Elementary Fine Arts Blog




"Real success is about who you are and how far you’ve come."
Dr. Travis Bradberry

The month of May marks the Elementary Arts Month at the Center for the Arts which included our big blow out celebration of the District Wide Arts Showhttp://bit.ly/1R2WStO ; the Poetry Jam http://bit.ly/1XBlbH6 ;  and the Film Festival http://bit.ly/1W5eMo4.  This month also marks the end of an era for our elementary arts program... 

I was daydreaming about the last eight years of our program at the last meeting I attended.  I was fighting to stay awake through all of the educational jargon when I realized this must be what success feels like... not successful, but very tired.  

The past eight years have seen major growth in the elementary fine arts program and middle school bridge program with the seed funding from the Fine Arts Education Act.  Next year, our program is adding the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and doubling in size.  We have the official launch tomorrow of that 21st CCLC initiative focusing on STE(A)M and after school programs.  
Here is the link to the Media Meeting about the District Wide Art Show and 21st CCLC Program Launch:  

KZOR Media Meeting

Here is the link to the 21st CCLC program design:  http://prezi.com/ualclzq9q2aw/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share   

The Fine Arts and the 21st CCLC projects are a collaborative effort.  Collectively, they are also a very large endeavor.  We are bringing on very talented new people to the team and developing a substantial layer of leadership from all corners of the district.  All the while in the midst of a major system change in education and the world at large.  We certainly have much to worry about; and also much to discover about ourselves and how far we can go together.  

Special Programs

Broadmoor, Jefferson and Southern Heights Elementary kicked off the Special Program Concert Series for 2016.  They certainly brought the rain on Friday.  Click on this links below for the full performance:

Special Programs Concert Part 1:  http://bit.ly/1RYUo74   
Special Programs Concert Part 2:  http://bit.ly/1RLDALd  
SPUR TV Movie Feature:  http://bit.ly/1RLJtbk   
Principal's List Movie Feature:  http://bit.ly/1RLJV9A 

“We have the power to change...
We used to be a nation that was #1 in all categories of innovation. 
We are now #10.
But remember those powerful 10 two letter words...
“if it is to be, it is up to me.”
So nothing in the world changes unless we do...
and we are a product of that change.  
We have the power to create change.”
- Senator Cory Booker

The Southern Heights Elementary Project started with a seed inventory of three dusty piano keyboards in a portable building a few years ago.  This project has grown into a full blown rock band class, ballet folkloric class, piano class, ballroom class, photography/film class and theater class.  This massive project has set the bar high for special programming in the district.  This 21st Century Fine Arts Project has lead the way for more programming around the district which includes the Principal List (a multimedia class) and Drum Circle Class at Jefferson Elementary and Ukulele Class at Broadmoor Elementary.  It takes creativity, respect, humility and grit to build special programs around Principal Hunt’s vision for adults to start asking students “What will you be famous for?”

Performing Arts are a mandate in New Mexico in K-8th Grade. Performing Arts Instruction is supported by a K-5th Grade funded mandate called the Fine Arts Education Act of New Mexico.  Learning through the arts is also an integral part of the overall educational experience of an elementary student in the public schools in Hobbs, New Mexico.

Recently, the Wallace Foundation published a report called “Something to Say” about best practices in arts programming.  According to the report, the number one factor that determines a successful art program is the professional teachers who teach the classes.  The qualified teacher determines the level of excellence their students can achieve. Broadmoor, Jefferson and Southern Heights Elementary are good examples of following this best practice for executing quality arts programs.  Our professional teachers partner with the Hobbs Municipal Schools to fulfill these important state mandates with excellence.

There is something to be said for people who walk about eight paces ahead of everyone else - the innovators.  Who do not take no for an answer, they just find a better way.  They don’t rely on the small library of knowledge we already know, but are driven towards the larger part of the world that is yet to be discovered.  They learn to do larger things by collaborating across classrooms, school buildings, even across districts in the state.

