We talk with two people honored for their contribution to arts education today. John Waite is the director of instrumental music at Hamilton High School in Sussex and the winner of the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee’s 2014 Music Teacher of the Year Award.
Tonya Adair is principal at Milwaukee Public Schools’ Washington High School of Information Technology and the winner of the association’s Educator/Administrator of the Year award. She’s responsible for reviving Washington’s once defunct music program.
Both educators are not sure what to think about these awards. Adair notes that it provides an opportunity to showcase their schools.
Fine arts education programs often suffer school budget cuts. Waite believes that it is because educators and school boards try to find a cookie-cutter approach to creating an arts program instead of shaping a program that fits their students’ needs. Adair said that she revived the music program because she wanted to give the students a well-rounded education, create a place for students to express their emotions, and to create a safe environment for all students.