CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teacher has been named one of the top 30 music teachers in the country by the CMA foundation.

Kevin Brawley was surprised with the news in his Torrence Creek Elementary classroom this week. 

"The principal and assistant principal my wife all rolled in with phones," said Brawley, fondly known as Mr. B. "I couldn’t believe it. When they gave me the award and everyone started cheering, I got a little choked up. It was a pretty rewarding moment."

Mr. B's music classes are jam-packed with hands-on activities, singing, instruments, and dance.

"When they come in to this safe place I feel a lot of them find out, 'Oh, this is a place where I can actually try to express myself in a way that maybe I never have before,'” Mr. B said.

It's no surprise his students adore him.

"He’s fun and then also teaches us lots of stuff so we're ready," one of his 5th-graders said.

“Mr. B always brightens my day,” another echoed. 

“He always makes everything exciting," a third chimed in. 

Mr. B says he's honored to be recognized by the CMA, and is glad his love for his job shows. 

“I really feel like my job matters and I’m actually making a difference in the world," he said. "And that’s good enough for me.”

Brawley wins $2,500 for school supplies and $2,500 for himself. He will be honored at an awards ceremony hosted by Dierks Bentley on April 30.