This project involves professional musicians like Arnold Cardon who performs guitar professionally but shares his talents with the students at Southern Heights and Heizer Middle School.  We have recruited Emily Hayward who took on the Ukulele Project for the district at Broadmoor Elementary.  Her husband, Dan Hayward, who is a talented Math Teacher at Houston Middle School, is helping us provide sign language for the Ukulele performance.  Amanda Heister, a musician who shares her talents with her students every week created the drum circle at Jefferson Elementary.  Marisol Forrister has helped innovate media arts programming with the Principal’s List at Jefferson Elementary.  We involved dance teachers like Catherine Brijalba and Shannon Wright who share their love of folkloric dance and ballroom dance respectively with their students.  We have also partnered with some talented teachers at Southern Heights including Andrea Brzezinski Zielsdorf, Makayla McCormick and Eric Stevenson who teach the SPUR TV class and Catherine Brijalba and Diane Salinas who teach the Spur Thespian Class.

This collaboration of schools represents the innovative leadership flagship of the district fine arts program that has seen regional and national recognition for its programming with excellence.  This team of professionals combined with a group of talented students are always ready to try something new.  They have helped our elementary fine arts program develop a template for bridging programs to the middle school and for afterschool programming.  This template now includes four main components:

Healthy Snacks
Academic Support
Physical Activity
Enrichment in the Arts and Sciences

We are also developing four clear lanes for programming: Middle School Bridge Programs, General Art and Music Classes offered during the school day, Community Partnerships in the Performing Arts and After School Programs. All of those areas are developing new layers of leadership in the district arts program. This is why it is time to take the special programs to the next level from innovative beta projects and scale them into a program structure that will serve the district well in years to come.

Thank you for supporting the arts and your students.

Tyson Ledgerwood
Elementary Fine Arts Coordinator
Hobbs Municipal Schools

 *Senator Cory Booker quote from a "StarTalk" episode

NAEA Conference


“If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”- Isaac Newton

I am staying awake in my room at the Hotel Chicago waiting for my 3:45 am shuttle to the airport for a red-eye flight back to New Mexico.  This allows me to reflect on my experience at the 2016 National Art Education Association (NAEA) National Convention in Carl Sandburg's "city of the big shoulders". 

Dr. Jean Houston began the convention with her story of an inventive child who thought differently and was ill served by the traditional educational system.  Dr. Houston inspired us to look for new out-of-the-box ways to bring out the "possible human" in every student at this time of massive system changes.

William Strickland, the President and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation, commented this afternoon that, "Every person is born into this world as an asset... it is their environment that determines if they become a liability."  

There was also a kind shuttle driver who talked to the group in between wrestling her way through the Chicago traffic from the Hilton to the Convention Center.  She beamed about her grand-kids getting straight A's after she put them in a school with high standards.  Another reminder that parents and grandparents only have one chance with their students and they want to get it right.

I presented about our current innovative leadership in the media arts in New Mexico.  The presentation is at this link:  http://prezi.com/88hjlqj7n4el/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share   Yet, it was talking to my colleagues with their unique presentations and conversations about leadership that helped open my mind to even more possibilities.  Ofcourse, every time I talk to Michelle Lemons, our three-time NAEA Art Teacher Award Winner from New Mexico, I learn something new.

Listening to these people of action inspire me to take our efforts in Hobbs, New Mexico to the next level.

While in Chicago, I had a morning routine of "carbo-loading" on bread, lots of butter, potatoes and eggs covered in Tabasco sauce at the French Restaurant down the street from the hotel.  This gave me enough energy for all of the walking (this is a trick I learned in Europe in the old college days).  I followed my I-Phone Maps through Grant Park and crossed the bridge from the Maggie Daley to the Millennium Park.  I meandered past the Harris Theater over to the Cloud Gate sculpture and then into the Art Institute of Chicago in the heart of this amazing arts district.

Inside the Art Institute of Chicago, I walked through a large portion of my college art history book looking at the originals of Grant Wood's "American Gothic". Edward Hopper's "Night Hawks" and Georges Seurat's gigantic "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte".

