past asn awards winners

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Arts Schools Network’s Awards honor ASN member schools and individuals, as well as their communities, for their commitment to and demonstration of excellence in arts education. The award winners were recognized at ASN’s Annual Conference.

2016 awards

Arts Innovation

Center for Community Arts Partnerships at Columbia College Chicago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Literary and Fine Arts School (King Arts), Chicago, IL

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Arts Integration
Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts, Hartford, CT




Community Partnership
Esther F. Garrison School of Visual and Performing Arts, Savannah, GA and Savannah Music Festival “Musical Explorers Program”

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New and Emerging School
Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy, TX

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Outstanding Arts School Alumni
Nicole Mathis-Berman, Director,Dance Department, ArTES Magnet San Fernando, CA (BFA Dance and Choreography CalArts and M.Ed. National University)

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Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton Emerging Leader(s) 3 designees 

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Melanie Hammer, Assistant Principal, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Jacksonville, FL


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John Lawler, Principal, ArTES Magnet, San Fernando, CA


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Teren Shaffer, Dean of Arts Conservatories, Orange County School of the Arts, Santa Ana, CA


Teacher of the Year
Dr. Mark Hoover, Vocal Music Director, Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences, WA

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Jeffrey Lawrence Award
Rory Pullens, Executive Director of Arts Education, Los Angeles Unified School District, CA

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We thank the Past Presidents Awards Committee for selecting our 2016 winners

Ralph Opacic, Ed.D., Orange County School of the Arts, Santa Ana, CA

Denise Davis-Cotton, Ed.D., Detroit School of Arts, MI

Roy Fluhrer, Ph.D., Fine Arts Center of Greenville, SC

Catherine Thompson, District of Niagara Academy for the Arts, Canada

Mitzi Yates Lizarraga, Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, CA


2015 awards

The Arts Innovation Award goes to the Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts, in Hartford, CT, for “breaking the mold” in using arts in teaching academics, and for making a positive difference in the students’ lives and their community.


The mission of Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts is to provide each student with an enriched educational environment, which fosters artistic, independent and critical thinking through performing arts integrated instruction in grades prekindergarten through 12. Kinsella has students from 45 different zip codes. The cultural and socio-economic differences are vast. Seeing a need for literacy improvements, Kinsella established its own 501c3 non-profit organization, known as Kinsella Arts Incorporated (KAI) to support a series of Parent Literacy Nights. The purpose was to engage the parents of students in Grades K-3 by providing night-time reading workshops that allowed parents and their children opportunities to explore readying through innovative approaches – through music, movement, drama and percussive instructions.



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Max H. Gluck Foundation and Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, CA, receive the Community Partnership Award for fostering artistic and educational understanding and enhancing its community.

The Max H. Gluck Foundation has partnered with the Orange County School of the Arts to offer the Gluck Community Service Arts Fellowship Program, providing free arts outreach to more than 400,000 underserved community members over the past decade. This program sends OCSA student arts groups into the surrounding community to bring the arts to those who have no access. These enriching experiences provide a community service, as well as growth and learning opportunities for OCSA students. The Max H. Gluck Foundation is a private family foundation developed to focus on education and the arts. From schools to hospitals to wider public audiences, programs funded by the Foundation reach out to students in many underserved communities. The programs are presented in nontraditional spaces, including youth centers, schools, family festivals, homeless shelters, libraries, parks, health centers, hospitals and retirement facilities.



Clinton McCracken, Magnet Coordinator, Howard Middle School,  Orlando, FL, is this year’s recipient of the Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton Emerging Leader Award.  This award is designed to recognize excellence and achievement among rising arts schools administrators and to highlight the educational innovation practices or programs of those leaders.

Clinton McCracken has been teaching at Howard Middle School, a public school in downtown Orlando, for 15 years. He has taught Art Foundations, Ceramics and Sculpture, Photography, and Fiber Arts. He believes in the power of shared knowledge and has supervised seven art teacher interns, finding their energy and new ideas inspiring. His leadership experience also extends into the development of the magnet program at Howard. After writing a successful proposal for the School Board to create a magnet program for the arts at Howard, he assumed the role of Magnet Director while still teaching. Before it became a magnet school, Howard Middle was proposed for closure. Currently there is a waiting list for students to attend. McCracken holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Truman State University and a Masters in Art Education from the University of Central Florida.



