About Genein Letford

In the Key of Life
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Genein Letford is a national speaker,  life/finance coach, and award-winning educator from Southern California who believes that every person has the ability to reach their full potential when they have the necessary tools and information to live their best life.

She has inspired thousands through her energetic keynote speeches and seminars while continually challenging them to grow in the areas of education, financial success and personal development.

Genein has been coaching clients to get their life on track in the areas of finance, time management, careers and producing creative income streams for the past three years. Genein utilizes her own story of paying off $100,000 of debt and works with both youth and adults to tailor effective coaching strategies to their current and future developmental goals.

In 2014, she founded Alumni360, a mentorship program for college bound students in the areas of scholarship acquisition, financial literacy, personal development and life skills. Genein was a recipient for the 2012 Bravo Arts Educator Award and was named the Great American Teacher of the Year in 2010. She was honored with the Hart Vision Charter School Teacher of the Year in March of 2015.

Genein received her bachelors degree in psychology from UCLA, her masters in education from CSUN and financial coaching certification from Light University.  In addition to speaking and coaching, she is a part-time professor at CSUN where she teaches in the masters and credential program in the Eisner School of Education.

Genein recently joined the Donorschoose.org Board of Directors, a national crowdfunding non-profit for educators, being the first educator to do so in the organization's 16 year history. She continues to do numerous professional presentations on finances, arts integration, grant writing and remains focused on bringing these critical issues to audiences as well as to individuals and families through her speaking and coaching services.


Genein is a master at integrating music with history, science, language arts, and math. She is one of the most passionate, creative, and effective teachers that I have ever observed and as a result has a tremendous impact on her students and their development as thinkers, musicians, problem solvers and learners. Genein consistently reflects, searches for resources and challenges herself to improve her practice. She immediately applies her new learning of best practices, benefiting all of her students and the greater education community.

Deborah Ellis
Founder, Growing Global Educators

More then 250,000 teachers use Donorschoose.org, and I can't think of anyone more impressive than Genein Letford. Beloved by her students and their parents, Ms. Letford is an inspirational educator and captivating speaker. When she spoke to our team, her enthusiasm was infectious and her thoughtfulness was palpable. We ask Ms. Letford to represent our organization whenever possible, because she is one of our country's greatest teachers.

Charles Best
Founder and CEO / Donorschoose.org

Genein Letford is a wealth of information in the arena of professional development grants for teachers. She has written and travelled extensively around the world honing her music education crafts as well as broadening her global perspective for the benefit of K-12 students. She has a generosity of spirit that is infectious. Her willingness to share her good fortunes makes her a joy to have as a resource.

Julia Perlowski
Director of Theatre Programs, PBHS / National Educator Award for Outstanding School Theatre Teaching Excellence Award, U.S State Department

The sound of 21 Century arts education come from Genein Letford with classical depth and an amazing tune that connects students hearts and souls to the core of all parts of the curriculum. This outstanding educator is THE global model of the true power that art and music play in learning, inspiration and empowerment of children. I'm incredible honored to call her colleague, mentor and friend!

Scott Bedley
Educator / 2014 Orange County Teacher of the Year and 2014 California Teacher of the Year Finalist

Genein Letford is a dynamic and creative arts specialist who can differentiate for many types of learners. Trained at California State University, Northridge, Mrs. Letford is able to take learning theory and create co-integrated lessons that excite and engage children of all ages. Over the years, she has received numerous arts grants and awards that has helped teachers and students
integrate music into their lives. My Masters students, over the last 4 years, have benefitted from Ms. Letford's lectures on integrated lessons in music. Some of the comments that were made were, " they are nicely designed lessons that are easy to implement." "Teaching music seems less scary and more my level."

Dr. Joyce Burstein
Professor / California State University, Northridge

Curiculum Vitae


  • 2010: Master of Arts in Education, California State University, Northridge
  • 2005: Multiple Subject Teacher Credential SB 2042, Level II Certified, CSUN
  • 2002: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles
  • 2000: Certificate in Spanish language, music, history and culture. University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain
  • 2013: Certificate in Financial Coaching, Light University, Los Angeles, CA


  • 2005 – Present: Speaker, Presenter and Workshop Leader; Arts & Common Core Integration, Grant Writing, Student Engagement.
  • 2015 - Present: Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts Education, California State University, Northridge
  • 2008- Present: Music & Global Studies Teacher, GATE (Gifted) Coordinator/Instructor K-5, NEW Academy Canoga Park
  • 2008 – 2010: Johns Hopkins University, Center for Talented Youth Summer Sessions, Baltimore, MD
  • 2005- 2008: Third Grade Teacher, NEW Academy Canoga Park

Professional Awards and Recognition

  • 2015 CA Charter Teacher of the Year, Sacramento, CA
  • 2014: Hilton Worldwide Teacher Trek Award, Washington D.C & Japan
  • 2014: Innovation In Education Award, San Fernando Valley, CA
  • 2013: PEOPLE Teacher of the Year Finalist, New York, NY
  • 2013: Sontag Urban Education Award, Boston, MA
  • 2012: Bravo Arts Educator Award Recipient, Music Center, Los Angeles, CA
  • 2010: Great American Teacher of the Year Award, Atlanta, GA
  • 2010: The Jane Ortner ‘Educating Through Music’ Curriculum Grammy Museum Awards, Los Angeles, CA
  • 2008: National Teacher Award Finalist, Time Warner Cable

