Mark served on the IAAE Board for several terms and has been an active advocate for the arts during his career. We asked him to reflect on his board participation as a way to encourage others to become more involved.
My time as a board member for IAAE has been educational, challenging, and most of all, rewarding. In those six years so much has been accomplished thanks to the efforts of the board and especially its Executive Director, Leon Kuehner. The adoption of Fine Arts Standards for Iowa has certainly been a crowning achievement, but not the only one.
Progress in the mentoring program for first and second year teachers has been marked by deep discussions and great effort in training mentors and defining the best practices in the mentoring experience. The efforts in advocacy, including Fine Arts Advocacy Day at the state capitol, have grown the profile of arts education in Iowa. Much of that is due to tireless efforts by Leon Kuehner and Larry Murphy, IAAE’s lobbyist, in keeping the goals of promoting fine arts education in front of our legislators and executive branch. The partnerships that have been forged between the Iowa Department of Education, the Iowa Arts Council, and IAAE have resulted in renewed opportunities for professional development for fine arts teachers in Iowa.
Working together with committed board members has resulted in spirited discussions and ultimately great progress in achieving the goals of IAAE during the past six years. I value the knowledge and friendships I have gained. But most of all, I value seeing vibrant arts education programs throughout the state, regardless of size or wealth of the schools, and seeing young teachers enthusiastically discovering their passion in arts education. Our students need fine arts programs that lift them up and develop their talents; often they are the lifeline for them to survive and grow in an increasingly complex world. I am proud to have been a part of that effort, and would highly encourage others to consider
participation in arts advocacy.