On my final day I walked up the steps past the looming abstract bronze sculptures and into the Chicago Field Museum to see the Terra Cotta Warrior Exhibit from the ancient city of Xi'an.  I walked into the grand hall past the large Pacific Northwest Totems around the Elephants and over to the T-Rex.  Choral music originating from the center of the exhibit area spreading in a cathedral-style surround sound throughout the hall.  In the midst of the gathering crowd you could see a school choir.  Finally, I could not miss seeing the Tsavo Lion skulls.  Those were the lions from the legend adapted into the movie, "The Ghost and The Darkness", about overcoming fear and the focused mission of a bridge builder in Africa.  
And while we are on the subject of a focused mission... It is clear that Art Education is on the verge of some great things with education experiencing "a systems change".  The arts continue to be on the side of progress.  The artist mind is agile enough to paint "Night Hawks", to design and mold a Terra Cotta Warrior Army, or to create a millennium bridge from education's past to the future.  The artist and teacher are an asset in an educational system change coupled with the ebb and flow of the oil patch and national economy. 

In the end, there will always be people who bet against a student, a school or a city; and there will always be people who double down on their community.  One of them will always be right.  Only time will tell... and like Dr. Houston said, it is in the hands of the "possible human". One who stands on big shoulders and who will someday find a way to provide big shoulders for the next wave of leaders.  

Now it is back to New Mexico where there is a lot of work yet to be done...

 Newton Quote from:  http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/268025.html


“The creative individual is no longer 
viewed as an iconoclast.
He—or she—is the new mainstream.”

― Richard Florida 
The Rise of the Creative Class--Revisited: 10th Anniversary Edition--Revised and Expanded

The Middle School Musical on Friday at Tydings Auditorium was quite a success!  For their fans, they can view the full
performance online:
Full Performance Part 1:  http://bit.ly/1nZ5sU6 
Full Performance Part 2 and Director Interviews:  http://bit.ly/1WXzDHa  


We would like to thank all of the teachers and students who created this performance seen by over 800 students, parents and community people on Friday.  We would also like to thank the participating principals for shepherding this project every year towards excellence. 
"Adventures of a Comic Book Hero," was choreographed and directed by Hobbs High School Studio Theater students.  This project is part of the fine arts bridge program from the elementary schools to the high school for Theatre Arts.    As always, you can keep up with all of the upcoming fine arts events like the Middle School Musical on our Fine Arts Homepage: http://www.hobbsschools.net/department/FineArts 

It sounded like a great idea to have a 6th-grade musical in the middle of winter in 2012.  That was before we saw the forecast reminding us of La Niña and a snowstorm worthy of Anchorage hit Hobbs.  The audition was postponed twice.  Parents called school offices to see if school was cancelled and if auditions were cancelled - but not necessarily in that order.

This first-ever sixth-grade play had a challenging start.  However, it taught the students a valuable lesson about an old saying of the theatre world “the show must go on”.  We are not promised a warm summer every day of our life.  We will wake up some days and have plenty of snow and ice to choreograph our way through.  This is what the arts teach students.  The show must go on.

After the snow and ice melt away, you still have to show up.  You still have to do your best.  You still have to attempt excellence and leave it all on the stage.  We followed that flagship group of 6th graders through middle school and a few are actually directing this year as high school theater students.  The 6th Grade Musical became a full Middle School Play for 6th-8th grade students.  The project also created a new term used around the state called “Bridge Programming.”  The entire project is archived at this link:


The classroom teachers have been very impressed by the maturity and poise of the Theatre Studio Class who cast and directed the play.  We thank the elementary classroom teachers and the high school drama teacher, Summer Rickman, who helped structure the rehearsals to set the middle school actors up for success.  We thank the elementary school principals that coordinated the bussing of their 5th grade students over to Tydings Auditorium for the afternoon performance.  And most importantly we thank the middle school students for showing up and doing their best every day.  We hope you enjoyed “The Adventures of a Comic Book Artist.”  It represents the first major bridge between the elementary and secondary fine arts departments.

This year, Summer Rickman and her High School Studio Theatre Class have added a component with “Studio Sessions” on a couple of Saturdays in the fall.  This weekend theatre camp help prepare both directors and middle school theatre arts students for a big production like the Middle School Musical.