Professional Contributions

  • 2016 - Present: Valley Performance Arts Center, The Soraya Center, Member, Ambassadors Board
  • 2015 - Present: Board of Directors, Member, Donorschoose.org
  • 2015 - Present: Teacher Advisory Board, Member, AppleTree App
  • 2014: Music Center Educational Advisory Committee
  • 2011 – 2012: Grammy Museum Educational Advisory Committee
  • 2010: Arts for LA Coalition, Member
  • 2010 – 2011: California Charter School Conference Selection Committee
  • 2011: Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) Stakeholder
  • 2010: Arts Education Professional Development Directory Peer Panel Advisor
  • 2010 – 2011: Social Justice Educator Panel, CSUN Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies
  • UCLA African Student Union, Alumni Member
  • UCLA Track and Field, Alumni Member

Featured Articles, Interviews, and Publications

Speaking Topics

  • Finding Your WHY: The Purpose Behind The Passion
  • Arts Within the Common Core: Finding the Deeper Connections
  • True Professional Development: Developing the Brand of a Professional Educator
  • Funded! - Successful Grant Writing and Fellowships for Classroom Teachers
  • The Arts & the Author: Creating a Dynamic 'One School One Book' Program
  • Student Engagement: Inspiring the Greatness Within
  • Telling Your Story: How to Win Money By Presenting the True YOU!

Past Speaking Events - National

  • Letford, G (2017, April) Brillant Yet Broke: The Missing Tools Our Kids Need To Succeed. Presented at TEDxCSUN, Los Angeles, CA
  • Letford, G. (2013, July). Infusing Music and the Arts for Higher Engagement in the Common Core Classroom. Presented at Extraordinary Educators National Conference, Chicago, IL.
  • Letford, G. (2011, July) Opening the Doors of Creativity with Donorschoose.org Grants. Presented at Donorschoose.org Main Office, New York, NY.
  • Letford, G. (2007, March). Increasing Student Engagement in Language Arts and Math. Presented at the National Charter School Conference, San Diego, CA.
  • Burstein, J., Letford, G. & Peterson, C. (2005, March). Exploring the Culture and Community of Two Professional Development Schools. Presented at the Professional Development Schools National Conference, Orlando, FL.
  • Letford, G. (2015, May). Building An Award Winning Program. Presented at Teacher of the Year National Summit, San Diego, CA.

Past Speaking Events - State

  • Letford, G. (2017, August). Embracing The Unknown. Keynote Speaker, Communter Retreat, Mount St. Mary's University, Los Angeles, CA
  • Letford, G. (2015, March). Finding Your WHY: The Purpose Behind the Passion. Keynote Speaker, Teacher Planary Session, CA Charter School Conference, Sacramento, CA
  • Letford, G. (2011, March). Exciting Fellowship and Grant Writing Tips for the Busy Teacher. Presented at the State Charter School Conference, San Diego, CA
  • Letford, G. & Peterson, C. (2010, March). Integrating Visual and Performing Arts into the K-5 Classroom, Presented at the Charter School Conference, Sacramento, CA.
  • Letford, G. (2010, March). Successful Grant Writing Tips for Educators. Presented at the State Charter School Conference, Sacramento, CA.
  • Letford, G. & Herrmann, J. (2009, March). Increasing Technology in the Classroom. Presented at the State Charter School Conference, Long Beach, CA.

Past Speaking Events - Local

  • Letford, G. (2015, January). Faith and Finances: Learning Sound Financial Principals. The Underground Church, North Hollywood, CA
  • Letford, G. (2014, April). Stand Out! Being Successful with Grant and Fellowship Writing. Barnes & Nobles Bookstore Educator Events, Victorville, CA
  • Letford, G. (2014, March). Introduce the Orchestra; Quality Arts Integration for K-8 Educators. Arts Integration Masters Class, CSUN, Northridge, CA
  • Letford, G. (2013, Oct). Addressing the ‘Why’ In Education. Barnes & Nobles Bookstore Educator Event & Book Signing, Santa Monica, CA.
  • Letford, G. (2013, Oct). A Match Made in Heaven; The Arts and Critical Thinking. Barnes & Nobles Educator Event & Book Signing, Long Beach, CA.
  • Letford, G. (2012, Oct). Combining English Language Arts with the ‘Other Arts’; Quality Arts Integration for K-8 Educators. Arts Integration Masters Class, CSUN, Northridge, CA

Past Speaking Events - School

  • Letford, G. (2015, Feb). Increasing Authentic Voice: Using iMovie in the Classroom. NEW Academy Canoga Park, Canoga Park, CA
  • Letford, G. (2011, Sept). Being A Life Long Learner – Grants & Fellowships. NEW Academy Canoga Park, Canoga Park, CA
  • Letford, G. (2009, Aug). The Importance of Music Education. NEW Academy Canoga Park, Canoga Park, CA
  • Letford, G. (2009, Aug). The Importance of Music Education. NEW Academy Canoga Park, Canoga Park, CA