The Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network, by Dr. Carole Hankin

Since 1990, Dr. Carole Hankin has led New York’s Syosset Central School District as Superintendent. During her tenure, Dr. Hankin has prioritized personal and educational enrichment through the arts. In 2002, Syosset Central School District’s Board of Education received the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network and National School Boards Association Award in recognition of its achievement in facilitating the nation’s top arts education program.

For the last 22 years, The Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network has partnered with the National School Boards Association (NSBA) to recognize school boards that advocate the highest degree of education and commitment to the arts in their school districts. Specifically, KCAAEN awards boards whose educational programs focus on dance, visual arts, theater, and music, the four disciplines considered to be the cornerstone of artistic pursuits.

Every year, school districts across the United States place increasing emphasis on their arts programs. In addition to instilling a desire for greater education in disciplines such as science, mathematics, language, and history, more teachers recognize the necessity of creative expression. Educators and administrators hope that by encouraging an interest in different types of art, students will continue to satisfy their desire for creative expression by enrolling in additional art courses throughout their educational careers.

Candidates for the annual KCAAEN award are narrowed down to school boards per state. Representatives from KCAAEN and the NSBA confer with educators and administrators involved in the arts to make the final decision. The chosen board receives the award at the yearly NSBA conference and joins an extensive list of school districts that have won the award dating back to 2001.

The Westchester Community College Foundation, by Dr. Carole Hankin

As the Superintendent of Schools for the Syosset Central School District in New York for more than 20 years, Dr. Carole Hankin oversees approximately 6,600 students across 10 schools. In the interest of enhancing her district’s educational opportunities, she forged partnerships between her district and entities such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, and Rockefeller University.

Many individuals aspire to continue their educational pursuits at a higher learning institution, but rising tuition costs and other financial concerns often make those ambitions difficult to achieve. Established in 1969, the Westchester Community College Foundation aims to raise funds for students unable to pay for their education solely through public funding.

A nonprofit organization, the foundation conducts various fund-raising events and programs to raise funds for students in need of financial support. Many of the programs supported by the foundation have proven essential to Westchester Community College, but have no other means of support outside of the foundation’s efforts. Indeed, the foundation itself would not exist without the support of numerous local businesses and individuals who believe in its cause. Donors take pleasure in knowing that their contributions go directly toward providing students with the educational opportunities they desire and help faculty to continue their work.

Since it started over 42 years ago, the foundation has raised more than $12 million in grants and scholarships. The awards aided more than 13,000 individuals to enter college and pursue their chosen degrees and careers. In cases where students require additional support outside Westchester’s budget, the foundation provides aid via the Westchester Community College Volunteer Corp. More than 400 volunteers serve in positions across the Westchester campus, donating their time as tutors, landscapers, and cultural arts program assistants, among other special projects.

Readers interested in learning more about the foundation can visit Sunywcc.edu/aboutwcc/wcc_foundation/foundation.htm.