Award Presented During AASA’s National Conference on Education in Nashville

Nashville, Tenn. February 17, 2018 – Nancy Sarra, superintendent of the Consolidated School District of New Britain in New Britain, Conn., has been awarded VH1 Save The Music Foundation’s VH1 Save The Music Foundation’s 13th annual Administrator Award for Distinguished Support of Music Education.

This  prestigious award was presented in Nashville, Tenn., at the annual National Conference on Education, hosted by AASA, The School Superintendents Association.  

The award recognizes one superintendent or school CEO who has exhibited outstanding commitment to restoring music education in his or her school district. Sarra was chosen for her deep commitment to providing all students in New Britain access to a well-rounded education that includes music. Through her partnership with VH1 Save The Music and the school district, all elementary schools in New Britain now have thriving band programs.

Since 2015, VH1 Save The Music Foundation has donated $325,000 worth of new musical instruments to the Consolidated School District of New Britain. AASA’s National Conference on Education brings public education’s best thought leaders together each year to discuss the most critical issues facing the nation’s public  schools.

“Superintendent Sarra’s steadfast support for music in New Britain schools has been a shining example of exemplary leadership and support for music education,” said Jaclyn Rudderow, program director for the VH1 Save The Music Foundation.“Her commitment is ensuring equitable access to music for all students district-wide.”

VH1 Save The Music Foundation began a partnership with the Consolidated School District of New Britain in 2015 and committed to providing Core Band Grants to nine eligible elementary schools across the district. Over the course of three years, the Foundation completed a rebuild and now all elementary school students have access to instrumental music education in their schools.

Sarra, who fosters a vision of whole child education, has been a force behind music the arts since her tenure began. She was instrumental in overseeing changes made to the middle school arts delivery model, which increased the time students participated in music programs from less than one hour a week to four hours a week. As a result,  the enrollment in the middle school music program has more than doubled over the last two years.

Now seeing a need to further invest in the arts,  Sarra allocated more than  $240,000 worth of band instruments, $45,000 worth of new string instruments and $7,000 worth of instrument racks for the middle school music program, allowing more student participation and choice in their instrumentation. This support has fostered the vertical growth of the music program, building on the success of the VH1 Save The Music Core Band Grants at the elementary level.

“As we continue to focus on whole child development, we understand that music is an integral part of that development,” said  Sarra. “With music education programming, we will continue to increase student engagement while affording our students the opportunity to apply the skills of collaboration, cooperation and goal-directed persistence. This cannot be done without the support of my team, including Assistant Superintendent and former New Britain High School Band Director Paul Salina, Districtwide Director of Fine Arts Leona Clerkin, and a Board that  is supportive of whole child development and arts in the schools. We are thankful for the support of VH1 Save The Music Foundation. Their investment on behalf of our  students will continue to pay off for years to come.”

Past recipients of this award include: Kevin George, superintendent,  St. John the Baptist Parish (La.) Public Schools; Russell Freitas, superintendent,  Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified (Calif.) School District, Kristi Sandvik, superintendent, Buckeye (Ariz.) Elementary School District, Reginald Mayo, retired superintendent, New Haven (Conn.) Public Schools; Rita Bishop, superintendent, Roanoke City (Va.) Public Schools; Kathy L. Kelly, superintendent,  Columbia Heights (Minn.) Public Schools; Duncan N. P. “Pat” Pritchett Jr., past superintendent,  Indianapolis (Ind.) Public Schools; John Lange, past superintendent Adams County (Colo.) School District 14; Carol Johnson, past superintendent,  Memphis City (Tenn.) Schools and current superintendent,  Boston (Mass.) Public Schools; Richard Kaplan, superintendent,  New Brunswick (N.J.)  Public Schools; Eugene White, superintendent,   Indianapolis (Ind.) Public Schools; and  James A. Williams, past superintendent,  Buffalo (N.Y.) Public Schools.

About VH1 Save The Music Foundation
For 21 years, VH1 Save The Music has used a comprehensive model to affect change in America’s public schools. VH1 Save The Music’s approach combines investments of instruments and resources to jumpstart music programs, support to music teachers’ development and day-to-day work, and advocacy for music as a necessary component of every student’s education. Founded in 1997, VH1 Save The Music was the first organization in existence dedicated to restoring music programs. Over the last 21 years, the Foundation has donated $53 million worth of new musical instruments to over 2,000 public schools in 257 school districts around the country-- impacting the lives of millions of public school students. This Fall, the Foundation delivered grants to 80 schools. Get involved at and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @vh1savethemusic using the hashtag #SaveTheMusic.

About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit

About the Consolidated School District of New Britain
In partnership with family and community, the Consolidated School District of New Britain works to provide the best personalized and comprehensive whole-child education at every level so students will be prepared for, and positively contribute to, a profoundly different future. The Consolidated School District of New Britain strives to pursue excellence one student a time.


VH1 Save The Music Foundation

Jaclyn Rudderow
P.O. BOX 2096 New York, NY 10108-2096
Office (212) 846-3527
Cell (917) 796-8780

AASA, The School Superintendent Association
James Minichello
Director, Communications & Marketing
1615 Duke Street
Alexandria, Va. 22314
Office (703) 875-0723
Cell (703) 774-6953

Consolidated School District of New Britain
Matthew Cannata

Board and Public Relations Specialist
Office of the Superintendent

Office (860) 827-2284
Cell: (860) 801-0196