It is easy in the middle of winter, to focus on the lesser angels of being at school. The lagging economy, the bitter cold where Summer Break seems so far away.  This is the time of year for the Middle School Musical.  This year, I find myself having to do a double take as some of the actors and directors go out the door after rehearsal.  Many of these directors and actors have grown up before our eyes on the stage.  They might have started as a floppy petal flower in the “Wizard of Oz” and now have more grown up roles in “Adventures of a Comic Book Artist”.  This year, we also have some Studio Theatre Class students who were part of the inaugural Middle School Musical group in 6th Grade many years ago.

This bridge between the elementary, middle school and high school has been a long process to get to where it is now.  It has become a model for other districts around the state and has grown organically here in the Hobbs Municipal Schools.  We now have bridge programs at Southern Heights Elementary and Heizer Middle School in Ballet and Rock Band.  This year, we also have a new middle school theatre arts class which was a welcome addition as an elective to Houston Middle School.  There are also other programs already having conversations about their place in future bridge projects.

This bridge is a familiar path for many young theatre arts students who belong to this new generation of young artists (comic book or otherwise).  Their mission is to innovate, to build bridges, and to be a part of the fastest growing economic sector of the 21st Century - the Creative Economy.

Thank you for supporting the arts and your students.

Tyson Ledgerwood
Elementary Fine Arts Coordinator 
Hobbs Municipal Schools



40 Years

This month, my wife and Judy Abney, the clerk of our elementary fine arts program, and their team of helpers threw an amazing coffee themed birthday party to remind everyone not to forget I turned 40.  

I will miss the days when my colleagues and I would get into a heated discussion, I would remind them that, “what do I know, I am not even 40 yet?”  That allowed some room for perspective and we moved on to the next topic.  Although now having crossed the Rubicon into “the 40’s”, this what what I know thus far… There is a lot of change on the horizon and there is no turning back because that is how history works.  

I enjoyed talking with many of my colleagues about what was on my mind... the new ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act).  That is the new legislation which is replacing No Child Left Behind.  This is groundbreaking legislation because most of my career has been spent finding ways to work around the shortcomings of No Child Left Behind.  Although it wasn’t designed to; NCLB has marginalized arts education in the public schools incrementally since its inception in 2001.  New Mexico has been fortunate with the Fine Arts Education Act which passed in 2003 and has stood in the gap for these areas in the elementary schools.  There has also been tenacious support from the local communities which has supported the secondary arts programs in New Mexico. 

There is always a chance that the ESEA could be redirected into “business as usual”, however, we are older and wiser now.  We have a growing team of colleagues who are capable of redirecting the redirection.  The public has spoken and has changed public education for the better with this course correction of the new ESEA.  We have a lot to look forward to.  We plan to complete the arts programs with the help of a solid team of arts professionals that have survived the long wilderness period of No Child Left Behind.  During the last fifteen years, these professionals have developed their talent, their loyalty and most importantly… their grit.  My 40th birthday party had a room filled with many of these colleagues and it was a true honor to have them there and talk about the big plans ahead in 2016 and beyond.



Make No Little Plans...

"Make no little plans.  They have no magic to stir men's blood.  

Make big plans.”

 - Vince Lombardi

We live in dark days.  This month, on our screens we have seen major cultural institutions in Paris like concert halls and stadiums become targets for the most disillusioned and disconnected among us.  Closer to home, in Lea County, the economy seems to struggle to find its way.  And in the midst of all of this, we take a break to celebrate the great American holiday “Thanksgiving” this week.  So what is there to be thankful for in these dark days?  

The most amazing possession any of us have in good economic times or bad... stability or instability in the world... we all have our mind.  The central focus of all quality educational institutions is growing the mind of students.  The mind will always be the single most powerful resource any individual can possess.  It is also the primary tool utilized when planning for the future and the greater good.  And why dedicate a mind to the greater good?  Peggy Noonan commented in a recent interview:

“…that you are living not only your own life but the life of your times.  And therefore you have to be part of it, you have to pitch in, you are not just living your own thing… you are part of an era, you are part of an epic, you are a part of something big."*

This guiding principle of our elementary program of "make no little plans" has served us well and has grown a program which started with a few small programs a decade ago into part of something larger than the sum of its parts.

