2011 Leadership Academy
A Week at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture
“It was an empowering experience!” That’s how one teacher described her week as sixteen arts educators came together at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture for the Arts Education Collaborative’s ninth Leadership Academy. With high expectations for the start of this yearlong professional development experience, each came with hopes for their schools and communities, but also for themselves. Hopes that included making the arts central to what happens in their school or organization, as well as professional growth beyond what they have been a part of elsewhere.
Over the course of the week, they spent time in collegial dialogue about the dilemmas they, and their and organizations, are facing. They deliberated the continually shifting hot topics in education ruminated over the implications for student initiated learning in their classrooms via technology, and remembered what it means to be a lifelong learner. Each day provided the time and space for engaging as an artist, the “teacher as artist” component, designed to reconnect with the artistic part of themselves, a piece often leave behind when artists became educators. Session by session, the LA provided an environment for reflection and rejuvenation.
Five days later, each educator walked out with an action plan to be developed over the course of this school year. Though distinct, each plan has the inherent goal of making an essential difference. As these plans are realized, this year’s class will seek to practice and refine the leadership skills they have had all along and build relationships with those around them utilizing the recognition of various leadership styles. Together, these elements will enable these educators to implement their plans successfully. They will work with the support of the ninety-seven Leadership Academy alumni who have gone before them – educators who provide encouragement, guidance, and insights for new members. In concert with AEC resources, this network is a precious source of support for each educator’s action plan. With five follow up seminars scheduled, each educator will have additional opportunities for discussing their action plans and continuing to build on the knowledge and skills identified this summer. Each seminar will take place at a different arts and culture institution in the area, providing opportunities to learn about the resources available to those in the region who know where to look.
Congratulations to the 2011 Leadership Academy! We wish you the best of luck as you continue on your journey this year and work to implement your action plans, from writing and implementing curriculum, bonding students to their community, building communities of learners in their areas, and many others: Victor Capone (Pittsburgh Public Schools), Kate Ciarimboli (East Allegheny S.D.), Erin Cohen (Propel – Braddock Hills), Pierce Cook (Mt. Lebanon S.D.), Michelle Cooney (Propel – Montour), Becky Dougan (Pittsburgh Public Schools), Amanda Durick (Plum Borough S.D.), Rebecca Harvey (Highlands S.D.), Erich Lascek (Gateway S.D.), Rachel Mackanin (Cornell S.D.), Dawn Miller (Highlands S.D.), Rich Pantaleo (Ringgold S.D.), Jessica Peconi (Mt. Lebanon S.D.), Angela Seals (Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh), Sherrié Silvio (Bethlehem- Center S.D.), and Ellen Spondike (Shaler Area S.D.).
We look forward to seeing these plans actualized, and including these individuals among the one hundred fourteen educators who are a part of this extraordinary group.