A+ Fellow Spotlight: Kristin Smith

Anyone who has experienced a workshop or professional development session facilitated by A+ Fellow Kristin Smith knows that her smile, personality and passion for the arts are infectious! Her knowledge of arts integration is deep and her desire to share it with educators is strong. Kristin’s collective professional experience has made her a perfect fit for A+. Currently, Kristin is project manager for the North Carolina Museum of Art’s NCMA Connects program, a statewide professional development program that helps teachers make connections across subjects through visual art. She previously designed PD opportunities for N.C. educators for the museum’s Big Picture program as well as coordinated arts programming for pre-K through teen audiences. Prior to her museum education work, Kristin was a high school visual arts teacher and part of the founding faculty for the Bronx Lab School. When asked how her work with the A+ Network has impacted her perspective as an arts educator, Kristin shared, “More than anything, it affirms for me the power and potential that the arts have for transforming lives.”

In addition to her role as an A+ Fellow, Kristin also serves as an A+ Liaison, providing additional contact, support and connection to several A+ schools in N.C. As an A+ Liaison, Kristin visits her assigned schools two times each school year to talk with A+ principals and teachers, see what is happening in their schools, and find ways A+ can continue to support them based on their specific needs and areas of interest. “Every A+ school is different and has its unique challenges,” Kristin shared, “but you know when you are in a school that is fully committed. The walls are covered with student artwork, art is integrated seamlessly into planning for all grade levels and subjects, collaboration is a priority and structured into the school day, students can speak to their learning with meaning and conviction – everyone knows what being A+ means.” Kristin is committed to helping schools reach their full potential as an A+ school knowing that each school has a different approach or may be a new or re-engaged A+ school.

This summer Kristin will be facilitating professional development at the Raleigh and Greensboro A+ conferences. Kristin seamlessly provides schools with strategies and resources for integrated lesson planning, collaboration and building creative and healthy climate. Her workshops focus on visual literacy, concept-based learning, STEAM and collaborative planning. “I am always amazed by the love, determination and commitment A+ teachers have for their students and to teaching. This summer I am looking forward to experiencing this with our A+ educators and seeing them do things they never thought they could,” Kristin shared.  The other thing Kristin is looking forward to during our A+ summer PDs? Boxed lunches (seriously)!