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Hawley selected as fine arts director - Odessa American: Education

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Hawley selected as fine arts director

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Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2018 1:51 pm

After years of success as head choir director at Permian High School, Aaron Hawley has been named director of fine arts for Ector County Independent School District.

Hawley said this is a new position developed during the course of this year. Serving under Executive Director of Fine Arts Mark Lyon, it has three different aspects.

The position, he said, entails interacting with teachers, which includes hiring new teachers, observing teachers, visiting their campuses and providing professional development opportunities; an administrative aspect — working with other administrators to make sure fine arts is supporting other elements of the district; and interaction with the public to make sure they are aware of activities that they can come out and support.

Lyon said having Hawley as an administrator will take some of the load off him because Hawley will be able to handle more of the day-to-day operations of the fine arts office. That leaves Lyon to handle more of the global issues, such as visiting classrooms and offering teacher support, he said.

He added there are 27,000 ECISD students involved in fine arts. The district has more than 32,000 students.

This would have been Hawley’s 10th year at PHS. Permian’s varsity choir, Kantorei, was invited to perform at the Texas Music Educators Convention in San Antonio earlier this year.

“One of the reasons I hired Hawley is he’s one of the best in the field that I’ve seen, as far as a music educator or a fine arts educator. Performance-wise, his groups are phenomenal as you know from TMEA last year and all the Black Magic performances and Kantorei. It was really hard to take him out of the classroom with all the talent, but what we can ask him to do is to help our other teachers create that success the way that he did …,” Lyon said.

Lyon said the search for Hawley’s replacement is ongoing. Current directors are Kenneth Sieloff, Suvanna Lyon and Kara Kupecki, who is a new hire.

Hawley acknowledged that it was difficult to leave the PHS choir because they were so successful last school year, but he’s looking forward to seeing other students perform whether they are in choir, band or on the dance team.

“I worked with the same directors for multiple years now. I felt comfortable that they’re in good hands and they know what we have done for the past couple of years and they’re doing a fine job continuing on. It’s not easy. They’re having to do extra work because I’m not there. I’m sure they’re anxious for us to fill that spot, but the students will be good. They are receiving fine teaching while they’re looking for somebody,” Hawley said.

Hawley, who grew up in New Orleans and West Monroe, La., earned a bachelor’s of music education from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark., a master’s from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene and his doctorate of musical arts from the University of North Texas in Denton.

“That’s probably when my interest in the type of position like this developed,” Hawley said.

At the time, people were asking him if he was going to teach college. He said it wasn’t his intention to leave Permian.

Hawley said he loved his job, but it did prompt him to start thinking about what more he could do with his degree. He added that he plans to stay in kindergarten through 12th grade education.

“Students need quality education in elementary, middle school, secondary and college. You may be called to teach one more than other and I just believe secondary is where I was called. The other thing I considered was elementary music. I love elementary kids. They’re just kind of cool. They really want to learn,” Hawley said.

He said he went to Hardin-Simons with the intention of working in Texas because he felt that Texas fine arts are superior in many ways. His first job was as choir director at South Garland High School.

The quality of the choir program drew him to Odessa. Hawley noted that the Permian choir has had several influential directors such as Randy Talley, Shawn Bell, and Allen Hightower.

“It’s just a really high level of music,” Hawley said.

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