Posts Tagged ‘Waterville High School’


Congratulations Sue Barre

March 17, 2022

National Federation of State High School Associations Awardee                 

In 1989 the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSH) established The Outstanding Music Educator Awards. Waterville High School music educator Susan Barre is an awardee!


Many of us know Sue’s tireless work for music education from her school district in Waterville, Maine to the state level and now at the national level. Sue teaches music to students in grades 5-12. I first met Sue when she became a Teacher Leader during Phase 3 of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI). She was a strong leader as MAAI transitioned to the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) and its latest iteration of the Maine Arts Education Partners in Leadership (MAEPL). Sue is a quiet and effective leader who is there when needed and is willing to take on a responsibility and give it her full attention. She can be trusted to not only to complete the task but, always at the highest level. She is a steady voice for all her students and the music education in her district continuously shines under her guidance. I’ve had the honor of working with Sue on many projects and watch her grow as a teacher, leader, and human being. We co-presented in Providence at the NAfME Eastern Division Conference in 2015 and again in 2017 in Atlantic City. This is certainly a well deserved award and I invite you to join me in CONGRATULATING SUE!


In addition to earning numerous awards and honors, Susan Barre has transformed Maine’s Waterville school music program to one of the state’s most respected, celebrating music and students of all abilities and interests.

After beginning her education career in 1989 and teaching music at various schools in Maine, Barre joined Waterville Public Schools in 2008 as band director for grades 5-12. In 2014, Barre was named department chair for Visual and Performing Arts at Waterville Senior High School and coordinator of music for grades K-12. During her tenure, Waterville students have consistently been recognized with Outstanding Music Awards.

In 2013, Waterville Ensembles were recognized with the “Spirit of DC” award recognizing responsible and respectful behavior. At the 2018 NYC Heritage Music Festival, the Waterville Music Department won the Sweepstakes Award for outstanding music department, and the concert and jazz band earned Gold Awards.

Barre has worked to revise the music curriculum, seeking consistency in music terms and practices, and coordinated the development and implementation of a portfolio for music students. The portfolio has become a blueprint for many other music programs in the state.

Locally, the Waterville music program has become an integral part of the arts community, recognized for its efficient hosting of local festivals each year. Waterville students regularly perform in the community and are active in the arts programs at nearby Colby College.

At the state level, Barre is a [past] president of the Maine Music Educators, which helped implement a paid executive director position for the organization and moved the state’s jazz programs from a competitive format to a festival format, where ensembles perform for a rating and not against each other. Barre is also president of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Eastern Division and served on the executive committee overseeing the planning and implementation of the 2021 Eastern Division Virtual Festival and Conference.

Sue Barre and Argy Nestor co-presenting, NAfME Eastern Division Conference, Atlantic City, 2017. Session: Leading a Way to Proficiency Through the Arts

Glorious Celebration!

December 18, 2018

Maine Excellence in Arts EducationLast Tuesday at the State House Complex the celebration for the Maine Excellence in Arts Education was held. The Maine Arts Commission (MAC) was proud to invite young artists and musicians from throughout the state and recognize them for their accomplishments. Over 250 attended the ceremony including 160 students from SeDoMoCha (Dover-Foxcroft) and Marshwood (Eliot) Middle Schools, 45 teachers and students from 9 Maine schools/districts. The chorus students had never met each other yet they came together and sang America, the Beautiful (arr.

Marshwood Middle School music educator Kris Bisson and SeDoMoCha School music educator Kaitlin Young share conducting America, the Beautiful

Ruth Elaine Schram) which started the afternoon program in the Hall of Flags. It was amazing and moved many in attendance to tears. The visual artists were recognized for their individual artwork by Julie Richard, the MAC Executive Director and Charles Stanhope, the MAC Chair.

