Kevin Facer, Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Maine Department of Education
I am happy to introduce you to Kevin Facer who joined the Department recently. He’d love to hear from you so don’t hesitate to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tell us about your professional (and if you’d like to include personal) background. How did you get where you are?
Hi Argy, thanks for the opportunity to meet arts educators through the blog. I was an arts kid in high school. The arts were, and still are important to me and most likely helped me stay in school. After high school, I served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and then started a community college program in photography. I worked as a blue collar chef and then photographer in commercial and fashion sectors in Philadelphia. I went back to graduate school and did an MA in Humanities and M.Ed. in Arts Ed., and started teaching photography after having a show at college. Currently, I’m working on a dissertation about artists and creative problem solving toward an Ed.D.
- What did you think of this real Maine winter?
This one seemed harsh. I hope it gets better.
- Why did you become an art teacher?
I didn’t set out on a career to become a teacher. I suppose it found me by accident. Having experience as a working photographer and making my own photographs to show led me to start teaching after an exhibit I had at a college. After a few years adjunct teaching, I began teaching high school photo and art. Working in a studio environment with students is a rewarding experience and I believe all arts teachers share a similar perception about what they do.
- What are you most passionate about in arts education?
As a teacher, for me it is all about creating memorable learning experiences. The kind of experiences students will know and remember because they grew and gained from doing it. Arts teachers understand the uniqueness of the creative learning process that ultimately lead to both self and creative discovery. Curriculum standards and learning outcomes are part of the process of teaching that frame steps in learning, but as teachers we also want to do things that spark creative thinking as a lifelong habit.
- What are your most important goals as VPA specialist?
Right now all of the core functions of the job seem important, with emphasis on supporting Proficiency Based Education and Educator Effectiveness. But with arts education specifically my work with MAAI, promoting arts integration with other content specialists and teachers, STEAM education as an approach to teaching, gifted education opportunities in the arts and building partnerships with arts teachers across the state, and connecting to community, state and national arts organizations are my priorities.
- What is your advice for arts educators?
I may not be the best choice for advice. But, I believe arts teachers need to take ownership of the arts programs in their school. Network and gain support from parents and your community. Showcase your work and the work of your students; collaborate and acts upon discussions with teachers and administrators in your school and those connected to you as these discussions can create great things. Look for unusual and customary ways to advocate for the arts in your conversations as these connections help everyone involved to become stronger and more engaged. Years ago, I taught in a high school that didn’t have a gallery space to show student work. Sure the hallways are okay, but I really wanted to do more. So, during a week there were school board and community meetings I got a 16’ truck and turned it into a mobile gallery, parked it in front of the meeting places and in town on Friday evening. Many people walked up the ramp to see the student show, which turned into strong support for the school and our arts programs.
- What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?
I spent some time thinking about how success can be defined in terms of stability of the arts program, status within the school and community, experience and notoriety of the teacher. These things can have influence on a program, but it’s all about student learning and their engagement with the arts. So, with this out front, my three keys are:
- Challenging Instruction – Think “Habits of the Mind” for the arts area you teach.
- Engagement – How active students are in their school and community about the arts.
- Legacy – This is from my experience as a high school art teacher, but when students wrote to me ten years after graduation about how their art experiences are used in their jobs, that they have a job (that they like) directly related to the arts, or send an invitation to an exhibit or performance, makes you think that maybe you made a positive difference.
- You’ve had a chance to check out the MAAI what benefits do you see in educators becoming involved?
Arts assessments are going to change the scope of arts instruction, not necessarily in the content of what is being taught, but definitely in how the arts will be taught and the nature of evaluation. Therefore, assessment is split into two major areas of Arts Knowledge (basic skills to include tests) and Art Ability (examples of production). This implies there is a shift in thinking from grading an assignment or project, to evaluating student learning. This is why being part of MAAI and learning new approaches to teaching and assessment will be valuable to teachers.
- If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?
It’s been far too long since my wife and I had a real vacation, but after that I would like to put the funds into the development of a center/institute for arts, craft and science where the mission is to discover connections between disciplines. Light on curriculum, heavy on creating, that would be my ideal learning environment.
Contact Information: email@example.com