My name is Connie Schlelein and I am the new Arts Education Coordinator for the ACNV Education Alliance. I wanted to introduce myself to you and share a bit of where we have been and where we are headed.
Almost five years ago, a small group of visionaries decided to make a dramatic change to address the inequities in arts education and support systemic improvements for all students of Napa Valley. They were told what they wanted was Impossible but that simply motivated them more. By creating a dynamic public/private partnership, they found a way over countless obstacles. When they were questioned or challenged, they kept asking themselves “Is what we are doing good for all children?” Then they crossed hurdle after hurdle to create an Arts Education Master Plan. Minds were changed. The power of the connections they formed is making it become a reality. You may not yet be aware of it, but it is turning heads. Napa Valley is on the radar as a dramatic model of arts education change in California. It is seen to many in the California educational landscape as an emerging Rock Star.
Into this little band of visionaries, I was welcomed a few months ago when I became the Arts Education Coordinator of the Arts Council Napa Valley. In this role, I am responsible for informing you of the resources and opportunities to support students access to arts education. As I began, I set about to familiarize myself with the “Cultural Ecosystem” of the valley. I am doing that by meeting with dozens of educators, administrators, educational experts and also researching best practices of arts education throughout the country.
Now, I am creating a blog series to share my findings with you. Indeed, you are as much a part of this story as I am. The vision is far from complete; it is a living document. We plan to launch the blog in the fall as well as a new website devoted to the topic of arts education in our area and beyond. Please watch for notices and visit the artscouncilnapavalley.org for further information. Your views, experiences and especially needs are important to us as we rebuild the arts education ecosystem together in Napa County. We invite you to join as a free member, to ask questions, respond to calls to action and thus to support quality arts education for all students.
Please feel free to email me with questions or comments.
All the best,
ACNV Education Alliance Coordinator
Arts Council of Napa Valley
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead, anthropologist