Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Nate Menifield is the Maine Department of Education’s Employee of the Week. Get to know a little more about Nate through this brief question and answer:
What are your roles with DOE?
As the Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, I primarily support teachers of music, visual art, theatre, and dance in Maine’s Pre-K-12 public schools in a variety of ways ranging from designing professional learning opportunities to managing arts-related initiatives. Additionally, I serve as the Regional Education Representative for Cumberland County; a valuable chance to meet with that region’s superintendents and curriculum coordinators once each month.
What do you like best about your job?
Anyone who knows me well knows that I find the most joy – at work and elsewhere – in my relationships with the people around me. Since joining the DOE last July, I’ve quickly grown to appreciate and admire the dedication and expertise of my incredible colleagues, each of whom contributes something uniquely valuable to the collective work that we do. Beyond the office, I’ve discovered that I feel most energized by my direct interactions with our state’s educators and young artists. There are amazing levels of support, creativity, and passion being fostered in arts classrooms all over Maine. If you want to be inspired, go observe a rehearsal or attend an art exhibit – you won’t regret it!
How or Why did you decide on this career?
I’ve long maintained the belief that, for me, educating others is more a personality trait than a career choice. Throw in the fact that I’ve always been “artsy,” and my tenure in arts education only makes sense! From my days as a young musician in Aroostook County to the nine years I spent teaching music to high school students in Southern Maine, I’ve had a rare and extended opportunity to witness the unique joys and the challenges facing arts education throughout our state. Over the years, though, one thing that’s remained clearly evident and remarkably consistent is that Maine arts educators are among the most dedicated, talented individuals you could ever hope to meet. So, when the opportunity to support them from the state level presented itself, I was both honored and humbled by the chance to give something meaningful back to the many educators who have given so much to me and many other generations of students.
What do you like to do outside of work for fun?
I’m a classically trained singer, so a lot of my time outside of cubicle #56 is spent rehearsing, performing, and occasionally guest conducting choirs. Other things to know? I also love traveling, am a big foodie, have enjoyed baking since I was a kid, and am dad to a rambunctious but adorable black lab mix named Toby. Stop by and share your interests any time!