Afterschool Initiative

In the past few weeks, we have showcased our after school programs which participated in Governor Martinez's "Lights On Afterschool Day".  Click here for the highlights:  http://bit.ly/1krbLOB 

We presented on our "Innovative Leadership" focus at the NMAEA (New Mexico Art Education Association) conference in Taos, New Mexico.  

Click here for the presentation:  http://prezi.com/88hjlqj7n4el/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share 


 NMAEA Conference


Our media arts groups have finished their first two major projects this year.

Click here for TAYLOR TV's October Movie:  http://bit.ly/1MubQxx   and November Movie:  http://bit.ly/1HcH61O 

Click here for the Principal's List October Movie:  http://bit.ly/1XFplfF and November Movie:  http://bit.ly/1LqsHdm  

Greg and Chris visited our school district and created a STEM Play and American History Melodramas with the 5th Grade classes at three schools.

Click here for the Taylor Elementary STEM Play:  http://bit.ly/1Pw8F8U 

and Behind the Scenes:  http://bit.ly/1PwbK9d   



Click here for the Mills Elementary American History Melodrama:  http://bit.ly/1GC05SP 

and Behind the Scenes:  http://bit.ly/1MLXGBT   



The Founding Fathers

Click here for the Broadmoor Elementary American History Melodrama:  http://bit.ly/1OcIuCR 

and Behind the Scenes:  http://bit.ly/21cIVlV   

Finally, our talented elementary music teachers completed a successful American Education Week.  Click here for the highlights:  http://www.hobbsschools.net/cms/One.aspx?portalid=1377&pageid=77338&cu=1&year=15-16&video=American_Education_Week     


So where do we go from here?  In good times we execute major programming and in bad times, we make plans.  However, we plan to continue to follow Lombardi’s lead and make “no little plans”.  We have some substantial collaborations on the horizon.  It is time to tap into our better minds and start to plan for better days.  

Thank you for supporting the arts and kids.

*Peggy Noonan quote from:  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/changing_lanes/2015/11/16/peggy_noonan_on_life_as_a_writer.html  

Vince Lombardi quote from: http://investoquotia.com/motivators/vince-lombardi/

Youth Arts Month

“Whether or not they are bound for Broadway, we don’t know, 

but the idea is...

Be bound for something.  

Figure out what that is and work hard, and do your best...

and don’t give up until you get there.”


- Russell Baker

Executive Director of the National Dance Institute of New Mexico



The Secretary from the Department of Cultural Affairs visited last week at the Western Heritage Museum.  Secretary Gonzales commented on the amazing sunset she witnessed the night before as she entered Lea County.  She observed golds, pinks and deep violets that blanketed the sky that evening.  It is great to be reminded by our friends from the North of why people are enchanted by southeastern New Mexico.  It also reminds us to look up every now and then and behold the painted sky.

The Department of Cultural Affairs conducted a substantial study on the state of the arts and culture in New Mexico.  The state has boasted steady economic development but it is also known for some of it cultural areas.  The study referenced how the arts and culture is the fastest growing economy in the world.  It is also one of the largest economic forces in New Mexico to the tune of 5.6 billion dollars per year.  This places New Mexico in a unique place in the country and around the globe.  New Mexico has historically been a leader in many areas in the arts.  The art and culture sector is responsible for around 80,000 jobs a year in the state carving out 10% of all total jobs.

New Mexico Public Education Department provides a gold sealed letter every year that outlines the funding source for arts education in K-5 called the Fine Arts Education Act.

This funding source helps make arts education the largest sector of the arts and culture economy in the state.  The arts also have been honored with a gold sealed proclamation from the Governor proclaiming September “Youth Art Month”.

And what a month it was...

We had a prelude to the month with the Missoula Children’s Theatre’s production of “Cinderella” in late August.  Watch the Missoula Children's Theatre performance:  

• Cinderella Part 1:  http://bit.ly/1Eid2R7   

• Cinderella Part 2:  http://bit.ly/1EijVSg

Then September started with a bang with NDI-New Mexico’s headlining show of “Rollin’ on the Rio!” Southern Heights, Coronado, Will Rogers, Edison and the Tiny Tots from BTW participated in this educational show about rivers of the world.  Watch the National Dance Institute of New Mexico Highlights:

 We had our 60 best pieces of artwork from the District Wide Art Show on display at the State Fair in Albuquerque, New Mexico for three weeks as around 15,000 parents and community members from around the state came by to take a look throughout the month.

