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Congratulations to the 2022 Teachers of Distinction

Congratulations to the 2022 Teachers of Distinction

Published on September 26, 2022

RCM Teachers of Distinction are leaders in the field of music education, recognized for their contributions of creativity, dedication, innovation, and passion.

This award is given to teachers across North America who are recognized as leaders in the field of music education. Through their years of teaching experience, they provide mentorship to other teachers and instill a lifelong love of music in their students. RCM Teachers of Distinction are an inspiration to others and are influential in creating a brighter future for music education.

We are thrilled to announce the 2022 recipients of this distinguished award who will be celebrated at their regional Canadian and US Celebration of Excellence events.


Gloria Chu headshot

Alberta, Northwest Territories, Nunavut

Gloria Chu

Gloria Chu a member of The RCM College of Examiners. She is a dedicated piano, violin and vocal pedagogue, a festival adjudicator, composer, and performer. In addition, she is also a Chartered Professional Accountant.

Gloria has been recognized by Steinway & Sons with a Top Teacher Award for her outstanding instruction and leadership in piano education.

Gloria presented at the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Association 2022 conference. A few of her compositions have been accepted into Alliance for Canadian New Music Projects’ Contemporary Showcase Syllabus.

Several of her students have won competitions and been awarded provincial Gold Medals from the RCM.

Gloria is currently a mentor to several developing teachers and artists. Her innovative teaching methods motivate students to develop confidence in expressing their unique voice in both music and life.

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Robert Colbourne headshot

Atlantic (New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island)

​Robert Colbourne

Robert Colbourne is a proud Memorial University of Newfoundland alumnus. He is the Conductor of award-winning choirs at Holy Heart of Mary High School in St. John’s, NL and the Associate Conductor with Shallaway Youth Choir. Robert serves as a member of the Memorial University School of Music Advisory Board, and operates a busy private studio.
Robert’s philosophy of creating meaningful connections through music has been showcased in multiple video projects throughout the pandemic and has been presented at New Pedagogies for DeepLearning™ conferences worldwide.
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Stanislava Deltcheva headshot

British Columbia, Yukon

Stanislava Deltcheva

For Stanislava Deltcheva music is a universal language and an endless source of discovery and joy. She is always looking for ways to bring meaningful experiences to her students, and strives to inspire curiosity, creativity, diligence, and independence at all skill levels.

Stanislava has performed an extensive repertoire for solo piano, ensembles, and concerti with orchestras.

Stanislava has had extensive musical training in her native Bulgaria, followed by Graduate Studies in piano performance at the University of Victoria, and at Temple University in Philadelphia. As a life-long learner, she continues to search for new ideas and methods.

Barbara Cornish headshot


Barbara Cornish

Barbara L. Cornish studied with Walter Thiessen, Gertrude Greaves and Dr. Lyell Gustin in Saskatoon, and with Thomas Manshardt at the University of Regina.

After teaching in the Saskatoon area, she moved to Caronport, Saskatchewan, where for many years she taught music at the Briercrest College. After moving to Winnipeg, she taught with the University of Manitoba Preparatory Division and at Providence University College.

Currently she maintains a private studio teaching Piano, Theory, Harmony, and Piano Pedagogy. In addition to adjudicating, she enjoys working as a consultant for teachers and students in preparation for examinations, auditions, competitions, or other performances. Her students have received scholarships and awards from assorted organizations and institutions, including RCM Gold Medals in Piano and Piano Pedagogy.

She delights in hearing from former students who now have careers in music, and/or those who continue to contribute through music and other arts to their respective communities.

Rachel Newallo-Huang headshot


Rachel Newallo-Huang 

Rachel teaches piano, theory, harmony and history from her private studio in Richmond Hill. She has 25 years of teaching experience, is passionate about teaching and adapts to each individual’s learning style. Rachel inspires students to enhance life skills; time management, discipline, concentration, responsibility, and public speaking.

Rachel earned her ARCT in Piano Performance and is an Advanced Teacher Specialist with the Royal Conservatory. She is expanding her musical horizons by studying violin and voice for her own pleasure. Several of her students have won competitions and some have continued their music education at the post-secondary level.

When not teaching, Rachel enjoys spending time with her family.

Li Si Zhang Headshot


Li Si Zhang

Li Si comes from a long line of musicians and has been deeply influenced by music since she was a child. She graduated from Concordia University, and is now a senior professor of music education, with 50 years of experience. Li Si has adjudicated many international and local music competitions. Her teaching methods have fostered a comprehensive understanding of music in her students.

Many of Li Si’s students have won music competitions and earned gold medals from The RCM Certificate Program. She has trained several outstanding teachers and is an avid community volunteer who is loved by all her students.

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Cherith Alexander headshot


Cherith Alexander

Cherith Alexander has been a respected piano and theory teacher in Weyburn, Saskatchewan for twenty-seven years. During this, time she has worked with students of all ages and levels. Many have received awards including RCM gold medals and provincial festival honours. Some of her students have pursued professional careers as musicians and music educators.

An experienced collaborative pianist, Cherith has performed with many renowned musicians. She especially enjoys coaching young instrumentalists “from the piano bench.”

Cherith is passionate about the value of music festivals and has adjudicated over fifty times at festivals throughout Western Canada. In 2017 she created and led the first “Adjudicator Boot Camp” in Saskatchewan, a workshop designed to train and inspire new and current adjudicators.

