Looking Back

September 3, 2013

7 years of “getting stuff done”

DSC03189After a productive day my husband and I use the term: “now we’re getting stuff done”! It is always a satisfying feeling! During the last few days as I sift through folders and electronic documents I am reminiscing about what we’ve gotten done! (And wondering how I’ve accumulated soooooo much stuff in such a small space!) I say “WE”, since as many of you know, I truly believe that none of us is as smart as all of us and that a single bracelet doesn’t jingle.

Thank you for the emails, phone calls, and cards I’ve received during the last week since I announced my move from the Maine Department of Education to the Maine Arts Commission. Below is a list, that doesn’t include everything, but certainly the highlights during my 7 year tenure at the Department.

  • Started at MDOE – August 16, 2006
  • Conducted a survey to learn the needs of Maine arts educators – 350 educators responded – Winter 2007
  • Started the Arts Education List-serv in Jan. 2008 and a weekly newsletter called “news from argy’s cubby with a view of the statehouse dome” to communicate with the 350 educators who had responded to the invitation to fill out the survey
  • Switched from the weekly newsletter to the meartsed Blog https://meartsed.wordpress.com/ in January 2009 with the main purpose of communicating Department news and arts education news from throughout Maine
  • The Arts Ed List-serv grew one person at a time from 350 in Jan. 08 to 1000 in Jan. 09, to 1023 in May 2011 and to 1213 today.
  • First in 10 year state-wide arts education conference, “At the Creative Center” planned by Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE), Maine Arts Commission (MAC) and MDOE with 400 arts educators attending. Keynote speaker was Scott Shuler on arts assessment, Samoset, Rockport – Oct. 2007
  • Visual Thinking Strategies workshop – Point Lookout – Spring 2008
  • State-wide arts education conference “The Arts Connect”, 350 attendees. Keynote speaker was the 2007 National Teacher of the Year and music educator Andrea Peterson. Point Lookout, Northport – Oct. 2009
  • State-wide census work in arts education, collaboration – MDOE and MAAE – 2007-2009, report released in Oct. 2009 http://www.maine.gov/education/lres/vpa/news.html
  • Imagination Intensive Communities (IIC) work, collaboration – MDOE and MAAE – 2009. First 6 communities selected 2010. IIC received the Best Practice award from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills – Oct. 2010
  • A Single Bracelet Does Not Jingle – A conversation about Leadership, 100 attendees, Point Lookout – Oct. 2010
  • Rob Westerberg, Catherine Ring and Argy attended New England Arts Assessment Institute, Plymouth University – Aug. 2010. Follow-up created the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative. Launched phase 1 in Spring of 2011 identified 18 teacher leaders to attend professional development institute on Leadership, Technology, and Assessment. As follow-up they created workshops which they delivered to about 600 arts educators during the 11-12 school year. Funding secured from Title II. Established the MAAI wiki.
  • State-wide arts ed assessment conference – Oct. 2011, Arts Teachers Lead the Way… Back to the Future: Arts Assessment For Learning. Teacher leaders workshops.              7 webinars archived with meeting plans. Posted 18 Another Arts Teacher’s Story on meartsted blog. Graduate courses on Arts assessment with the New England Institute for Teacher Education.
  • Maine joined the national conversation on the National Core Arts Standards – November 2011
  • Launched phase 2 of MAAI – Spring 2012 – 20 new Teacher Leaders selected. 15 returned from phase 1. Professional development on Assessment, Technology, Creativity, and Leadership. Regional and Mega-regional workshops presented during 12-13 school year. 4 standards-based arts classrooms videos created and posted on YouTube. 20 Another Arts Teacher’s story posted on the meartsed blog. Workshop at National Art Ed Association conference on the MAAI. Graduate courses on Arts assessment. Created a Crosswalk showing the direct connects between the MAAI and the DOEs strategic plan: “Education Evolving: Maine’s Plan for Putting Learners First” – May 2012. Funding secured from Title II. Assessment items created and deposited.
  • Bronwyn Sale, Catherine Ring and Argy present MAAI at National Art Education Association conference – March 2013.
  • First draft of National Core Arts Standards released. Reviewed by MAAI teacher leaders. Maine report provided.
  • First Lady Ann LePage Baby Journal project with the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. 20 student artworks selected to be included – May 2013. Books will be distributed to all parents having babies at Maine hospitals.
  • Launched Phase 3 of MAAI – May 2013. 14 teachers selected as teacher leaders and attended along with 21 returning teacher leaders 3-day professional development. Focus: Proficiency (LD 1422) and standards, Outreach and Advocacy. Title II funds awarded. Plans for 13-14 included: Statewide conference Arts Education: Leading the Way with 35 workshops offered. Presentation on the National Core Arts Standards presented by Lynn Tuttle. Regional and Mega-regional workshops. 4 webinars with meeting plans and archived. 4 videos of standards-based arts ed classrooms. Graduate courses with New England Institute for Teacher Education. Depository work with 6 teacher leaders each creating 2 complete units.
  • Five years of student works of art selected for screen savers for MLTI computers.
  • About 200 students art work selected for exhibit at the Department of Education. Each one culminated with a Celebration of Arts Education at the Blaine House with First Lady Ann LePage, chair of State Board of Education, Commissioner of Education. Dance, Theatre, Music student performances and recognized along with student artists for accomplishments. 2008-present
  • Weekly visitors to the blog: 1200-1400.
  • This blog post is number 1631

IMG_3628A timeline is available with more details by clicking here.

In closing this blog post I want to thank all of you who have come along on this journey for the past 7 years. You’ve all been so peachy to work with and I really appreciate it! Please know that Maine Arts Education will continue to get stuff done!

One of my favorite sayings from Aristotle that exemplifies our collaboration and accomplishments: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.


  1. Argy, thank you for building a whole Department from a tiny Cubby!!!! Blessings, and best wishes, Iris

    Iris D. Fields, IBO FIELDS/VENTURES P.O. Box 426 Brunswick, ME 04011

    Tel: (207)729-8049 *www.mmpforyou.com/iris*

    “Forget all the reasons why it won’t work, and focus on the reason why it will!”

  2. Hi Argy,

    Congratulations on your new position, I am so happy for you and very proud of you. You are a giant, best wishes in your new position. I know you will be super. Send your new contacts when you can.

    Take care,


  3. Well done Argy, congratulations on your new path, MAC is lucky to have you…as is the State of Maine. I’m glad you’ll still be fighting the good fight. Most Sincerely, Nancy Barron Harlow Gallery

    Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2013 13:34:58 +0000 To: nkbme@hotmail.com

  4. Thank you Iris!It has been my pleasure to serve at the Maine DOE! ~Argy

  5. Thank you Dorothy! My contact info at the Maine Arts Commission is argy.nestor@maine.gov. 193 State Street 25 SHS
    Augusta ME 04333-0025. Main line: 287-2724 and direct line: 287-2713.

  6. Thank you Nancy for your support of arts education. ~Argy

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