New Beginnings: A Message From Jerry Harris

_96A1272As a long-time educator, my excitement about new beginnings generally emerges in August with the arrival of a new school year. I love seeing the eagerness, joy, and anticipation in the eyes of teachers, students and parents as they embark on yet another 180-day odyssey into the world of learning. I have always believed that along with the outward trappings of new backpacks, freshly sharpened pencils, and unused crayons and markers, each new school year also presents clean slates, boundless possibilities, and new opportunities for greatness for students and teachers alike.

This year, my annual sense of renewal and opportunity are heightened, because I have taken on a new role with the ART of TEACHING. I am pleased to be able to support teachers, principals and districts in their pursuits of teaching excellence as the program’s Executive Director. The ART of TEACHING is an extraordinary experience, and one of my primary goals is to enhance and deepen the program’s impact and effectiveness in accomplishing our mission of developing artful teaching.

As a result, over the summer, staff designed and planned professional development opportunities that we hope you will find enriching to your practice. While the essential components of the program remain unchanged, this year, to complement districts’ work on the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS), we are offering professional development for teachers and site administrators to help the CCSS come alive. We are striving in our work to strengthen educators’ abilities to deliver the rigor and robust demands of the standards through artful teaching.

I believe we as educators find ourselves in exciting times. For if we are able to deliver on the promises of the new Common Core State Standards, we will be making significant progress towards truly preparing our youth for their futures. So I, along with the rest of the Cotsen staff, send you our best wishes as this new school year unfolds; and we look forward to working with you as we together increase the movement for instructional excellence through artful teaching.


Jerry Harris
Executive Director