West Junior High Principal Mick Lowe's support of the arts in his school has netted him the Outstanding Kansas Art Educator-Administration/Supervision of the Year Award for 1998-1999.
Lowe was given the award by the Kansas Art Education Assn., a branch of the National Art Education Assn. The KAEA is dedicated to the growth and development of art educators and the advancement of high quality art education.
The KAEA said Lowe was chosen because of the support he has given his staff in developing art programs.
``Mick is so supportive of the arts,'' said Free State High School art teacher Laurie McLane Higginson.
``His art program was only part-time when I started at West,'' she said. ``He let me redesign the department, giving me lots of moral and monetary support as we built a strong program together. The students have benefited from that support.''
Lowe was surprised to find that he had been nominated.
``It's a very pleasant surprise,'' he said. ``For me this is a reflection of the quality of teachers I have, more than anything.''
Lowe said he grew up in an environment where the arts were not highly valued and he wanted to change that for students at his school.
``I see how important it is to enrich kids' lives,'' he said. ``It's important that they have opportunities that I didn't have.''
Lew Tilford, the school district's director of fine arts, described Lowe as an ``arts advocate'' when he nominated him for the award.
``He has been a leader in designing and building curriculum requirements and schedules that not only include the arts, but also place arts classes in schedules so that they are protected from major conflicts and are easily accessible to students,'' Tilford said.
Lowe will receive the award at a banquet Oct. 9 in Great Bend.
-- JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.