This summer marks nineteen years of me teaching drama and theatre. Whoa do I feel . . . “mature.” I still can’t believe that someone had enough faith in my eighteen-year-old self to hire me as the only drama director in charge of almost one hundred kiddos! I have experienced many twists and turns in my career since then, yet the unpredictability of life and a career in the arts never ceases to amaze me.
I am here with exciting news . . . and bittersweet emotions. In three weeks my family and I are moving to northern Virginia to embark on another new adventure! This fall I will begin a new position as the Drama Director at The Hill School of Middleburg.
I admit this isn’t where I thought I’d take the next steps in my career. Nonetheless, I am thrilled to become a part of a community that in a very short amount of time has already welcomed Ben, Giancarlo, G.G. (our dog) and I with open arms. The Hill School’s educational philosophies align with my own and everyone acknowledges the importance of artistic experiences in the lives of young people. The mission of Hill is to celebrate the child and to provide a strong sense of community. As the school’s website states, “co-curricular programs at Hill School are essential to the education of the whole child, and we are committed to providing a variety of athletic and artistic experiences for every student. Everyone creates, sings, and acts — because we believe that the arts are essential to healthy development of children’s minds and bodies.” I couldn’t say no to this, could I? I mean, even the athletic director knows what “hell week” is.
Though I am sad to leave Connecticut, I feel this move is the best choice for my family and me. I am returning to my roots directing plays and teaching drama with elementary and middle school students. Giancarlo will have the opportunity to study, create, and play at The Hill School as soon as he enters Pre-K, and he will eventually take drama with his mama! And Ben will be a hop, skip, and a jump away from the thriving cultural hub that is Washington, D.C. He also plans on pursuing his master’s degree in arts leadership at one of northern Virginia's many prestigious colleges.
This move is by no means a goodbye. (Let’s face it; I’ve never been able to say a permanent goodbye to CT.) I still intend to be a part of Via Arts and CT’s arts communities. The only change will be to Kristy's and my titles; our new titles (Founding Partners) better reflect the mission of Via Arts. We are a company founded on the principal that good work begins with the creation of strong partnerships where everyone's needs are acknowledged and all abilities are celebrated. I see this move as an opportunity to expand Via Arts’ reach down the east coast and will do my part wherever I land. I will continue to support Kristy and our partners by whatever means necessary and to be involved in programming when possible. Also, I am currently serving on the Theatre Standards Review Committee for the Connecticut State Department of Education and hope to be a part of CT’s journey toward national leadership in arts learning. I guess I just can’t help it: a large part of my heart will always be in CT.
Thank you to everyone who has supported Kristy and I in our development of Via Arts and who continues to believe in our mission to serve and enhance the quality of people’s lives with and through the arts. Continue to watch for future projects such as our professional development programs and our documentary theatre project with the Stanley-Whitman House where we are currently in the first stages of using dramatic techniques to gather true stories that explore CT’s complicated relationship to slavery.
And also, keep a lookout for more about my journey in the world of arts education . . .