Country music might not be Kayla Werlin’s area of expertise. But that hasn’t stopped the Country Music Association (CMA), the trade organization formed in 1958 to promote country music, from recognizing Werlin this year as one of the top public school music teachers in the nation.
Werlin, who lives in Hadley and chairs the Music Department of Longmeadow High School, is one of 30 music teachers to win a 2020 National Music Teacher of Excellence Award from the Country Music Association Foundation. That’s the philanthropic arm of the CMA, which provides grants to help promote music education.
The CMA awards recognize 20 music teachers in Tennessee and 10 in other states across the country. This year, Werlin is the only music teacher from Massachusetts to receive the award.
“I’m very honored,” Werlin said during a recent call to her home in Hadley, where she — like so many other teachers — is now trying to devise ways to work with her students online, with schools shut because of the COVID-19 outbreak. “Country music is not something I know a lot about, but the [CMA] program is all about giving back, and that’s wonderful.”