HASD teacher a Grammy finalist
Sheehan makes short list for 2019 Music Educator Award
A Grammy Award is within grasp for a local music teacher.
Scott Sheehan, Hollidaysburg Area High School Director of Bands and music department chairman, is among 10 finalists for the 2019 Grammy Music Educator Award.
Each year the Recording Academy recognizes teachers who make a lasting impact on students and music education.
The Recording Academy and the Grammy Museum selected the finalists from more than 2,800 initial nominations from all 50 states.
The winner will be announced during Grammy Week 2019, which is scheduled to start Feb. 6.
“I am extremely honored and humbled to receive this recognition,” Sheehan said Wednesday.
If Sheehan wins, he will be flown to New York to attend the 61st annual Grammy Awards and will take home a $10,000 prize. If he does not win, he is nonetheless promised a $1,000 prize, and the school will receive a matching grant.
“I am very blessed to work with amazing students and colleagues and have friends and family who support me with all that I do,” Sheehan said. “I believe that music changes lives for the better, and I am very committed to making sure all children have access to a quality music education that is relevant and meaningful.”
Sheehan, 44, is a Cresson native and Penn Cambria High School alumnus. He earned bachelor’s degrees in music education and music marketing from Clarion University and a master’s degree in music education from Penn State University.
Sheehan has been teaching at Hollidaysburg Area since 2005, and the music program has become renowned.
For the past seven years, Hollidaysburg has been named one of the Best Communities for Music Education in the United States by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation.
Now, former students of Sheehan are propelling him along his Grammy journey, starting with Rachel Kaneshiki, who nominated him in February when the Recording Academy opened nominations.
Sheehan said he was surprised and thankful to Kaneshiki for nominating him, and he advanced through the first round of 2,800 nominees.
A written survey determined the top 200 quarter-finalists. After that, candidates were asked to submit a resume and respond to eight questions in the form of videos. They were also asked to share an eight-minute, unedited video of their teaching.
For the videos, Sheehan gained help from a former saxophone student with experience on the high school TV production team.
Preston Shoemaker, 19, said he was thrilled to help Sheehan with the video submission process.
“Mr. Sheehan’s impact on students is monumental,” Shoemaker said.
“He is always there for everybody. I went from being just another musician in the class to becoming an all-state musician playing at Carnegie Hall in New York, all because of Mr. Sheehan and the Hollidaysburg music department.”
Shoemaker spent most of June on the video project, interviewing community members and faculty.
All the nomination materials, including the video submission, were reviewed by a committee from across the country to determine the top 25 semi-finalists.
From there, the Grammy committee narrowed down the Top 10 finalists.
Hollidaysburg Area Superintendent Bob Gildea said Sheehan is an educator with an immeasurable impact.
“In my 29 years in education, I have never known someone to have such a profound and lasting impact on the lives of so many people,” Gildea said. “From the countless students that he has taught, to his fellow music instructors and those whom he meets through his leadership role in both state and national organizations, Scott Sheehan is truly deserving of this incredible recognition.”
Sheehan directs the district’s symphonic wind ensemble, concert band, jazz band, marching band and teaches AP music theory, two levels of guitar and an elective course called “Rock, Rap and Revolution.”
His resume is long. He is an active guest conductor and clinician throughout the country and performs trumpet with the Hollidaysburg Community Band, where he also serves as Associate Conductor.
Additionally, he performs with the Altoona Brass Collective and the Blair County Brassworks for various community events and local church services.
“I couldn’t think of a better man to get this recognition,” Shoemaker said. “I’m extremely proud of him, no matter the outcome. I couldn’t be happier for him.”
Sheehan said the recognition is really for the Hollidaysburg community.
“As much as it’s my name on the recognition, it’s about the team we have here at Hollidaysburg — the students, faculty, my family and friends,” he said. “I serve music education in a lot of different ways. It’s never been about awards or recognition. It’s about the kids.”
The Sheehan file
Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School Director of Bands and Music Department Chairman
Educational Clinician for Conn-Selmer curriculum development
Pennsylvania Music Educators Association leadership academy coordinator and co-chair of the model curriculum and assessment steering committee (2013-present).
Immediate-Past President of the Eastern Division for the National Association for Music Education/ current program Chairman for the All-National Honors Ensembles.
2013 Hollidaysburg Area School District teacher of the year.
2016 Outstanding Music Educator Award from Penn State University’s College of Arts and Architecture.
Active guest conductor and clinician throughout the country.
Plays trumpet with the Hollidaysburg Community Band.
Performs with the Altoona Brass Collective and the Blair County Brassworks for various community events and local church services.
Holds bachelor’s degrees in music education and music marketing from Clarion University and a master’s degree in Music Education from Pennsylvania State University.
Scott and his wife, Amy, live in Hollidaysburg and have a daughter, Elizabeth.