Kennedy Secondary School (KSS) orchestra director Craig Peterson has been announced as a quarterfinalist in the 2021 Music Educator Award presented by The Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum. He makes the list of 216 music teachers who made it to quarterfinals out of nearly 2,000 initial nominations and is one of only two teachers from Minnesota.
Peterson began teaching orchestra at KSS in 2011 after graduating from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a major in instrumental music education. Peterson has been involved with music since he picked up a guitar at 10 years old and since then has learned to play the violin, viola, cello and bass, founded and directed the civic orchestra in Fergus Falls, taught at KSS, worked with M State and joined the Fargo-Moorhead symphony in their bass section. “I’ve been involved in other community groups like the community jazz band that’s performed before, and when there was a community band put together for the 100th anniversary of the cyclone, I was a part of that,” Peterson said.
He believes his passion for music shows in his work and he enjoys working with people. “It’s the people that I teach and the people that I work with, it’s definitely a people profession, it’s very much about the relationships that you build with your students and your colleagues and the community at large, and then also sharing the music that I love and sharing how passionate I am about it, and that passion is contagious, in my experience,” he said.
Having made it to the quarterfinals, Peterson now just needs to file an application to be considered for the semifinals. He’s proud to have been nominated at all, though, and says, “It’s a big deal and it’s a great honor. To me, it means ... I’m going in the right direction. Sometimes when you have an outside entity like this tell you that you’re doing a great job, it just means that I’m doing right by the people that I serve.”
The Music Educator Award seeks to recognize current educators who have made lasting and significant contributions to the field of music education in their communities and are committed to maintaining music education in schools.