Camille Zamora, alumna of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Houston TX, has won this year’s Outstanding Arts School Alumni Achievement Award for fostering artistic and academic achievement in talented young people and her outstanding accomplishments in citizenship, arts, and academics.

Camille Zamora, co-founder of Sing for Hope, is an alumna of Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA). Zamora was so affected by the death from HIV/AIDS of a friend that she launched the first step of what would become Sing for Hope. She asked her opera friends to help raise funds for Omega House, a residential AIDS hospice, by presenting “A Concert of Art Songs and Arias.” Her concerts grew and moved to larger venues in Houston, and Zamora established a larger organization, which attracted support from large businesses and corporations. To date these concerts have raised nearly three million dollars for HIV/AIDS community services. An outgrowth of the program has been an invitation for HSPVA’s High School Chorale to participate in the annual concert, giving the students an opportunity to perform with young opera singers and to help those in need.




Howard Middle School in Orlando, FL receives the Outstanding Arts School Award, presented for outstanding overall excellence in faculty and student achievements, community recognition and involvement, arts and academics integration, curriculum innovations, continuing growth and development, and state and national recognition.

Howard Middle School (VPA Magnet) is in the Orange County Public School district and is located in downtown Orlando, FL. The school has an enrollment of 1,046 and is the only Visual and Performing Arts middle school magnet in the district. The Visual and Performing Arts magnet program is integrated throughout the school through more than 45 different elective course offerings, arts performances, competitions, and exhibits, and rigorous core courses. Arts courses include Visual Art, Digital Art, Dance Chorus, Orchestra, Band, Guitar, and Acting. In addition, many audition-based courses are provided such as Show Choir, Jazz Band, Orchestra Ensemble, Acting Troupe, and Dance Troupe. Advanced Visual Art courses include Ceramics/Sculpture, Photography and Graphic Design. Students also experience arts integration strategies in all of their core courses which make authentic connections between the standards of each core discipline with those of arts disciplines.


ArTES Magnet in San Fernando, CA, receives this year’s New and Emerging School Award.

ArTES was founded in 2011 by a team of dedicated teachers seeking the autonomy to open an innovative, model arts school in an underserved neighborhood. ArTes opened as a teacher-led Pilot school and was given broad autonomy to innovate and address the many issues surrounding education in struggling inner city schools. ArTES is the first school in the district to be both a Pilot school and a Magnet school. ArTES serves 500 students per year who learn not only to be artists, but to think like artists and to address the world’s complexities using art and highly developed communication skills. Sequenced arts courses engage students in exploration, and various partnerships and collaborations leverage the school’s ability to offer an unparalleled arts education.


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Amber Amerson, Lavilla School of the Arts in Jacksonville, FL is ASN’s Teacher of the Year for her outstanding dedication, talents, and achievements in giving her students an excellent arts education.

Amber Amerson is an award winning, nationally recognized teacher, director, writer, actor, arts advocate, and community leader within Duval County Schools and the city of Jacksonville. Amerson teaches acting, directing, and musical theater, and has directed over 40 musicals, dramas, comedies, and readers’ theater. She has created numerous outreach programs for Duval County School students, and produces LaVilla Mime, Improvisation, and Children’s Theatre troupes. She is a 17-year veteran teacher who is in the top seven percent of Highly Effective teachers in Duval County and has served numerous leadership roles within her school and the city.



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Jeffrey Kimpton, President, Interlochen Center for the Arts, MI.  This award is granted to the head of an Arts Schools Network school who exemplifies an uncompromising commitment to excellence in arts education and arts training. Named in honor of the long-time head of the Professional Children’s School in New York, this is the most coveted award presented by ASN to an arts administrator.

Jeffrey Kimpton is the seventh president of Interlochen Center for the Arts, where he leads all aspects of its distinguished programs in arts education, public broadcasting, presentations and engagement. A graduate of the University of Illinois with degrees in music education and music and arts administration, Mr. Kimpton has four decades of leadership in arts education, having taught and led regional and nationally recognized K-12 programs in music and arts education in New York, Minnesota and Kansas. He served as director of education at Yamaha Corporation of America, leading strategic planning, program development and publishing in music education, and later as director of research and professional development in school change and public engagement at Brown University’s Annenberg Institute. He was director of the School of Music and professor of music education at the University of Minnesota before coming to Interlochen in 2003. Since his appointment, Interlochen has undertaken significant change initiatives in futures planning that have led to growth in artistic quality, program and curricular growth, adding motion picture arts, comparative arts, singer-songwriter and Interlochen College for adult learners, new collaborations and partnerships with international partner schools in Shanghai, Singapore, Brisbane and Paris, arts organizations such as Orpheus, eighth blackbird, the New York Philharmonic, Martha Graham Dance Company, and many others. Interlochen’s engagement with the world has grown through strategic investments in marketing, communications, technology and media, and the expansion of Interlochen Public Radio. More than 185,000 square feet of new or renovated buildings have revitalized the campus infrastructure. Invested assets and endowment have grown from $25M to more than $120M, with financial aid and scholarship support increasing from $5M to $13M. Interlochen received the National Medal of Art in 2006 for its leadership in arts education.

