A St. Libory native is in the running for a prestigious national award in 2017.

Jared Bader, son of Bill and Andrea Bader of St. Libory, is in the running for a Grammy Award.

No, Bader isn’t a vocal artist. He’s a music teacher in Phoenix.

Bader, who is in his in fourth year teaching music at Eagle College Preparatory School, was one of 3,300 teachers nominated. He is among the 290 teachers left in the quarterfinal round to win the Grammy Award for Music Educators.

When he initially found out he was nominated for the award, Bader said, he was blown away.

“I couldn’t believe that anybody even nominated me for doing my job,” Bader said. “I don’t have near the accomplishments that any of these other teachers might have or past Grammy winners have had.”

He said he has no idea who nominated him. “I am honored, though.”

Upon receiving a letter from the Grammy Foundation, Bader had to fill out a questionnaire and write an essay about himself and his job. It was something he wasn’t accustomed to but didn’t have any problem with, he said.

The journey in teaching music, however, has been a long, hard-fought battle for Bader. Due to lack of funds for the music program and even a classroom for him to teach in, Bader used what he had and did the best he could.

He was literally teaching music outside, battling dust devils and even black widow spiders that found their way into the shed where the instruments were kept.

“It was hard to focus on teaching children music when I had to worry if their instruments had spiders living in them,” Bader said. “I had to play fumigation man, as well.”

He recalls at one point he had a white board attached to a pole in the ground, and a dust devil came by and ripped the board off the pole and blew it away.

“That’s what I was dealing with. I was limited to what I could teach musically because of us being outside,” he said. “Certain selections and styles are hard to learn when your students are playing out in the open with things going on around them in the neighborhood.”

No matter how tough it got to teach outdoors, Bader said, his students stayed positive and came ready to learn.

“The kids were great and always excited to be in music class, so that made it all worthwhile,” he recalled.

Eagle College Prep School is in inner-city Phoenix and has very little funds for the music program. Because it’s a charter school, it gets public funding but is privately owned, something Bader wasn’t accustom to.

“Coming from public school in St. Paul, Neb., charter schools was a whole new ball game.”

Four years later, Bader has a classroom, the school has given him some more resources, and the possibilities are endless.

The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators (kindergarten through college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools, according to the Grammy website.

The group still vying for the award will soon be cut down to 10 finalists

The winner will be flown to Los Angeles to accept the Grammy at the awards ceremony and will also receive a $10,000 honorarium.

Bader said he should hear something this month about whether or not he is a top 10 finalist, but either way, he is humbled by the experience.

“I am just honored that somebody thought I was doing a good enough job to nominate me,” he said. “Sure, it would be great to win or even be in the final 10, but I am just happy to have the acknowledgment.”

Bader graduated from St. Paul High School in 1993, then went on to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Los Angeles Music Academy. He has been at Eagle College Prep School his entire teaching career.

Bader teaches music to more than 400 kindergarten through fourth-grade students and middle school orchestra to 40 students. He also teaches music theater, guitar and piano classes.

He also was selected to nominate two students to compete for a performance at Carnegie Hall.

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