the trombone and says that even during the remote learning of COVID, McKagan makes it a "really good experience," and credits the teacher for "getting way better" at playing.

Student Cameron Stone plays trumpet and says McKagan "really goes above and beyond for his students."

For McKagan himself, it may be the first time he’s being recognized at a national level but music runs in his family - his brother Duff McKagan is the bass guitar player in Guns N Roses.

"He's been in the band since the beginning, since 1984/85.

"I guess both of us when we decide to do something, we stick with it, don't we?" he jokes.

The ultimate recipient of the award will be recognized during GRAMMY Week 2023 and will receive a $10,000 honorarium and matching grant for their school's music program.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award this year, and also won two further first place awards, for Lifestyle Feature and Personality Profile/Interview. Last year, Caroline won first place for Use Of Sound. She also won two Golden Mike Awards this year, for Best News Reporting and Best Entertainment Reporting, as well as a National Arts & Entertainment Award from LA Press Club for One-on-One interview. Caroline started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and she was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007. She moved to Los Angeles in 2013 and is both an American and British citizen. Caroline lives in Agoura Hills with her daughter - her proudest production.