Arts educators recognized at State House celebration

AUGUSTA – Arts educators were recognized at the Maine State House Wednesday as part of Maine’s annual celebration of Arts Education Day.

Each year the Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE), an affiliate of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, recognizes educational leaders who have made a significant difference in the lives of young people through arts education.

Among those recognized were Suzanne Goulet, Gloria Hewett and Emily Bean.

Goulet, a visual arts educator from Waterville High School, received the Bill Bonyun Award, given to an artist, educator, or community member who has made significant contributions to the arts in our schools, shown outstanding commitment and dedicated service in arts education, and been an inspiration to students, teachers, and the community.

“I don’t know when Suzanne sleeps, or the number of miles she has put on her truck over the years, traveling to meetings, conferences, and workshops to support art education and professional development,” said Stephanie Leonard, an arts educator from Bangor who nominated Goulet. “Suzanne is the kind of colleague who can be counted on to show up, to come up with ideas and solutions, to offer moral support and a good laugh. She always finds the time and energy to give her students as much as possible.”

Hewett, an art teacher from Mt. View Middle School in Thorndike, received the Distinguished School Leadership Award, given to a school leader or administrator who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and support of the arts, established exemplary or innovative arts education programs, and promoted the importance of arts in the education of every child.

Debra McIntyre, who nominated Hewett said, “Gloria not only has developed and implemented a proficiency-based model of teaching and learning in her own classroom, but has supported her fellow colleagues within our district in doing the same. As a teacher leader with the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, Gloria has prepared and presented numerous workshops throughout the state of Maine; supporting both state and district vision for transforming education.”

The MAAE also presented a special Certificate of Appreciation to Emily Bean of Bangor. Bean has served the Bangor community for many years as an active volunteer, board member and board officer in many of Bangor’s non-profit organizations.

“Young minds thrive on the arts,” said retired school principle Joan Staffiere, now a board member of the Maine Alliance for Arts Education. “Arts Education in music, theater, dance, poetry, and visual arts helps them learn creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking skills. These are essential not only to prepare them for our state’s future workforce and economy, but also help them develop rich and fulfilling personal lives.”

In addition to the award ceremony, students from the Youth Chorale of the Bangor Children’s Choir performed a concert. The 17 young voices (ages 6 – 15), under the direction of Robert Ludwig, hail from almost a dozen different schools and communities and provide an appropriate beginning for a day meant to highlight the vital role that arts education plays in Maine’s economy and quality of life. Additionally, the day featured displays of student art from schools and arts organizations around the state.

MAAE is joined in organizing Arts Education Day by the Maine Music Educators Association, Maine Arts Education Association, Maine Arts Commission and the Maine DOE.   For more information, visit www.maineartsed.org.