Students from Marshwood, under the direction of music teacher Kristine Bisson, performed a piece called The River Sings its Song. The original lyrics and music were written by the students during a collaboration with Kris and Brian Evans-Jones. Brian is a teaching artist and a poet who did a residency during the 2017-18 school year. Students made the connection between an unused bridge in their community and their place in the world as young adolescents. During the performance students shared the story of the work which you can read below:

  • Rowan: Our school is comprised of students from Eliot and South Berwick, Maine as well as from Rollinsford, New Hampshire. There are nine rivers in these three communities, with some that flow into each other, much like our student body blending two independent states. We could easily connect to our rivers and bridges since most of us spend time near them in our towns. WE CAN RELATE.
  • Sylvia sharing part of the story

    Kelsey: We took a field trip to the bridge and river to discover the history this area has experienced. We were inspired by the natural beauty as we saw a great heron fly from its spot at the river’s edge. We wrote about the decaying bridge and the babbling river as the driving force that keeps going forward no matter what the season or changes might bring. This is how we feel about our own paths in life: nothing is impossible. WE HAVE PURPOSE.

  • Samantha: We learned about the native Americans, early settlers, and modern-day dwellers at this site. + We wrote a grant to work with a poet-artist-in-residence, Mr. Brian Evans-Jones, to help us dig deeply and gather thoughts into one complete lyric. + We learned how to create music that fit our thoughts and translate into comfortable melodies our voices could sing. + We trusted our fellow students to share our honest thoughts and ideas which led to a larger collaboration with our entire class; and later, the entire chorus of seventy-six students. WE LEARNED ABOUT EACH OTHER.
  • Julia: Our composition has two sections: one slow and solemn section for the bridge: abandoned, destined to be removed; another section for the river: always moving, reaching forward, regardless of destination, an unpredictable path.  The bridge is presented at the beginning, for this is what you see from afar as you travel the road. But surrounding the bridge, always, is the river. The river holds hope: providing power still, for our town. It is cleansing. It is peaceful. It is free. WE CREATE OUR LEARNING.
  • Marshwood Middle School Music educator, Kris Bisson, conducting the chorus.


  • Sylvia: PEOPLE BUILD BRIDGES, BRIDGES BUILD COMMUNITIES, COMMUNITIES BUILD OPPORTUNITIES. MARSHWOOD MIDDLE SCHOOL CHORUS DECIDED THAT WE WOULD EMBRACE OUR COMMUNITY AS OUR CLASSROOM. The metaphor of ADOLESCENCE being a BRIDGE was an easy one to relate to because there is a path before us;  yet we cannot predict the journey. And travelling the path is something we all have to do… sometimes together… sometimes alone… or sometimes with help…The elements of nature, history, and a sense of belonging are important to the human spirit. AND THIS IS WHAT WE WROTE…. WE HAVE POWER.
  • Kendra: We learned that a new footbridge for bikes and pedestrians is being planned by a local neighborhood organization. We wanted to help with this effort and held a school-wide Talent Show. We donated our proceeds to the Bridge Brigade towards the one-million-dollar cost of this project. We even had a model of the footbridge on display in our school to help spread the word about the efforts being made to keep a bridge in this location. WE EDUCATE OTHERS AND MAKE AN IMPACT. 
  • Students sharing the story, Hall of Flags, State House

    Dani: Beyond the notes, our students learned about each other and themselves. This project helped us to become reflective writers. We respected everyone’s personal ideas and many times offered encouragement to each other. We experienced creating melodies and harmonies that were designed entirely by us. We recorded melodies and emailed them to Mrs. Bisson or went to the piano to play what was in our heads so we could share with the class. And we shaped them all into one cohesive work: “THE RIVER SINGS ITS SONG”. WE COLLABORATE, AND TOGETHER,WE GROW.

  • Sabrina: In November of 2018 the State Department of Transportation removed the existing bridge. NOW THERE IS A VOID. We experienced history. We saw a bridge in need of repair. We learned that it wasn’t going to be healed. We witnessed photos of its removal. We witnessed loss. We would like to include two reflections from our chorus members to share the impact this project has had on our own development: “As we have experienced composing, practicing, and reflecting, I have developed a strong emotional connection with this piece. It symbolizes the change of our town landmark, but also the change I now see in me.
  • Kendra: “The struggles of adolescence are travelled by all of us and therefore, all can relate to this piece. The river’s emotions are brought to life in this lilting piece full of sorrow and mystery. Hope intertwines and creates crescendos of joy. Let the river sing its song!”

