To the Heroes
“Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me.” ― Fred Rogers
In March 2007 I walked into the Arts in Education class offered at the Heinz College of Carnegie Mellon University not knowing my life was going to change forever. I will never forget walking into the room where the furniture had been rearranged into a U shape (rather than the standard lecture style configuration). As I sat down next to a friend, I noticed the most striking thing: the professor was walking around the room introducing herself to each individual person. “Hi, I’m Sarah Tambucci,” she said. I almost fumbled my response because I was so startled. I knew right away that this was not going to be like my other courses. By the end of the term, I was hooked, and asked if I could apprentice with Dr. Tambucci’s organization in the fall. She said yes, and this marked the beginning of my time with the Arts Education Collaborative.
Not being an educator by formal training, I had (and have) a lot to learn. But both the staff and the constituents of the AEC were patient with me as I took each step. Over the past four years I have learned so much about education, how people learn, what really matters and myself. One of the most critical elements to our work has been to listen well and then ask, “How can we help?” These four powerful words demonstrate our commitment to the field, knowing that the challenges are many and that each of us needs to be heard and validated in order to make progress. As a learning organization, this information is always used to guide our work. The dedication to modeling the practice of lifelong learning and our willingness to accept and use feedback has been instrumental in creating a work culture that combats the norm where these models are not routinely cultivated.
I am eternally grateful for the privilege of working with each of the constituents of the AEC, as they continue to passionately inspire students and pursue their personal artistry with a commitment to excellence on both fronts. Each of you has made it possible for me to learn and grow both professionally and personally during this time and know that you strive to make this possible for all of the students you teach every day. Thank you.
Deb will be leaving the AEC at the end of 2011. She will continue to work on some projects remotely as she settles into her new life. We wish her well in her future endeavors.