We posted earlier this month that Wellesley Public Schools have brought on a new Performing Arts Director named Sabrina Quintana, who has been director of music education and a performing arts center in a big Texas school district in recent years. But we hadn’t had a chance to communicate directly with her at that point, so followed up with a few questions:
Do you have any previous connection to Wellesley?
I have always admired Wellesley from afar, having known about the outstanding performing arts education programs. I do not have any previous connections to Wellesley or Wellesley Public Schools, other than acquaintances I came to know through my doctoral program and work I had done with Massachusetts Music Educators Association when I had served as their All State Concert Manager.
What’s your impression of the performing arts here (I know, I know, it’s great, but anything in particular stand out?)?
I am impressed with the outstanding caliber of teachers we have on our Performing Arts faculty and the superior level of performance that students achieve in all grade levels. This is a testament to excellent teaching.
I am also impressed with the Extension Program that offers Wellesley students an opportunity to take private instrumental or vocal lessons.
There is a lot of evidence of support for the Performing Arts in the school district and in the community. I had a wonderful first meeting with the POPS board (Parents of Performing Students) and they are excited about what our students are involved in. The beautiful new Wellesley High School, with its state-of-the-art Performing Arts Wing and Auditorium is truly a testament to understanding how meaningful a quality performing arts program is.
What were your biggest accomplishments on the job in Texas?
My biggest accomplishments included:
* Working with the Assistant Superintendent of District Operations, an architectural team, and contractors on a new stand-alone Performing Arts Center for the school district that was utilized by the entire Rio Grande Valley. This included all the planning, equipping, staffing, training, and ultimately running the Performing Arts Center.
* Developing the orchestra program and facilitating growth that doubled enrollments and hence doubled the orchestra staffing.
* Developing a collaborative teaching model amongst feeders of like programs (band, choir, and orchestra).
* Improving the quality of instruction in the arts programs.
What are your top priorities in Wellesley?
Coming in new, with this being my first year in Wellesley, my top priorities are to meet and get to know the teachers, administrators and other district employees, the students and parents, and community members. I am also looking forward to getting to know our performing arts programs better, and collaboratively developing sustainable goals for any needed improvements that place our students at the center of our working together.
Fun facts: Favorite kind of music or performer? Favorite play and/or musical or dance style?
* My favorite kind of music is Renaissance and early Baroque music (choral, solo voice, and chamber instrumental music). I had specifically studied the historical impact of composers that came through the Venetian school at Basilica di San Marco (St. Mark’s), and works of Willaert, the Gabrielli’s, Monteverdi, and others.
* I also love many contemporary music forms and genre; ballet, tap, modern dance, and jazz dance; and I enjoy outstanding theatrical performances.