Mary Jo Papich, known for her avid support and leadership in arts education, is the cofounder and was the first president of the Jazz Education Network. She has been recognized nationally and internationally for her efforts in arts education.
A music educator and fine arts administrator for over thirty-five years, Papich has garnered many honors and awards. Mary Jo’s recent accolades include having received the prestigious Medal of Honor from Midwest Clinic and the Lifetime Jazz Education Achievement Award from Downbeat magazine. JEN has honored her with giving the Mary Jo Papich Women in Jazz Scholarship to deserving students at their annual conference. Tau Beta Sigma band sorority presented her with the Outstanding Service to Music Education Award, and Chicago Jazz Institute presented her the Outstanding Jazz Educator of the Year Award in 2018.
Papich serves on the selection committee for the NARAS Grammy Music Educator of the Year Award, and on the board of directors and chairs the JEN Outreach/Community Engagement program, which has touched more than 60,000 lives since she started it in 2010. MJ produces student jazz festivals in Puerto Vallarta and New Orleans and continues to work with students in Peoria Public Schools. Papich is the editor of The Jazzer’s Cookbook: Creative Recipes for Players and Teachers, published by Meredith Music.
As a former student said, “Mary Jo Papich continues to inspire those around her to pursue the arts and arts education with passion, making a positive difference today and in the generations beyond.”