The Mockingbird Foundation is proud to announce the winners of the 2021 DeLucia Awards for music educators. Each of these award winners has demonstrated a passion for music education such as by teaching in an exceptional, innovative, or unique manner; impacting their communities in a substantial way; and/or using unconventional techniques, discourse, or concepts in their roles as music educators:

  • Brian Bersh (of Jamestown Elementary School in Arlington, VA) – $1,000 DeLucia Prize Winner
  • Heather Peters (of Slinger High School, in Slinger, WI) – $250 DeLucia Award Winner
  • John McCallister (of Spartanburg High School, Spartanburg, SC) – $250 DeLucia Award Winner
  • Megan Suozzo (of Piscataway High School, in Piscataway, NJ) – $250 DeLucia Award Winner
  • Rich Gordon (of Sycamore Junior High School, in Anaheim, CA) – $250 DeLucia Award Winner

The DeLucia Awards and DeLucia Prize are named for Mockingbird founder Craig DeLucia and acknowledge outstanding contributions of a creative nature.  They were created in 2004, with a revised focus in 2017, and have been previously awarded in 201020152017, and 2019. The Mockingbird Foundation announces these awards both to celebrate the accomplishments of the winners, and in hope that the awards might inspire others to seek, provide, and support music education, particularly bold and ambitious efforts in the face of uphill hurdles.

The Foundation board is extremely grateful to the volunteers who lent their time, interest, and expertise to serve as the committee reviewing nominees and selecting this year’s winners:

  • John Butte – Vocal General Music and Chorus Director at Gorman Crossing Elementary School in Laurel, MD
  • Ben Denne – Director of Orchestras at Ellicott Mills Middle School in Ellicott City, MD
  • Carrie Finnegan, Director of Orchestras at Albemarle High School, Charlottesville, VA
  • Andrew Hitz – Instructor of Music at Gettysburg College
  • Matt Sexauer – Director of Bands at Chelmsford High School in Chelmsford, MA

The Mockingbird Foundation is the leading provider of historical information about Phish and its music, having cultivated intellectual property through since 1994 and published two editions of the popular trade paperback books The Phish Companion: A Guide to the Band and Their Music. Proceeds from Foundation projects support music education for children. Thanks to its all-volunteer structure, the Foundation is able to disburse more than 95% of the funds raised to important and innovative programs serving diverse populations. Organized by Phish fans in 1996, and formally incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit in 1997, the Foundation has since then distributed over $1.9M through 520 grants in all 50 states.

Phish is a rock band that started in 1983 and grew to become one of the highest-grossing live acts in the nation. The band donates a portion of proceeds from LivePhish downloads to the Mockingbird Foundation. For more information about Phish, please visit and