September 22, 2020

Decision soon on new Performing Arts Director

The search for a new Performing Arts Director started with over 30 applicants, of which the district has narrowed down to two remaining candidates. (Photo by Celia Golod '17)

Wellesley administrators continue their search for a K-12 Director of Performing Arts, with the hopes of completing the process before April vacation.

Selecting candidates is a very thorough and time-consuming process. “First, we surveyed and met with staff to find out what qualities of a director they wanted to see. Next we surveyed parents and asked the same sorts of questions, then compiled all of the information to assemble a job description,” said Dr. Dean Blase, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction.

Administrators then formed a committee composed of staff and parents who screened the resumes of over 30 applicants, and conducted the interviews. Following the interviews, the committee organized two “finalist days” during which the finalists did a performance task and met with various groups including students, parents, teachers and administrators. “The final step will be to name our new director in the next few weeks,” said Gayle McCracken, Director of Human Resources.

Superintendent David Lussier will make the final decision. The hiring committees make recommendations to Lussier, who reads all written feedback from the various committees and then conducts reference checks in order to determine the new director.

The new director will report to Dr. Dean Blase and be responsible for organizing all aspects of the program in the elementary, middle and high school level. The town hopes to find someone with strong communication skills along with an enthusiastic yet organized leadership style. Under the direction of the Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, the committee seeks candidates who have experience in all areas of the Performing Arts. “In my opinion it’s important for the director to have a passion and knowledge for music, drama, band, orchestra and dance, in addition to having good business and people skills,” said Choral Director, Dr. Kevin McDonald.

Orchestra student Maeve Kelley thinks it is important for the new director to be focused on the students and do what’s best for them. “They should take into account how students react to a teacher or to a class and always be looking for ways to improve the experience of being in the program and make it more successful,” said Kelley ’17.

Since the town is currently looking for a new conductor for the high school orchestras, Kelley believes this will be one of the first big decisions the new director will make and she is looking forward to being involved in the process. “I think this will provide a great opportunity to connect with the students involved in the program by taking the students’ opinions into account when deciding on the new conductor, similarly to how the administration involved the students in an interview panel for the finalists for the performing arts director position,” said Kelley ’17.

 (Louise Lynn ’16, Staff Writer)

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