The performance was video taped in its entirety and posted on the Marshwood Education Foundation (one of the projects’ funders) Facebook page and by Senator Shenna Bellows. I suggest that you take a few minutes and watch and listen!

SeDoMoCha Middle School Chorus

Students, under the direction of SeDoMoCha music teacher Kaitlin Young, performed Glorious. And, incredibly glorious it was! The song was based on the composition performed by Macklemore, featuring Skylar Grey. The additional lyrics and choral arrangement was created by the SeDoMoCha Middle School Chorus which was based on their developmental transition. The audience was moved by their words and obvious passion for singing.

Olivia Larson, grade 4, Hancock Grammar School. Art teacher: Jane Snider

Thirty-six students representing nine schools along with their art teachers were recognized for their artwork which is part of an exhibit in the State House Complex including the Governor’s reception area, the Health and Human Services committee meeting room, the Education and Cultural Affairs committee meeting room, and MAC. This is a “first” time exhibit – the student work hangs in the same location as their teachers. The schools and teachers included in the exhibit are listed below. All are teacher leaders with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. Grade 4 student from Hancock Grammar School, Olivia Larson was so excited and proud she said: “This is the best day of my life”.

  • Gorham Middle School, Teacher: Amy Cousins
  • Hancock Grammar School, Teacher: Jane Snider
  • Jonesport Elementary and Jonesport Beals High School, Teacher: Lisa Marin
  • Marshwood Middle School, Eliot, Teacher: Melanie Crowe
  • Maranacook Middle School, Readfield, Teacher: Hope Lord
  • Oxford Hills High School, South Paris, Teacher: Cindi Kugell
  • Brewer High School, Teacher: Lori Spruce
  • Richmond Middle School and High School, Teacher: Jeffrey Orth
  • Waterville High School, Teacher: Suzanne Goulet

Amy Cousins, Gorham Middle School art teacher and two of her students receiving their certificates from Argy Nestor, left and Julie Richard, right

The pride was evident in the faces of students, teachers, family members, and legislators. The art is on display at the following locations until April 31, 2019:

  • Maine Arts Commission
  • Cross Office Building second floor North and South corridors
  • Education & Cultural Affairs Committee room 202
  • Health & Human Services Committee room 209
  • State House, Office of the Speaker of the House
  • State House, Governor’s Reception Area

If you’d like a map that includes the location of each piece email me and I’d be glad to email or snail one to you.

Below is a video created by the Maine Arts Commission Marketing & Communications Director Ryan Leighton. You can see photos of the artwork at THIS LINK and photos of the day at THIS LINKI hope you’ll visit the exhibit.


Congrats Waterville High School

April 6, 2018

Heritage Festival, New York City

Recently Waterville High School musicians traveled to New York City for the Heritage Festival. Not only did they come home with awards but they had a chance to experience part of the culture that New York has to offer.

Chaperone and Waterville High School nurse Ann Bouchard describes the pride in the music students and their trip to New York City:

So lucky to have been part of this amazing experience with exceptional musicians and people—-our students!!!  Colleagues and chaperones were top notch.  Thanks to our music educators for giving the gift of music to our children and students and for enriching our lives with their gifts.  As was said at the festival, “The arts make our world civilized.”  Thank goodness something does and these educators and musicians have a hand in the civilizing of our part of the world”.

Sue Barre with her son and daughter, juniors at Waterville High School

Waterville music educator Sue Barre words to school staff on the return from New York:

“We had a wonderful few days. First and foremost we would like to share the compliments we received on how polite and well behaved our students are. Kudos to all at WSHS for that”!


Ensembles are adjudicated on a scale that is used nationwide at Heritage Festivals. Student ensembles were from California, Florida, Maryland, Ohio, and Maine. This included 700-800 students.