2014 awards


The Arts Innovation Award goes to the Idaho Arts Charter School and its Electric Orchestra in Nampa, ID, for “breaking the mold” in using arts in teaching academics, and for making a positive difference in the students’ lives and their community.



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Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts in Hartford, CT, and Wiley H. Bates Middle School in Annapolis, MD, have won the Arts Integration Award for their exceptional strategies and accomplishments in creating curriculums that incorporate the arts with academic subjects.



Abbotsford School of Integrated Arts, Sumas Mountain Campus in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, receives the Community Partnership Award for fostering artistic and educational understanding and enhancing its community.



Lauren Lim Jackson, Commercial Dance Conservatory Class of 2003, Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, CA, has won this year’s Outstanding Arts School Alumni Achievement Award for fostering artistic and academic achievement in talented young people and her outstanding accomplishments in citizenship, arts, and academics.




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CRECGreater Hartford Academy for the Arts in Hartford, CT receives the Outstanding Arts School Award, presented for outstanding overall excellence in faculty and student achievements, community recognition and involvement, arts and academics integration, curriculum innovations, continuing growth and development, and state and national recognition.



The Research Initiative Award – Individual honors a person who has completed important research that furthers the goals of arts education. This year’s winner is Arnold Aprill, Principal Investigator for the new Radical Compliance Arts and Learning Laboratory, and Founder and former Lead Consultant for the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE).



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The Research Initiative – Institution Award goes to The Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN and its Associate Director, Steven J. Tepper. The award recognizes The Curb Center for its ongoing research and dissemination of knowledge in arts education that foster the goals of the Arts Schools Network and arts education.



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Suzanne Dionne, Rotella Interdistrict Magnet School in Waterbury, CT is ASN’s Teacher of the Year for her outstanding dedication, talents, and achievements in giving her students an excellent arts education.





This award is designed to recognize excellence and achievement among rising arts schools administrators and to highlight the educational innovation practices or programs of those leaders. The recipient of the Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton Emerging Leader Award is Emily Coalson Stamets, founder of Stamets Educational Innovation. This award recognizes excellence and achievement in rising arts schools administrators and highlights their educational innovation practices or programs.



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Edwin S. Richards Elementary School in Mission, British Columbia, Canada receives this year’s New and Emerging School Award.



2013 awards

Designed to recognize commitment to taking innovative artistic risks, this award is presented to a member school that has “broken the mold” in using the arts as a vehicle for teaching academics and making a positive difference in the lives of students and/or the community.


North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts
North Fort Myers, FL 

North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts (NFMAA) is a Title I K-8 public school within Florida’s Lee County School District. Over the course of ten short years NFMAA has used the arts to uplift its students and community. The school had previously been ranked a grade “F” by the state of Florida, and within four years of being an arts designated school that “F” had become an “A”. The school’s arts education programs contribute to the overall culture of the school by infusing every aspect of the student’s day with some sort of artistic experience. Students are consistently encouraged to commit to artistic and academic mastery and to participate in NFMAA’s many school and community artistic and academic endeavors. The school has been a leader in the community bringing such things as classical ballet, theatre, and orchestral performances to a population previously unfamiliar with the arts. 




Apalachee Tapestry Magnet School of the Arts (ATMSA), Tallahassee, FL 

Apalachee Tapestry Magnet School of the Arts (ATMSA) uses theatre, dance, art, band, strings, graphic arts, cartooning, drumming, and music as primary tools for teaching other content areas of language arts, reading, math, science, and social studies.  Through arts integration, students are provided with an alternative way for learning ideas and concepts.  In order to renew the school’s focus and commitment to arts integration, its mission and vision were carefully reviewed. Staff spent a year studying and working with specialists in various arts disciplines to better learn to integrate the fine and performing arts into the curriculum.  This renewed focus has led to an increased level of arts integration. ATMSA’s students are shown the enjoyment and challenge of thinking and questioning through the creative thinking process. 


