Reflections on Leadership Academy 2011
As I sit back and reflect on my past year, two major professional events jump out at me. First, I graduated with my master’s degree in Arts Management. Second, I began an internship at the Arts Education Collaborative. I started my internship in September of 2011, and within a week, Deborah Pixton asked me if I would be interested in attending the Leadership Academy session at WQED. I had heard a little bit about LA (I knew it was a year-long professional development program for arts educators and arts and cultural organization representatives), but wanted to know more, so I decided to attend.
That very first LA session that I attended was truly eye-opening. I had spent hours upon hours listening to professors and guest speakers talk about good programming in my classes, but had never seen it in action. The LA session was everything I had been learning about: it was appropriate for the participants, it was logistically smooth, participants completed pre and post assessments that enabled the AEC to track participant learning, the list could go on and on. The most impressive aspect of LA was not something the AEC could have planned for or written in their program proposal - it was the people.
The sixteen members of the 2011 LA class came from different districts, counties, disciplines, and backgrounds, but you would have never known that these people were strangers three months prior to that September session. While it was apparent that they were intelligent, creative, and motivated as individuals, they were respectful, insightful and thoughtful as a group. As the year progressed and I had the opportunity to attend additional LA sessions, I continued to be amazed by this group. It is rare to be surrounded by people who are so passionate about what they are doing, and who are so genuinely supportive and engaged in their colleagues’ work.
The final LA session was no exception. Held on June 21st at the August Wilson Center, this was the final opportunity for the 2011 class to come together as a group. Much of the day was focused on creating sustainability maps. (INSERT PHOTO) Participants used post-it notes, chart paper and markers to map out the paths that their action plans had taken over the past year. They made sure to notate whether events were Planned Strategies, Unexpected Outcomes or Critical Incidents. In the afternoon, participants used their sustainability maps and other artifacts to tell the stories of their action plans. Finally, time was spent unpacking and reflecting on the entire LA experience.
While I learned a huge amount about the logistics of the LA program throughout the year (information that will definitely serve me well as a project manager at the AEC!), what really inspired me was working with and observing the members of this great community. As the AEC is preparing to welcome the new members of the 2012 LA class, I am excited about helping to grow and support a new group of learners and teachers, and can only hope that they inspire any new interns as much as the 2011 class inspired me.
By Kathleen Dean, Project Manager