Gold awards indicates scores of 90-100. The Waterville ensembles that earned Gold ratings:

  • chorus
  • sound check
  • strings
  • band
  • jazz band

Four of the six awards presented for Outstanding Musicianship were presented to Waterville students

  • Alex Lecrone – sound check
  • Soren Nyhus – strings
  • Natalia Fuentes – string
  • Aubrey Fossett – band and jazz band

Each school was asked to nominate a student who not only is a strong musician but also a good school citizen, scholar, and overall person. Selected for this award from the entire festival was Waterville’s Soren Nyhus!

  • Best overall Band Program – Waterville
  • Best overall String Program – Waterville
  • Best overall Instrumental Program – Waterville
  • Adjudicators Award for Concert Band – average of 92 or more on scores – Superior Performance
  • Festival Award for Best Program – Waterville

Congratulations to the Waterville Music educators for their outstanding teaching and preparing students to participate in this event!

  • Sue Barre – Band and department chair
  • Ciara Hargrove – Vocals
  • Graybert Beacham – Strings

Waterville High School GRAMMY School

November 23, 2015

Congratulations to the music program!

Waterville Senior High School selected as 2016 GRAMMY Signature School

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 8.01.47 AMThe GRAMMY Foundation has selected 119 schools nationwide as GRAMMY Signature Schools semifinalists for 2016. Created in 1998, the GRAMMY Signature Schools program recognizes top U.S. public high schools that are making an outstanding commitment to music education during an academic school year.

Each of the GRAMMY Signature Schools finalists will receive a custom award and monetary grant to benefit its music program. The top programs are designated Gold recipients, and the best program of the Gold recipients is designated as the National GRAMMY Signature School. The remaining schools are designated as GRAMMY Signature Schools. For schools that are economically underserved, the GRAMMY Foundation established the Enterprise Award to recognize the efforts these schools have made in music education. A list of semifinalist schools in the Enterprise Award category will be posted in mid-December. The GRAMMY Signature Schools program is made possible in part by the generous support of Converse, Ford Motor Company Fund, Hot Topic Foundation, Journeys, Les Paul Foundation, and RBC Foundation USA.

The GRAMMY Foundation has also established the GRAMMY Signature Schools Community Award, an extension of the GRAMMY Signature Schools program. Through our partnership with Converse, the Hot Topic Foundation, Journeys, Les Paul Foundation, Brookfield Properties and the RBC Foundation USA, the GRAMMY Foundation identifies deserving public high school music programs to receive the award and a $2,000 grant. To date, 500 awards totaling approximately $1 million in grants have been distributed to high school music programs.

“From our perspective, many public high schools across the country provide top notch music education programs for their students—often working with very limited financial means,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation. “Our GRAMMY Signature Schools program steps in to augment those resources with cash grants, and to celebrate the excellence of these programs and the beneficial and lasting effects of a music curriculum in the lives of young people. We are especially excited to celebrate a landmark in our GRAMMY Signature Schools Community Award program, which has awarded its 500th grant since the initiative began in 2010.”

In mid-March 2016, the GRAMMY Foundation will announce the finalists for the GRAMMY Signature Schools program. These schools will receive a custom award and a monetary grant ranging from $1,000 up to $6,000 to benefit their music program.


Another Teacher’s Story: Sue Barre

March 4, 2014

Featuring one teacher’s journey as an arts educator

This is the first for 2014 and the third phase of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative of this  series of blog posts telling arts teachers’ stories. This series contains a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read the stories and to learn from others.

SueBarreSue Barre teaches students in Grades 5-12 at Waterville High School and Junior High School and the Albert S. Hall School. She has been the Band Director since 2007 and was the Chorus Director from 2007 – 2007. Sue also teaches Band and HS Music Theory. Sue has been a teacher leader with the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) during the last year. She took a graduate course with the New England Teacher Institute for Teacher Education 2 years ago and she was “hooked”. The rest is history as Sue is committed to the MAAI and the quality of work she is doing.