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Center for Creative Arts (CCA), Chattanooga, TN 

Center for Creative Arts (CCA) is a public dedicated arts magnet school serving 600 students in grades six through 12.  Admission is by audition, and CCA’s vision of “illuminating dreams of passion, acceptance, creativity, and excellence” is based on the daily practice of ensuring that the arts and academics share center stage



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Orange County School for the Arts and Farmers & Merchants Bank, Santa Ana, CA

Located in midtown Santa Ana, Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) has grown over 26 years from a small after-school arts program to become a full time, award-winning public charter school, which embraces and encourages artistic creativity and academic excellence. Its co-winner Farmers & Merchants Bank (F&M) strongly believes that the arts are an important component of education and cultural development, and that OCSA is a key asset to the enrichment and cultural identity of Orange County.


farmers merchants logo converted newF&M has provided expertise in the areas of strategic planning, investments policy development, operations and fundraising. In addition, F&M has been both a major Season Sponsor and Gala Sponsor every year, providing financial support for 120 student performances each year and for OCSA’s major annual fundraising event. The bank’s support also helped OCSA acquire several vacant commercial buildings that were renovated to become the school’s new Visual Arts Instructional Center, Center for the Arts and Margaret A. Webb Theatre.  



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Kimberly Scott, 1993

Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA), Birmingham AL

Kimberly Scott  has represented the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) as a 1993 graduate of the music department, a faculty member of the music department as of 2000, and now chair of the department since 2006. She is also a National Board Certified Teacher leading her students through innovative study and performance. A nationally and internationally recognized performing musician of classical and jazz flute, Ms. Scott is a 2012 SURDNA Artist-Teacher Fellow.  She is committed to excellence whether she is on stage in performance, giving master classes abroad, teaching her students at ASFA, or serving the community as an arts ambassador.




Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, Las Vegas,NV

Las Vegas Academy (LVA) is a nationally recognized, award-winning magnet high school, dedicated to education in performing and visual arts along with rigorous academic courses. It serves approximately 1,700 students in grades 9 through 12 in Clark County, Nevada. After acceptance by audition,  students may pursue a major in band, vocal music, dance, guitar, international studies (French, Japanese, and Spanish), mariachi, orchestra, photography, piano, studio art, technical theatre, theatre, visual design, and World Jazz studies.




James Catterall, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus at the UCLA School of Education and Principal Investigator at the Centers for Research on Creativity, Los Angeles, CA

Few scholars can claim the profound impact that Dr. Catterall has had on the way that we think about, research, and execute arts education in the United States. From his early work using the National Educational Longitudinal Study to his recent book Doing Well and Doing Good by Doing Art, his work has cut across the decades, changing the trajectory of arts education research.  Always creative and thoughtful, Dr. Catterall’s work catalyzed a reimagining of how we examine the arts. In particular, his research on the mind, music, and creativity has revolutionized our understanding of what it means to be creative and how creativity is manifested in our society.




Arts Education Policy Review Journal, Tecumseh, MI 

Arts Education Policy Review presents discussions of major policy issues in arts education in the United States and throughout the world.  Addressing education in music, visual arts, theatre, and dance, the journal presents a variety of views and emphasizes article analysis.  Its goal is to produce the most comprehensive and rigourous exchange of ideas available on arts education policy.  



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Cindy Peca, Dance Teacher, Orange County School of the Arts, Santa Ana, CA

Ms. Peca joined Orange County School of the Arts as an arts instructor in 1989 and currently serves as assistant director of the Commercial Dance Conservatory, as well as the creative director for special events and MONTAGE!, the school’s premier performing group.  Her talent, dedication, and passion for the arts have shaped the lives of countless young dancers. 



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Jackie Collins, Principal, Idaho Charter School, Nampa ID

 Ms. Collins is the executive director and principal of Idaho Arts Charter School (IACS). When IACS started, it was housed in mobile units and an old church building. In 2007-08 Ms. Collins was instrumental in putting together a plan to purchase an existing school and design an arts addition so the school could have a permanent facility.  IACS continues to grow in arts and academics despite its location in a low socio-economic area, and is the first exposure to the arts for many students. The school features arts integrated classes for the lower elementary and arts academies for the middle and high school. Under her leadership, IACS has received State grants to disseminate best practices to other charter and public schools.