We had one of our Middle School Bridge Programs, a collaboration with the High School Drama Department, have the first Middle School Musical Workshop at Tydings Auditorium and the High School Little Theater on a Saturday.  The High School Students taught the middle school students the craft of the theatre arts for a day.  Many of the participants were from Houston Middle School which has a new theatre arts class this year.

Missoula Children’s Theatre returned for “The Jungle Book” and “Red Riding Hood” in the final weeks of the month.  Watch the Missoula Children's Theatre highlights:


Jungle Book Part 1:  http://bit.ly/1KGLLbI   

Jungle Book Part 2:  http://bit.ly/1KGTHK5 

Red Riding Hood Part 1:  http://bit.ly/1iXrc0k 

Red Riding Hood Part 2:  http://bit.ly/1GfKq6o 

Red Riding Hood Director Interview:  http://bit.ly/1VjtQi2 

We also had a reception and ribbon cutting of the new Medical Arts Plaza at the Lea Regional Medical Center.  The District Wide Art Show winners are on display for a year in the hallways of the newly revamped wing of the hospital. And for the finale, we bring September to a close this week with the help of two new NDI-New Mexico schools, Stone and Mills Elementary.  They participated in NDI-New Mexico’s “Come Watch Us Dance!” production in front of thousands of screaming fans.  

Watch the Behind the Scenes Video:  http://bit.ly/1hkCKZR 

Watch the highlights:  http://bit.ly/1PUrNu6   

Watch the the Principal's List NDI-New Mexico Artistic Outreach Director Interview:  http://bit.ly/1LeJg0k

Watch the Full Afternoon Performance:  http://bit.ly/1OiojV0

We have had much success because our elementary arts program expects all of the teachers and students to follow the principles of excellence.  We believe in NDI-New Mexico’s mission with arts and kids to inspire the students to be bound for something great and “...work hard, do your best and don’t give up until they get there.”  This is the mission of our elementary arts education at the Hobbs Municipal Schools.

Thank you for supporting the arts and kids.


Tyson Ledgerwood

Elementary Fine Arts Coordinator

Hobbs Municipal Schools 



Choose to chance the rapids and dare to dance the tide...

Take a look at some of SPUR TV's best shots of the NDI-New Mexico Performance on the Nikon Camera.  The 4th Grade students from Coronado, Edison, Southern Heights and Will Rogers Elementary and the Tiny Tots from Booker T. Washington Elementary did an outstanding job on Friday at their performance of "Rollin' on the Rio".  You can view all of the videos below:

Take a look at some of the best "Behind the Scenes" footage of the NDI-New Mexico Performance "Rollin' on the Rio".   The 4th Graders from Coronado, Will Rogers, Southern Heights and Edison Elementary and Booker T. Washington Tiny Tots helped us kick down the fourth wall and show some of the action back stage.   Click on this link http://bit.ly/1K2Kyei to view the video.


“Too many times we stand aside and let the waters slip away.  'Til what we put off 'til tomorrow has now become today.  So don't you sit upon the shoreline and say you're satisfied...  

Choose to chance the rapids and dare to dance the tide...”

- Garth Brooks

from the song “The River”

For many years, my wife and I visit my family in the summer in Buena Vista, Colorado.  It is a beautiful drive up there especially when you round the corner of the mountain pass and see the long emerald green valley.  This is where the headwaters of the Arkansas River begin.  Streams form 14,000 feet above sea level in the snowcapped Collegiate Peaks framing the valley.  The river forms and grows in size as it travels through many states before it joins the Mississippi River on its journey to the Gulf of Mexico.  It is amazing to think that something as large as the Arkansas River has its humble beginnings in a sleepy valley in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, but then again, most things of significance start small.