Her student breakdown includes the following:

  • Grade 5 band – 38 students
  • Grade 6 band – 30 students
  • Grade 7/8 band – 55 students
  • HS Band – 58 students
  • JH and SH Jazz Bands
  • HS Pep Band

Sue was the Director of the Pit Orchestra for fall musical, has worked in public schools for 19 years, teaching instrumental and choral music. She is the owner of Music Together, a preschool music program, for 5 years.

What do you like best about being a music/art/drama/dance educator?

I most enjoy watching the light bulbs go on for students, those “aha” moments.  The sense of accomplishment when an ensemble performs a piece effectively is priceless.  In my current position I truly enjoy watching the students grow and mature from fifth graders until they are heading off to college.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

  1. Support of Administration in word and action.
  2. Passion for teaching by the educator.
  3. A “glass is half full” attitude by the educator.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

Assessments have allowed me to converse with my students in a meaningful manner using a common language. Assessments have also required me to assess my own teaching and learning.  I am constantly learning what works for students and what does not.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

To be in a room with educators who share a passion for quality education and assessment is invigorating. The Arts Initiative has given me what seems to be bottomless supply of resources for teaching and learning, assessing and reporting and a place where others feel as passionately as I do about arts education!

What are you most proud of in your career?

That I have made a difference in students lives. Facebook has afforded me the opportunity to hear from former students and I am often amazed what affected them the most in the classroom and beyond.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

At this point in my life it is time, much time is dedicated to motherhood (that I would not trade for the world).  If I could add eight hours a day for prep for school that would be ideal.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

The improvement of my jazz band programs over the last nine years has been hard work. As a french horn player this is not a genre of music that I studied a lot or performed often. I need to work for every point we earn.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Remember that no matter how big they appear, all of the students (even those seniors) are children. They need structure and guidance and to know you care. You need to be their teacher and not their friend. If you are honest and hardworking and show that you care success will find you.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

10% to charity to repay the help that we have received over the years and then I would take my family to Disney and let them do anything they want!

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

No I do not. I have my faith, I have my beautiful family and I have a job that I find rewarding and truly love.  I tell my students that I have never heard anyone say later in life that they wished they had spent more time at work and I try hard to model the importance of family each and every day.


Waterville Senior High School

November 18, 2013

Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 8.39.51 AMScreen shot 2013-11-13 at 8.40.15 AM


Spirit of Washington DC Award

April 5, 2013

Waterville High School Musicians spend 5 days in DC

Screen shot 2013-04-01 at 10.15.11 PMI received an email from Waterville music teacher Sue Barre who shared a message that she (and colleague Ciara Hargrove) sent to the parents of the Waterville High School music students as they were heading home on a bus from Washington DC. With her permission I am reprinting it and suggest you read the article that was posted on the Waterville High School web page at

CONGRATULATIONS to the 77 music students representing Waterville High School!

At 10 AM we are headed north the buses are fairly quiet with very tired children (and adults!).  Tired but full of stories and memories to share.

It was inspiring to sit at the music festival’s banquet last night with students from 40 schools, 1200 people in total representing eleven states.  

Trip highlights
At Arlington National Cementary as the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier was underway an Air Force General being laid to rest was honored by a fly by overhead where one plane pulls away from the formation in tribute, it was breath taking.

We saw the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial and visited the Lincoln Memorial and took a picture on the steps with everyone.

Some of us went on a tour of the Capital, others the Holocaust Museum and we all saw the Smithsonian Museums, we drove by the White House and the Supreme Court and so much more….

The students have been on time and on task (we did have one room of freshman boys oversleep one morning…not sure they will ever live that down :-)!    

Musical Highlights
All three ensembles performed to their fullest potential earning 3 excellent ratings, silver awards.

Spirit of DC Award
One school at the festival, of the forty, is recognized for outstanding behaviors such as being cooperative, polite, receptive and helpful, responsible and respectful.  A “sportsmanship award” for lack of a better term. Waterville Senior High was recognized with that award last night. This means as much ( if not more) as the music awards.  We are very proud to call these students our own.  Thank you for sharing them.

