Willsboro teacher Derrick Hopkins, left, stands with Superintendent Stephen Broadwell, who received the NYSTEA Administrator of the Year Award.
For several years, Willsboro Central School has been working to develop their arts and drama departments to give students more opportunities to learn.
Because of that, Superintendent Stephen Broadwell has been named the New York State Theatre Education Association’s Administrator of the Year for 2013. He was nominated for the award by fifth grade teacher and Drama Club head Derrick Hopkins.
“I started by submitting a paragraph about Mr. Broadwell, and they told me they needed it to be a more formal nomination,” said Hopkins, who has been a member of NYSTEA since April of last year. “Out of the nine years that we have worked together, I talked about what he had done and advocated for this department and the list became quite long.”
When Hopkins received word that his nomination was the winning submission, he also received insight into the process.
“They said it was the shortest meeting in the history of the award,” he said. “They all read the letter and unanimously agreed that he should be the recipient.”
Hopkins said Broadwell had been the key advocate to the school board for the drama department, which now includes three annual productions: a middle/high school musical, an elementary musical and a school play which started last year.
The school has also started college level theater classes through North Country Community College.
“It takes a look at theater as an academic piece,” Hopkins said. “He has also talked about starting a BOCES-style program in Willsboro to allow students from throughout the region to come and specialize in the arts. It’s great to hear an administrator who is actually talking about expanding arts programs in the current economic climate.”
“This award is really a credit to our school community and to Derrick,” Broadwell said of the award. “He has done a great job creating a drama program allowing kids to learn and perform and the school board has been very supportive of the program.”
Broadwell said programs such as drama offer educational opportunities for students outside the classroom.
“One thing we have to do is look at priorities, and theater is a great learning experience for our young actors and actresses,” he said. “Having learning experiences is the number one priority. It is a venue where they can learn outside the classroom, from acting on the stage to the people up in the balcony running the lights and the stage crew. A lot of students have an equal share of the work in putting it all together.”
Overall, Broadwell said that the arts program at Willsboro is “something we are very proud of.”
Broadwell received the award at a special presentation in New York City Oct. 5 by NYSTEA.