What Administrators Said

October 17, 2015

Kudos to Arts Teachers

Photo from the Statewide Arts Ed conference The Measure of Success

Photo from the Statewide Arts Ed conference The Measure of Success

When teachers registered for the Biennial Statewide Arts Education Conference The Measure of Success they were asked to provide their principals email address. Those principals received an email asking them to write a few sentences that described why they valued their schools visual or performing arts educator. The following are some of those responses:

Barbara Jordan, Principal at the Albert S. Hall School in Waterville said about Art Teacher Hollie Hilton:

Hollie is an amazing Art teacher. She is creative and knowledgeable when it comes to bringing art education to our 4th and 5th grade students. Her lessons inspire a love for the arts and bring depth to student learning. Student work is displayed throughout our school and demonstrates the masterful way Hollie delivers the visual arts curriculum to our students as they explore and create a variet of art genres using different techniques and resources. Hollie, thanks for bringing your passion, skills, and creativeness to our school. It is much appreciated.

Barbara Jordan said about Music Teacher Mary Matteson:

Mary is a teacher that goes above and beyond for our students. She is passionate about music education. She wants our 4th and 5th grade students at the Albert S. Hall School to experience all that music has to offer. She is instrumental in providing vocal music, chorus, recorder, and Orff instruction to all children by requesting and packing her daily schedule full, so that students do not miss out on core instruction. She provides after school opportunities for our students to participate in Making Merry Music – where the students go in to the community and sing for others (i.e. nursing care facilities). She is a champion for the students that need a champion! Mary, thanks for bring fun, enthusiasm, thoughtfulness and dedication to your job. It is much appreciated.

Jason Libby, Principal at Woolwich Central School said about Music Teacher Elizabeth Whitney:

Mrs. Whitney’s passion for providing our students with opportunities to participate in band or chorus is unrivaled. It would scare me to count the number of hours Mrs. Whitney dedicates to producing our school musical or talent show every year.

Mike Tracy, Principal at Cape Elizabeth Middle School said about Music Teacher Nancy Murray:

Through Nancy Murray’s work with students, students find their voice, light up, and sing with joy and pride!

Chad Bell, Principal at Winslow High School said about Art Teacher Katrina Billings:

Mrs. Billings is a true inspiration to her students. Not only does she engage the students in their art work, she makes opportunities for the students to become real life artists. In her class, she creates a culture of an art studio where students creative juices can flow. The art studio is always open to students. Whether it be during their study hall, lunch, or after school students are always welcome in Mrs. Billings’ room. She has even created an art club for the students to come in once a week to the art studio.

The student art work breathes life to Winslow High School, as the halls, cafeteria, student commons, and main office become a gallery for the students’ art work. The halls become a little bare at the end of the year when students take their art work home… only to be replaced the following year with more and more masterpieces! The yearly art show that she puts on with the students at the Winslow Public Library is always a hit with the community.

As if this wasn’t enough, she has raised the ambitions of our students by looking for opportunities for our students outside of Winslow High School. It is not uncommon to find Winslow High School students’ work on display at the Common Ground Art Gallery in Waterville or the Colby College Art Museum.

Mrs. Billings’ passion for art education in none like I have ever seen. Winslow High School is very fortunate to have her leading the art program for our students!

Leigh Larson, Principal at Hampden Academy said about Music teachers Pat Michaud and Heidi Corliss:

Heidi Corliss and Pat Michaud are at the center of our music program. They bring in world acclaimed guest artists and conductors on a regular basis to work with and inspire our students, who are continually active in the community and consistently score in the top tier at adjudicated festivals. Four years ago, the band and choruses performed in the Heritage Festival in NYC and received silver awards. Our Voices Unlimited Jazz/Show choir and our jazz ensembles are consistently in the top 3 of the state. For the past 2 years, Jazz Ensemble has been state champions for large schools in Maine. We have added additional music courses such as “African Drumming” and “Music Industry” to allow our non-traditional music students an opportunity to participate in the arts. We have many former students teaching music and performing music both in and out of state.

We often receive invitations to perform for events around the state. Both the chamber singers and symphonic band have performed at the Maine music educators’ conference. The band will be performing with the UMaine Symphonic Band at the Collins Center on the UMaine campus in December. The chamber singers have performed for the annual superintendent’s conference and have been invited to perform with the Black Bear Men’s Chorus at the university next spring.

Our new performing arts center is a testament to the strength of our music program and the work of both Pat and Heidi. We generally have 150-200 students involved in the music program here. We strive for high quality performance in planning for this building. The state would pay for 267 seats in our auditorium (one third of the student population). Heidi spoke at many civic organization meetings to let the community know what we could do with a larger facility than what the state would pay for. The building committee was supportive in how they presented the plan and the community overwhelmingly supported a 900 seat facility with full “fly” space and dressing rooms. There was a very successful “gala” event in the opening of our performing arts center to bring Heidi and Pat’s efforts full circle.

Marianne Sylvain, Principal at Sanford High School said this about Art teacher Meghan Dietsch:

This is Meghan’s second year at SHS. She teaches Art Fundamentals. Painting and Computer Art. She is very proud of her painting class students who are eager and motivated to improve and redo their work. We are very fortunate that Meghan is one of our Art Teachers. She has grown professionally over the past year and instills the love for art in all of her students.

Marianne Sylvain said about Choral Music teacher Jane Kirton:

Jane is instrumental at our school in helping our students understand the learning standards for Music. She has collaborated with the junior high school teachers and has helped with the alignment of the learning standards for grades 6 through 12.

Because Jane teaches a 6th grade chorus class as well as high school classes she has helped to create strong connections with the junior high music program. Enrollment continues to increase because of Jane’s interaction with both the high school and the junior high. We are very pleased that this year, after a few years of having no musical plays, Jane will be organizing a musical at our school.

The music program contributes to so many school activities! Last November we participated (and won) the School Spirit Challenge by contributing the most food among 8 competing schools, for the Good Shepherd Food Pantry. The band, led by teacher Josh Champagne, and the chorus provided music for the Pep Rally for the School Spirit Challenge. Performances at games, pep rallies, plays, musicals, parades, school concerts and community concerts make the music program an integral part of school life and community traditions.

We are grateful for our vibrant music program as we look forward to a newly constructed high school in the Fall of 2018 which will include a wonderful auditorium for the performing arts!

Marianne Sylvain said about Art teacher Maggie Warner:

Maggie has been an art teacher at Sanford High School for 11 years. She teaches Art Fundamentals, Studio Art and photography. Maggie is proud of her special needs students who do so well in her class. Maggie helps to put on the District Art Show each year. This is a full week event that the K-12 schools contribute to. Students, parents and the community are all invited to come and see the wonderful art work produced by the schools.

Christine Lajoie-Cameron, Principal at Carrie Ricker School said this about Art teacher Jen Williams:

Jen was hired late in the summer to fill a vacancy at our school. She hit the ground running and created a beautiful and dynamic art space (working nights and weekends.) Our students LOVE art class with Mrs. Williams and it is obvious that they are highly engaged and motivated in her class. When it comes to art – pictures tell the whole story. We are so lucky to have found Mrs. Williams!

These comments plus many more hung during the conference on October 9 at the Point Lookout Conference Center. The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative is proud of the outstanding work that arts educators are doing across the state of Maine.

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