Portrait of an Arts Advocate: Patricia Santanello

Santanello2Patricia J. Santanello, 
Director of Theatre, Dublin Scioto High School
Co-Chapter Director, Ohio Educational Theatre Association 

A special congratulations to Pat as her school’s theater program was a recently awarded a $10,000 R.I.S.E. (Recognizing and Inspiring Student Expression) America Grant.  The R.I.S.E grants are given to assist high school theater programs with production expenses, technical equipment, and other needs.

Q: How did you participate in the arts as a child?
A: I started piano lessons at the age of 5 and I was active in theatre from a young age.  I started playing flute in the 5th grade and added clarinet in the 6th grade.  By 7th grade I was in marching band, choir, and concert band.

Q: Describe your favorite “a-ha moment” in arts education.
A: I think my favorite “aha” moment as a theatre teacher was the first time someone pointed out that theatre education is not one set of standards – we teach ALL of the standards.  Since that time I have enjoyed pointing that out to other educators who think that all we do in theatre is “play”.

Q. How do you practice creativity in your own life and / or what inspires you?
A:  I relax by playing piano.  I sing in an adult show choir and that is something that I really enjoy.  Being around talented individuals always inspires me!

Q: Name one puzzle, or problem, you are working on in the field right now. 
A: Right now I am trying to figure out how to make Sensory Friendly theatre a reality at my school.

Q: Name an arts educator who impacted you and how they influenced your younger days.
A: My high school choir director, Dr. Paris L. Simms, pushed me and inspired me every day.  He was (and still is) so incredibly gifted and he was a master teacher in every sense of the word.

Q: What can the average person do to advocate for more and / or stronger arts education in local schools?
A: Average people have power in school districts.  School boards and administrators need to hear from parents and community members about why the arts are important in schools.

Portrait of an Arts Advocate is a monthly feature profiling an OAAE member active in advocating for arts education in Ohio. If you’d like to submit your information, or recommend an #artsed advocate to us, email akruse@oaae.net.

About OAAE

Since our founding in 1974, by Dr. Dick Shoup and Jerry Tollifson, our mission has always been to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Working at the local, state, and federal levels through the efforts of a highly qualified and elected Board of Directors, our members, and a professional staff we have four primary areas of focus: building collaborations, professional development, advocacy, and capacity building. The OAAE is funded in part for its day-to-day operation by the Ohio Arts Council. This support makes it possible for the OAAE to operate its office in Columbus and to work statewide to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Support for arts education projects comes from the Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Music Education Association, Ohio Art Education Association, Ohio Educational Theatre Association, VSA Ohio, and OhioDance. The Community Arts Education programs of Central Ohio are financially assisted by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and the Greater Columbus Arts Council. We gratefully acknowledge and appreciate the financial support received from each of these outstanding agencies and organizations.
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