Orange County considered leader in arts education
Posted on 10/14/2020
4 people pose for a photo

Once again, Orange County stands out as a leader in arts education. 

The Florida Alliance for Arts Education named Scott Evans, K-12 visual and performing arts senior director, the District Administrator of the Year; and honored Orange County Public Schools with the School Board Award, plus Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation will partner with three middle schools in the district.

“Scott Evans is a leader and a model throughout the state and even the nation. Scott is a leader who is driven by his passionate belief that the arts are an integral part of life and critical to our future. This core principle drives his mission to reach every child with quality arts education,” Debbie Fahmie, advisory board member and award nominator, said. “He has a talent for championing the work of his own arts educators while at the same time challenging them to grow and achieve more for their students. These are the hallmarks of an outstanding leader and Scott sets the bar very high.”  

The FAAE recognizes leaders and organizations for their exemplary work in ensuring quality arts education is available in all schools. It is a non-profit organization whose mission is “to improve, enhance and promote arts education” in schools and communities in our state.

“I think this award validates what I have always believed, which is that OCPS has some of the finest arts educators in the country,” Evans said. “I mean that sincerely as I serve on a few national organization boards and see firsthand how fortunate we are here in OCPS. Any successes I enjoy are a total reflection of the work of our teachers and the support of our community who all believe so intensely in the importance of arts education for all students.”

Most recently, Evans engineered the cooperation and integration of the local arts community into the district’s arts education ecosystem to expand what students are learning in the arts classrooms. The partnerships with the Central Florida Vocal Arts, Central Florida Community Arts, Orlando Ballet, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orlando Repertory Theatre will directly impact more than 75,000 students throughout the district.

Leiland Theriot, FAAE executive director, presented the leadership award to the school board members sharing that Evans nominated the board for the award.

“The school board has had to make some incredibly difficult decisions while representing the needs of teachers, parents and students. While focused on the well-being of teachers and students, they have never forgotten the need to provide students with the artistic outlet afforded to them in their visual and performing arts classrooms. With their resolve, Orange County has been able to continue delivering arts to students, and this is to be commended,” Evans wrote in the nomination.

In addition to these awards, OCPS also learned that Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation will partner with OCPS and provide $94,000 worth of musical instruments to Piedmont Lakes, Union Park and Westridge middle schools.

The MHO Foundation commended the board for continuing to provide access to high-quality arts education throughout the pandemic.

“The music teachers at each of these schools demonstrated a relentless passion and commitment to students. We are grateful for their dedication and the tremendous impact they are making on young lives. We would also like to extend our appreciation to the administration at all three school sites who prioritized music education as a tool to positively impact youth development. You clearly recognize the power of arts education, and for this, we thank you,” MHO Foundation wrote in a letter to the board. The letter also commended Scott Evans for “going above and beyond for his commitment to arts education.”