Deborah B. Smith

Center for Creative Arts, Chattanooga, TN, Principal

During Ms. Smith’s thirteen year tenure as an administrator at Center for Creative Arts (CCA) she has taken the initiative to transform CCA from a fledgling magnet school to a school of distrinction.  Her unyielding effort, devotion, and vision have led to innumerable changes that benefit all students with a passion for the arts.  As a result, the school has come to enjoy local state, and national recognition for academic and artistic excellence. CCA has been named a Tennessee Reward School and a Magnet Schools of America School of Excellence. 


2012 awards



Commercial Music Program at Orange County School of the Arts
Santa Anna, CA *  Benjamin Wolf, Principal

The Commercial Music Program at Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, California, was launched in 2011-12, offering 7th through 12th grade instrumentalists and vocalists the unique opportunity to learn the skills necessary for a successful music career in film, television and live performance.  This program offers courses designed to teach students the latest technologies and techniques for a successful career in commercial music, including Theory of Commercial Music, History of Rock & Roll, Piano Fundamentals, Guitar Fundamentals, Vocal Skills, Drums Workshop, and Rock Ensemble.  The Commercial Music Program is one of the only high-school level contemporary music programs in the nation.


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Abbotsford School of Integrated 

Arts, North Poplar Campus

Abbotsford, BC, Canada *  Barbara Carter, Principal

Abbotsford School of Integrated Arts North Poplar Campus instructional focus is to teach the curriculum through rich and meaningful integration of the fine arts:  dance, drama, music, visual arts, digital arts, and creative writing.  The school, located in British Columbia, is distinct in that all enrolling teachers have a post-graduate qualification, a degree in one of the core arts or equivalent professional arts experience, and 70 percent of the staff has done post-graduate work specializing in arts integration.   Students learn core curriculum through arts integration in the classroom and are also given specialized instruction in each of the arts weekly.  Students also have multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning to an audience throughout the school year.



Idaho Arts Charter School

Nampa, ID *  Jackie Collins, Principal

Idaho Arts Charter School in Nampa, Idaho, integrates the arts into each subject area using focused investigations centered around a diverse arts curriculum.  Its mission is to develop students with the academic achievements, skills, and attitudes necessary to succeed in elementary, middle and secondary school, and to be offered a post-secondary education and satisfying employment. Additionally, the school seeks to inspire students and develop artistic talents, attitudes and skills in students, promoting lifelong avocation in arts areas.



Rotella Interdistrict Magnet School

Waterbury, CT *  Gina Calabrese, Principal

 Rotella Interdistrict Magnet School is an integrated arts-themed magnet school situated in Waterbury, Connecticut.  Rotella is a dynamic learning community of 514 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.  The student population represents a wide array of ethnic, racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds.  Rotella’s vision is to revolutionize education through the arts, providing all students with a challenging, comprehensive instructional program infused with dance, music, theater, visual arts, and media arts.  Fine arts resources from the local community and beyond are incorporated into the school’s daily life.  Its curriculum is rigorous, interdisciplinary, and project-based.


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Camp OCSA, Orange County School of the Arts Foundation

Santa Ana, CA  *  Patricia McMaster, Director – Community Programs

Camp OCSA:  With support from the Orange County, California community, the Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) Foundation offers Camp OCSA, a free outreach program that provides beginning level arts training workshops in dance, drama, guitar, vocal music, and visual arts to underserved students in grades four through six who reside in or are attending schools in the City of Santa Ana.  All classes are taught by OCSA student volunteers under the supervision of OCSA faculty.  The goal is to promote Santa Ana’s youth involvement in the arts and provide students with educational experiences that would otherwise be unavailable to them.


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Boston Arts Academy
Boston, MA *  Linda Nathan, Ed.D., Founding Headmaster; Anne Clark, Interim Headmaster; Kathleen Marsh, Artistic Dean

Boston Arts Academy has provided over 400 students per year with a vibrant, comprehensive program of study in the arts, and a rigorous arts-integrated college preparatory academic curriculum since its inception in 1998.  This public high school for the performing and visual arts serves students from predominantly low-income families, motivating them to stay in high school and continue on to college.  In addition to the students enrolled at the high school, the Center serves another 365+ elementary, middle, and high school students through its outreach programs.  Boston Arts Academy believes that the arts and academics enrich each other, and that much of the deepest learning takes place at the intersection of the two.  The school’s award-winning faculty includes 12 Surdna Arts Teachers Fellows; eight Boston Educators of the Year; and a Milken National Educator Award Winner.  Boston Arts Academy is the recipient of a 2010 National Schools of Distinction in the Arts Award from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and several other awards.



