State awards recognize local educators, school districts for commitment to music

ASHLAND, Maine -- May 26, 2021 -- Jon Simonoff plays acoustic guitar while teaching music to Ashland fifth-graders. (Courtesy of Michelle Fournier)

Two County schools have received awards from the Maine Music Educators Association that recognize their efforts to support and sustain district-wide music programs.

On May 19, SAD 32’s Jon Simonoff received the Outstanding Music Educator Award, while Ashland Community School principal Joel Hall was named Outstanding Administrator. SAD 1’s music department received the Dale F. Huff Outstanding Music Program Award.

The latter award is given to a music department “to honor a thriving K-12 music and performing arts program in the state of Maine” in memory of Millinocket educator Dale Huff, according to the MMEA website. Huff was known for helping to form and sustain a district-wide music program for the Millinocket School Department.

Pat Bragdon, chair of SAD 1’s music department, said that the award is a testament to the work his colleagues have put into the program, and the district’s overall support of arts programs.

At SAD 1, all elementary students take general music classes and participate in fifth grade chorus. The district also offers middle and high school bands and choruses and high school piano and guitar classes. Aside from Bragdon, the music department includes Jason and Molly Priest and Jenna Simonoff.

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