South Portland Band Director Craig Skeffington, left, and his colleague and former student Jen Fletcher celebrate Skeffington’s induction into the Maine Music Educators Association Hall of Fame last month. Contributed / Craig Skeffington

South Portland High School Band Director Craig Skeffington was inducted into the Maine Music Educators Association Hall of Fame last month, and it caught the longtime educator off guard.

Skeffington thought he was attending MMEA’s banquet in support of a friend, he said in an interview with the Sentry.

“I had found out that they were going to be accepted as a Hall of Fame nominee,” he said. “I’m not big on banquets or award ceremonies, but this person is a good friend of mine so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll go for that.'”

It was a ruse.

“As it turns out, I was actually the inductee,” Skeffington said.

The honor is not only recognition for his work as a music educator at the high school over the past 30 years but also for his many other accomplishments, which include composing, arranging, trumpet playing and more.


“The Maine Music Education Association is proud to have inducted Craig Skeffington into our hall of fame,” Matt White, president of MMEA, wrote in an email to the Sentry. “Craig has had and continues to have an enormous impact on music and music education in the state of Maine as well as across the country. We feel honored and blessed to have him as a member of our association as well as a music educator in the state of Maine.”

Skeffington has received numerous other honors for his work in composing, arranging and educating, including MMEA Teacher of the Year in 2003. As a trumpet player, he has played with Barry Manilow, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and other acclaimed artists. Under Skeffington’s direction, the high school band has ranked high in state and local festivals across the country. The jazz band won a national title in Orlando, Florida, in 2001 among 75 groups from across the country.

“I think this city and the school department as a whole could not be more proud of Craig and the work that he’s done in our city but also nationwide and even worldwide,” said Jen Fletcher, the band teacher for South Portland Grades 5 and 6. “His composing and his arranging, being a guest conductor at different state music festivals and at national jazz conventions.”

Fletcher, a 2011 graduate of South Portland High School, said Skeffington was an inspiration to her when she was a student.

“He is probably one of the most influential people in my life and is one of the biggest reasons that I became a music teacher,” Fletcher said. “He sparked my love of music, my love of learning, my love of teaching other people and being a leader.”

Fletcher played the tenor saxophone but Skeffington convinced her to also learn how to play the trumpet – the instrument he’s known for.


“When Craig Skeffington asks you to learn the trumpet, you pick up the trumpet and you learn it,” she said.

Fletcher also said she loves seeing her former middle school students grow and flourish under Skeffington’s direction at the high school.

Skeffington is quick to credit his colleagues in the Grades 5-12 band program, ed tech Andrew Hodgkins, Grades 7-8 band teacher Amy Anderson and Fletcher.

“The people I work with are as responsible for my success as I am,” Skeffington said. “We’ve got a great team of music teachers in the South Portland school system.”

One of the most memorable moments of his career in South Portland, he said, came in his first year of teaching.

“We brought the jazz band to the Berklee College of Music Jazz Festival in Boston, and we won,” he said. “That was against bands from all over the country, and I still remember those kids almost as well as I remember the kids I have right now.”

Fletcher said that the impact Skeffington had on her relationship with music is likely just one of many examples.

“His impact has reached so many people, outside South Portland, too,” she said. “We’re just very lucky and very proud.”

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