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Howard Middle School Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts
Orlando. FL *  Carl Cartwright, Principal

Howard Middle School Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts, located in Orlando, Florida, operates with the belief that fine arts are a universal language and that all students should have the opportunity to develop their own innate creativity and learn to respect the creative expressions of others. Students are provided quality, sequential, standards based instruction in dance, music, theatre, and the visual arts to prepare them for successful futures enhanced with creative understanding.



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Karen Chandler, Ph.D., 
College of Charleston’s School of the Arts, Associate Professor Arts Management
Charleston Jazz Initiative, Co-Principal

Karen Chandler, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in the Arts Management Program at the College of Charleston’s School of the Arts, is Co-Principal of the Charleston Jazz Initiative, a multi-year research project that documents the African American jazz tradition in Charleston, the South Carolina Lowcountry, and its diasporic movement throughout the United States and Europe between the late 19th century through today.  Dr. Chandler has developed an important body of material that makes it clear that Charleston and its African American community were a major force in the development and growth of jazz in America.



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ArtsEdSearch, Arts Education Partnership
Washington, D.C. *  Sandra Ruppert, Director; Andrea Kruezer, Program Associate

ArtsEdSearch, a project of the Arts Education Partnership, is an online clearinghouse that collects and summarizes high quality arts education research studies and analyzes their implications for educational policy and practice.  ArtsEdSearch is a resource for policymakers and education stakeholders and leaders to better understand and articulate the role that arts education can play in preparing students to succeed in the changing contexts of the 21st Century.



Brett Egan, 1995, Orange County School of the Arts, Santa Ana, CA

Brett Egan is a graduate of Orange County School of the Arts, class of 1995.  He currently serves as director of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, where he is a key leader in developing arts organizations and promoting arts education throughout the world.  The Institute works to train arts managers by partnering with public and private leadership in diverse, challenged, critical arts communities worldwide to provide training and support for the arts leaders of today and tomorrow.  From 2006 to 2009, Mr. Egan served as executive director of the New York-based modern dance company, Shen Wei Dance Arts.  Previously, he was general manager of the Venice Music Festival.  Mr. Egan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University where he founded the first Shakespeare company in university history.  He is actively involved in volunteer efforts supporting arts education and serves on the Orange County School of the Arts Alumni Board.



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Tim Nelson

Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts, Huntington Beach, CA

Tim Nelson is in his 15th year as a teacher, director and music director at California’s Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts.  A leading figure in Orange County Theatre, Nelson has lead the Academy’s internationally recognized Musical Theatre Department since 1997.  Several of his students have been nominated for the National High School Musical Theater Award and his theatrical productions have won numerous awards.  Nelson’s dedication to the stage is matched by his dedication to the classroom, teaching a variety of musical theatre and performance based classes.


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Scott Rudes, Ph.D., Principal

Orange Grove Middle Magnet School of the Arts, Tampa, FL

Scott Rudes, Ph.D., is credited with establishing Tampa, Florida’s Orange Grove Middle Magnet School of the Arts as a superior, nationally recognized arts program.  He has guided the vision and direction for the school as well as provided support for the improvement of the arts education curriculum.  Dr. Rudes has displayed remarkable leadership directive with his staff, has created a school culture of respect and cooperation, and his classic arts integrated approach to curriculum serves as a model for schools nationwide.


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Ralph Opacic, ED.D., President & Executive Director

Orange County School of the Arts, Santa Ana, CA

Ralph Opacic, Ed.D., created Southern California’s only pre-professional, tuition-free arts high school, the Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) in 1987, a time when arts education was declining. Today OCSA is a nationally-recognized, award-winning public charter school with a campus in Santa Ana.  Student enrollment is more than 1,750 students in grades 7 through 12 with more than 200 staff members.  World-renowned guest artists and master teachers have included Yo-Yo Ma, Bebe Neuwirth, Marvin Hamlisch, Debbie Allen, and Francis Ford Coppola.  Ninety-nine percent of the school’s graduates are accepted into institutions of higher education.  And the school’s alumni make their mark in the entertainment industry on Broadway, in major motion pictures, in television series, and as respected choreographers, dancers, painters, musicians, directors, and artists.