Committed to life-long learning, Cherith recently joined The RCM College of Examiners and is now enjoying hearing pianists from around the world complete their examinations.

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United States

Laurie Miller headshot

North West (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington)

Laurie Miller

Laurie Miller studied violin and piano and holds a BA from Penn State, and a BFA from California College of Arts. After moving to the Bay Area, Laurie studied bass, music theory and jazz music theory with composer Rick Giovinazzo.

With her relocation to the Seattle area, Laurie focused on performing and has played over 4,000 gigs with over 100 bands. In 1999, she played bass for the Jimi Hendrix Family Guitar Tour. Laurie has recorded 6 CDs and released numerous singles.

She has been preparing students for Royal Conservatory Certificate Program exams for close to 15 years.

Several of her students have been recognized for their achievements at the Center, State, and Regional level in both piano and classical guitar.

In her current studio, Laurie teaches piano, classical guitar, violin, cello, and voice!

Lawrence Blind Headshot

South West
(Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming)

Lawrence Blind

Lawrence Blind began his piano studies in Rochester, New York, and made his New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall at age nine. He received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Indiana University, and a Performer’s Certificate while studying with Nelita True at the Eastman School of Music.

Mr. Blind was a winner of the MTNA Collegiate Artist Competition, and the Young Keyboard Artist Association International Piano Competition. Reviewers have praised his playing as “Electrifyingly exciting…with amazing control, meltingly lyrical tone, flawless technique, and tremendous sonority…”

His talented students have consistently received scores of First-Class Honors and First-Class Honors with Distinction in the RCM examinations, and have been awarded both Southwest and National gold medals. In 2018 he was named the Teacher of the Year by the Professional Music Teachers Association of New Mexico. He is the currently the Director at the New Mexico School of Music.

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Suzanne Greer Headshot

North Central
(Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin) 

Suzanne Greer

Suzanne Greer currently serves as Artist Teacher at MacPhail Center for Music where she teaches both Suzuki and traditional piano lessons.

She received performance degrees from St. Olaf College and the University of Minnesota as well as the certificate in piano pedagogy from the University of St. Thomas. S

Suzanne was awarded the Robert Schmitt Professional Development Grant from the Minnesota Music Teachers Association (MMTA) and in 2017, was awarded a Top Music Teacher Award by Steinway and Sons. She has served as President of MMTA, the Minneapolis Music Teachers Forum and the Suzuki Piano Teachers’ Guild. In addition, she served as Certification Commissioner for the Music Teachers National Association from 2018 – 2020.

As an international bestselling author, she is featured in The Power of Why: Why 27 Musicians Captured the Lead and Why You Should Too compiled by Glory St. Germain.

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Maria Guenette Headshot

South Central (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas) 

Maria Guénette

Dr. Maria Mika Guénette earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Ottawa under the tutelage of Jean-Paul Sevilla. Her Master of Music degree in Piano Performance at Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku was made possible with an all-inclusive grant by the Japanese Ministry of Education (Monbusho). At the Eastman School of Music, she was awarded a Doctor of Musical Arts degree specializing in Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music, as well as a Master of Music degree in Harpsichord Performance. Dr. Guénette is the keyboardist for East Texas Symphony Orchestra and serves as staff pianist at Southern Methodist University. She was previously on faculty at University of Texas at Tyler, Winston-Salem State University, Greensboro College, and the North Carolina School of the Arts. Maria runs a private piano studio in Carrollton, Texas and is a member of the RCM College of Examiners.

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South East (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Caroline, Tennessee, Virginia)

Dawn Hawk

Dr. Dawn Dalangin Hawk is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM) and a Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) Certified teacher, specializing in advanced levels of piano and theory. She received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, a B.M. and M.M. in Piano Performance from Colorado State University, and a D.M.A. in Piano Performance from the University of Georgia. She is the Executive Director and Founder of Hawk Music Academy in Cumming, Georgia, where she teaches with her husband, Dr. S. Eric Hawk, orchestra conductor and composer. "The Hawks" are Co-Founders of the Symphony Orchestra of North Georgia (SONG), a non-profit organization with three ensembles for members of all ages. At SONG, Dawn serves as the Executive Director/President, pianist, and bassist, and Eric as the Music Director. When not teaching, practicing, or rehearsing, the Hawks enjoy spending time doing yoga, running, cycling, and playing with their five labradors and their 2-year old daughter, Lilu.


Janisse Foresti

Janisse Foresti is a piano pedagogy specialist with a unique passion for developing the well-rounded music student by implementing artistry, technique, diverse genres of repertoire, sight-reading, theory, performance, and musicianship into lessons. Her philosophy promotes a life-long skill and passion for the art of music through The RCM Certificate Program curriculum and challenges students to perform at their fullest potential. Janisse is the Stanislaus County RCM Representative. She is an RCM Certified Teacher for Piano and Theory and holds a Permanent Professional Certification from MTNA. Janisse has been a member of MTNA for 30 years. She has a Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Utah and Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance from the University of the Pacific. Her students have achieved First Class Honors with Distinction in RCM Practical Piano and Theory Exams and have participated in RCM Celebration of Excellence Recitals. Throughout her teaching career, her students have won 1st Prize at many Piano Concerto Competitions. Janisse Foresti has shared her passion for teaching at the University of Utah, Modesto Junior College, and currently has a thriving private studio in Central California.


North East (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia) 

Yelena Kuzmenko