Lawrence Arts Center chief program officer among applicants for school board seat
Margaret Weisbrod Morris, an art therapist, arts education advocate and chief program officer at the Lawrence Arts Center, is among the seven (and counting) applicants to throw her (artsy) hat into the ring for the school board seat vacated earlier this month by Kristie Adair.
A longtime arts educator and mother of two, Weisbrod Morris says she’d like to focus on equity if selected for the school board.
“The experts, the people who are running our schools and who are teaching in our schools, have a slightly different perspective and experience than parents do,” says Weisbrod Morris, whose daughters attend Deerfield Elementary School and Free State High School.
“I’m really interested in bridging those two,” she says. “Listening to students’ needs and parents’ opinions, and making a bridge between administration and what the parents and the community need.”
Weisbrod Morris, 48, earned a bachelor’s degree in painting and printmaking from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1993, and in 1999 completed her master’s studies in art therapy at New York University.
Originally from the Washington, D.C., area, Weisbrod Morris first joined the Lawrence Arts Center staff as a Brooklyn transplant (her early career was spent working as a prop artist for children’s television, eventually creating studio art and art therapy programs for New York-based nonprofits) in early 2002. She first served as the Arts Center’s education director before taking a position, as the program manager for Arts in Education, in the now-defunct Kansas Arts Commission. When that agency was eliminated a few years back, Weisbrod Morris returned to the Arts Center, this time as chief program officer.
A longtime advocate for the role of arts in academics, her work has focused in recent years on the development and implementation of a model STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education curriculum across Arts Center programming. Weisbrod Morris has also presented at national forums for the Arts Education Partnership, the National Association for State Arts Agencies, and the National Art Education Association, among others.
“I’ve been interested in doing this a long time, and right now I think schools are facing historical challenges and are about to be facing historical challenges,” she says.
In considering applying for the school board, Weisbrod Morris says she thought of the old adage “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?” It made a lot of sense to her.
“I think I’m a good diplomat and I always think like a parent,” she says, “no matter what I’m doing.”
The deadline to submit an application is 5 p.m. March 6. School board members will review applications at their March 13 meeting and then appoint one applicant to serve the remainder of Adair’s term, which ends on Jan. 8, 2018.