The headwaters of the National Dance Institute of New Mexico project in the Hobbs Municipal Schools began in the depths of the recession of 2008.  The economy was in terrible shape, so our elementary arts program with the investment from the state (The Fine Arts Education Act) decided to pilot small programs around the district to identify some best practices for arts programming.  One of the pilot programs included the National Dance Institute of New Mexico with some additional support from the S.P. & Estelle Yates Family Foundation.  Principal Hunt signed up to work with Maki, Kirsten and Alyx, the residency directors, and created an amazing experience for the students of Edison Elementary.  This small success caught the attention of the J.F Maddox Foundation.  Bob and Jennifer sat down with me at Tijuana’s Mexican Restaurant and had a conversation about innovative leadership.  This current NDI-NM project grew out of that conversation.  In the last four years, this project has grown from something done with excellence on a small scale into hundreds of student dancers performing for a live audience of thousands.  The J.F Maddox Foundation has been stalwart guides in this process of scaling this program within a short period of time in Hobbs, New Mexico.

We are fortunate in southeastern New Mexico to have broad based support on this project from stakeholders that share the values of the Core Four: Stay Fit, Work Hard, Do Your Best and Never Give Up.  Instead of staying on the shoreline, they have “chosen to chance the rapids” and “dared to dance the tide” with us.  These champions have helped provide an educational culture of excellence and artistry.  The students are allowed to become a unique part of something they could not create on their own because it is bigger than themselves.  This is the power of the arts.  The arts provide the ability to live for a moment on stage in a world far away from Turner Street; it encourages a student to make the most of their moment in the spotlight and learn their small part in something of lasting significance.

Thank you for supporting the arts and kids.

Garth Brooks Lyrics from: www.elyrics.net


A New Beginning

A New Beginning

“To myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” 

- Isaac Newton

You can see the overview of our elementary fine arts program for the 2015-2016 School Year at this link:  http://bit.ly/1JdkuIX .  

When I think about the upcoming school year, Isaac Newton’s image of the sea-shore comes to mind.  We have certainly accumulated a lot of shiny pebbles and shells the past few years.  There are many parts of our program that are a model for the country in how to build an arts program through a recession.  We also have some underdeveloped areas that are due to hit a growth spurt this year.  Our program has also found its best role in the school district which is to provide a balance to the curriculum.  We certainly could focus on all of our shinny pebbles on the beach.  However, at this point it would be wise to pause and look at the ocean of undiscovered truth before us.  

As much a we have learned along the way, we still have much to learn.  We are not finished in our attempt to establish the rightful place of the arts in 21st Century education which changes focus rapidly and the 21st Century world that changes as consistently as the setting sun.  We still have much to learn.  We should continue to strife for things greater than ourselves.  This is why we need each other.  We need the full fine arts team working with the community to bring their best effort this year.  We are at the edge of the great ocean before us and we have just begun.  

Quote from:  http://whowasisaacnewton.com 


Medical Arts Plaza

Lea Regional Medical Arts Plaza

An elementary principal told us recently that our elementary art show has come a long way in the last  few years.  The elementary school hallway displays in the last week of April have grown exponentially.

The school hallways spotlighted the ingenuity of many teachers as well as the creative and well-crafted projects of their students in April.  One elementary school turned their hallways into an art gallery featuring famous artists including quotes of wisdom from each artist.  Another school created a hallway which looked like an old spaghetti western movie set complete with a sound track of from out of a Roy Rogers black and white TV show.  One school decorated their hallway from floor to ceiling with different characters and scenes from their favorite book.  Each classroom from all twelve elementary schools had a top student picture which was framed and displayed at the Center for the Arts this year in May.

In September there will be an art exhibit of all 89 school districts at the State Fair Grounds in Albuquerque.  For Hobbs, this will include seven of our People’s Choice Awards from the Center for the Arts show plus around fifty more pieces.  The art work you see in the hallway at the Lea Regional Medical Arts Plaza is part of this district wide project.  This is quite a selection of art work that represents the best of the best of our Hobbs Municipal Schools elementary artwork.  We would like to thank the Lea Regional Medical Center for their community partnership with the Hobbs Municipal Schools which includes the hallway exhibit at the Lea Regional Medical Arts Plaza.

If you have any questions about the Elementary Fine Arts Program you can visit our website at http://hobbsschools.net/department/FineArts/  

Thank you for your interest in the arts.