Please have patience with your children if they are grumpy over the next few days due to fatigue.  Know they helped us earn that Spirit of DC award, they were and are awesome.

Thank you Sue for sharing this information with the meartsed blog readers!


Eagles Have Landed

May 28, 2012

Suzanne Goulet’s artroom is watching closely

WABI TV5 visited Suzanne’s artroom recently at Waterville High School. She has a high powered telescope set up in her room to keep an eye on an eagles nest with baby eagles. Suzanne discovered the eagles nest two years ago. This year because of school renovations she had to move to a classroom on the other side of the building which just happens to have a great view of the nest. She was pleasantly surprised to young ones this spring and it has turned into a great learning opportunity. You can see the entire clip from WABI by clicking here.


Assessment Regional Workshop: Shannon Campbell

March 30, 2012

Waterville High School, March 22, 2012

Thank you to Suzanne Goulet, Waterville High School art teacher, who provided this post from her experience at the assessment initiative regional workshop. Photos by Suzanne also.

Mud season.

Time to let the liquid stores of winter settle, shift, drain in anticipation of the bloom.
It is a time of patience and planning.

Gathering to learn more about the statewide Arts Assessment Initiative, visual arts educators from Peru to Deer Isle met recently in Waterville, taking advantage of this time of preparation.

The Arts Initiative is facilitated by regional leaders that have participated in emerging their own training and explorations in assessment. Then, coordinating and facilitating interactions between other educators, Shannon Campbell, our regional leader, did the excellent job of sharing and preparing this groundwork for growth among “area” colleagues.

Discussions of “what works”, “real” and “ideal” were all supported with experiences, struggles, groans, laughs, thank yous………….and planning of when we gather again.

Something is blooming here.

Participants – Shannon Campbell (Deer Isle), Katrina Billings (Winslow), Suzanne Goulet (Waterville), Gloria Hewett (Mount View), Lisa Ingraham (Madison) and Karen Thayer (Dirigo)


National Art Education Conference

March 15, 2012

Waterville High School Art Teacher, Suzanne Goulet, thoughts on her trip to NYC

Energized and exhausted……….

Middle of June? Ready for summer…..right?

It is only the beginning of March and it is time to reflect on the incredible opportunity of attending the national convention for the National Art Education Association held recently in New York City.

A thousand offerings of workshop opportunities, cultural resources, provocative general sessions and intimate pedagogical conversations with colleagues can be overwhelming to plan…….but you don’t have to…….it happens every year……and you just have to get there.

A few snapshots:

Chuck Close

The president of RISD (“reason I am sleep deprived”), John Maeda presented the argument for respecting the role of the arts in The Meaning of Innovation… a revealing delivery on how only one letter separates “FEAR” from “FREE” (“STEM” to “STEAM”).

The conversation between Chuck Close and Irving Sandler (one with thousands of people…standing room only in the grandest of halls) had me envisioning us in an apartment, …. Left Bank?……were we in a salon? Struggling with math his whole life…..I now question the role of SAT scores in selection for art scholarships….Mr. Close stressed the teaching of good solid work ethics…….something he is thankful for having a good foundation in.

A few surprise passing meetings of Maine colleagues (we have to go to NY to see each other?) workshops, workshops, sessions, sessions and more late in to the night content investigations with colleagues from VT, LA, and DE…….”How do you do this?……where is your state on….? You have snow days?…we have fog days!”  Invigorating visits to the Met, MoMA and my favorite noodle nook (I can now order, “the usual”) registering 15 miles in three days on the pedometer……how DOES that happen?……..

One of two final slides from Olivia Gude session- "Evocative and Provocative Pedagogy: Toward a Culture-Changing Curriculum"

Energized and exhausted………

…..and it is NOT the middle of June.

This is a good thing……..I have time to implement these discoveries…….not a moment to loose!

(2013 convention scheduled for Fort Worth and 2014 is in San Diego……….see you there?)

Thank you Suzanne for sharing the highlights of your trip. I can almost imagine being there!

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