This news release is from the Florida Alliance for Arts Education.
ORLANDO, May 24, 2016 – The Florida Alliance for Arts Education has named Lori White, superintendent of Sarasota County schools, its 2016 Superintendent of the Year.
White will be formally honored during an awards ceremony at the FAAE Leadership Summit. The Summit will be held June 23-25 at The Shores Resort and Spa in Daytona Beach. The Awards Ceremony will take place at The Brown Museum of Art at the Daytona Beach Museum of Arts and Sciences at 6 p.m., Friday, June 24.
“I am honored to be named Superintendent of the Year by the Florida Alliance for Arts Education,” White said. “The organization’s commitment and leadership in arts education makes this award especially meaningful. I’m fortunate to lead a school district that gets so much support from local arts and cultural organizations, foundations and individuals that care so deeply about the arts as an integral part of K-12 education. They know that engaging students in the arts helps young people think and act creatively, whatever career path they may pursue.”
Since 1981, FAAE has united educators, artists, community leaders, concerned citizens, corporate partners and arts-education organizations and institutions in pursuit of a common goal: to ensure that all Florida students receive a complete education that includes the arts.
“It is FAAE’s vision for every child in every school to have a well-rounded education that includes a comprehensive, sequential, high-quality program of arts instruction, and for all Florida communities to have broad-based cultural programs available to support lifelong learning in and through the arts,” said Julie Hebert, the alliance’s executive director. “Sarasota has long been a model for demonstrating student achievement and equitable access to a high-quality arts education.”
Each year during the summit, FAAE recognizes outstanding leaders in arts education. “It is our hope that educators will see the great things happening around the state and implement similar models in their own districts,” Hebert said. “Wouldn’t it be great if all Florida students had the same opportunities in arts education as students in Sarasota do?”
When selecting the Superintendent of the Year, FAAE recognizes that strong leadership from the top is necessary to develop and maintain strong arts education programs in a school district. Superintendent White was selected for this prestigious award based upon her tireless efforts to maintain outstanding arts programs in the Sarasota schools as well as the strong relationships she has fostered with community arts organizations.
White has served as superintendent of Sarasota County schools since 2008 and is renowned across the district and state for her support of arts education. She grew up in Sarasota and has spent her entire career as a teacher and administrator in the district. She served as director of curriculum and instruction from 1995-2003 and was later associate superintendent of instructional services.
White received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida State University. She is married and has two grown children and two grandchildren.
Angela Hartvigsen, Sarasota County’s Fine Arts Program Specialist, stated that despite budget shortfalls and recommendations from consultants to cut arts education positions, White staunchly supported the presence of the arts in all of Sarasota’s public schools. Due in large part to White’s support, Sarasota County was the nation’s sixth community chosen for the Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child Initiative. This initiative promotes access and equity in arts experiences for all students, K-8, through the school district, the local arts community, and the Kennedy Center.
Brian Hersh, the Program Director for Any Given Child Sarasota, added that “in addition to Any Given Child, Superintendent White’s involvement in EdExplore was crucial to ensuring students experiential learning opportunities with and through the arts.” EdExplore is an online platform that connects teachers to a plethora of local community arts, cultural, historical, and science field-based organizations that provide opportunities to enrich and extend the school curriculum.
“Mrs. White is an eloquent speaker about the arts and their importance to a child’s whole education. She is also proud to tell you about her days playing the violin at Pine View School,” Hartvigsen remarked.