Tyson Ledgerwood

Elementary Fine Arts Coordinator 

Hobbs Municipal Schools 


District Wide Art Show

Elementary Arts Month at the Center for the Arts

"An effective education in the fine arts helps students to see what they look at, hear what they listen to, and feel what they touch.  

It allows the imagination to roam, develop and from imagination, dreams flourish and invention begins." 

 - Miriam Moorhouse

Project Manager Constituent Services and Strategic Initiatives Bureau

Public Education Department

 Our elementary fine arts program was honored when Andrew Akufo, the Executive Director of the Lea County Commission for the Arts, proclaimed May 2015 "Elementary Arts Month" at the Center for the Arts.  More than 1000 parents and community supporters visited Hobbs Municipal School's three major presentations in May.

2015 District Wide Art Show


All twelve elementary schools were represented Saturday as student artists, parents and grandparents came to the Center for the Arts to view the exhibit of ribbon winners from the Art Fair.  Click on this link for highlights:  http://bit.ly/1dWoDJi .


2015 Poetry Jam

College Lane students and Lea County Fair & Rodeo Queen, Crystal Harris recited their original Cowboy Poetry works at Tuesday night's Poetry Jam - held at the Center for Arts.  Click on this link for highlights:  http://bit.ly/1enG05S 

2015 Film Festival 

We had a Film Festival at the Center for the Arts Thursday night.  It involved the Elementary School Media Arts Groups at Southern Heights and Jefferson Elementary Schools.  Click on this link for highlights:  http://bit.ly/1Hoar8z . 

2015 School Board Trophy Presentation

The 2015 District Wide Art Show School Board Trophy Presentation was filmed by Best Picture Winners Principal's List.  Click on this link for highlights:  http://bit.ly/1EiH7bO . 

In reflecting back on the events of this month, it has been very exciting and quite a celebration at the Center for the Arts.  However, the most exciting part is thinking about what is to come...  the upcoming Summer Camps for students of all ages and the New Media Show where the SPUR TV film class at Southern Heights Elementary is participating.  It is amazing that the elementary arts has an entire month, yet, it is clear that celebrating the arts is becoming a year long event.

Thank you for supporting the arts and students.

Film Festival

"Education is not the filling of a pail, 

but the lighting of a fire."

- William Butler Yeats

Many teachers choose to teach in the elementary grades because it is where they see the most opportunity to get a child's attention and point them on a successful trajectory throughout their education.  A wise superintendent once said that he could guarantee a student could graduate from high school if three things happened:  the student had a quality 1st Grade Teacher, a solid mentor in 9th Grade and participated in extra curricular areas like sports or the arts in High School.  Those are three milestones a parent must hit to guarantee their child's success in school.  

Many people ask us "Why is the Fine Arts Education Act a K-5th Grade mandate?"  Why elementary school?  It is because the elementary school is the foundation of all education.  It is the first of those important milestones in a student's education.  It is the time when we have their undivided attention and talented teachers can light a fire of interest that can guide the student throughout their entire educational career.

This lighting of a fire and setting a student's trajectory in elementary school is serious business.  We are fortunate to have many resources in the elementary arts thanks to the Fine Arts Education Act which funds the lion's share of the programming of the fourteen elementary schools, and bridge programming into the three middle schools.  Yet, it is the highly qualified teacher which is the biggest X-factor that makes any strategic plan we do successful.  They are the gate keepers of the school culture.  They determine whether the school is a place a student can't wait to get to in the morning or a place where a student dreads to come to everyday.  Whether it is our artist in residence, direct instruction teachers, or our colleagues in the secondary fine arts; this team illuminates qualities we are looking for in future members of the elementary fine arts team.  Those qualities include:  Respect, Humility, Grit, Fearlessness, Organization, Professionalism, Creativity and being Mission Oriented.  These colleagues are our local celebrities who can't walk through Walmart without being stopped by their students who are excited to see them.  

So as we look back on the progress of the last seven years and plan on the next three years to complete the program.  We can be rest assured we are lighting a fire of interest in the arts in the elementary school.  Most importantly, we began where every good plan begins... at the beginning... in the elementary schools.


Thank you for supporting the arts and your students.

Tyson Ledgerwood

Elementary Fine Arts Coordinator

Hobbs Municipal Schools




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