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Fine Arts
in Schenectady

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March 31, 2008

Schenectady School District Wins National Fine Arts Award

$10,000 Award Presented to District
at Orlando Conference Today

The Schenectady City School District was named the winner of the national award presented by the Kennedy Center Education Network (KCAAEN) and National School Board Association (NSBA) on Monday, March 31, 2008. 

The 20th annual award and $10,000 prize was presented to Schenectady Board President Jeff Janiszewski and Board Member Lisa Russo before more than 9,000 attendees  at the National School Boards Association annual conference in Orlando Florida.  Schenectady, selected by a national review panel, was singled out for outstanding support of high-quality arts education.  Fine Arts Coordinator Nancy Lussier and John Sayles School of Fine Arts House Principal Peg Normandin also attended the award ceremony in Orlando.

The KCAAEN and NSBA award is presented to one school district in the country each year.  Since 1989, the prestigious award has recognized 39 school boards in 24 states for support of arts education.  Winning districts demonstrate support for all four artistic disciplines in their arts education program including visual arts, music, theater and dance with instructional programming available for all students in the district. 

Both Janiszewski and Russo expressed how proud they both are to  be on the Schenectady Board of Education.  Janiszewski, who was involved in the music and theatre program at Linton High School and Central Park Junior High School over 30 years ago reflected, "I think about the long standing tradition of first rate fine arts programming in our schools."   He added, "I recognize that there were members of the Schenectady School board then and ever since then who sustained our support for fine arts education."

The Sayles School of Fine Arts is one of few schools statewide to offer dance programs including jazz, tap, ballet and Afro-Brazilian Dance.

"I realize we would not be receiving this award today if it were not for decades of school board members, administrators, teachers and citizens of Schenectady who continually recognized the importance of the arts and sustained their commitment to it,"  said Janiszewski. 

Russo agrees.  "To be recognized at this level is an extraordinary honor that encompasses a lifetime of devotion by Schenectady to the arts.  It's wonderful to be part of it all," said Russo.  "The biggest thanks should go to the teachers who are there everyday working with the students, guiding them, supporting them and inspiring them."

The Schenectady City School District earned a nomination  for the national award after winning the state award from the New York State Alliance for Arts and Education and the New York State School Board Association in November.  

Recognized for their ongoing commitment, the Schenectady School Board continues to keep the fine arts program thriving with extraordinary fine arts opportunities and programs for students beginning in pre-kindergarten which are carried on and enhanced each year right through high school. 

Lussier and Normandin credited the staff, community and students.  "I couldn't be more proud to be part of this district," said Lussier. 

"An award at this level is truly a great honor for our district," added Normandin.





Press Release

Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education
KCAAEN & NSBA Award Winners2008 Press Release

Schenectady KCAAEN/NSBA Award Application

    04/16/08 Issue of National School Boards Association
District honored for support of the arts

>> NSBA Website


Daily Gazette  04/01/08
City schools lauded for arts program