Survey of School Board Candidates

The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, representing over 100 organizations, is a strong advocate for quality education for all students, including the essential role of arts education. We invited the Sarasota County School Board candidates to share their views about arts education. We have provided their responses to help you make an informed decision.

Respondents were asked to use a 1-5 scale with 1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree.

Please scroll to see all candidates.

Candidate’s Name David Graham
District Sarasota County School Board District 2
I support the arts (music, theater. dance, visual arts, and media arts) as an essential part of the basic curriculum.5
I support increased opportunities for students to take arts courses. 5
I support arts being taught by a certified arts specialist with a sequential curriculum during the school day. 5
I support increased opportunities for classroom teachers to integrate the arts into other subjects. 5
I support art courses for students at all levels and abilities. 5
I support an arts curriculum that is culturally diverse and represents the unique background of all students.  5
I support dedicated, well-equipped facilities for teaching the arts. 5
I support equitable funding for the arts in the event of budget cuts or budget increases. 5
Have you served on the boards or committees of arts or cultural institutions. If so, which ones? Bay Professional Photographes Association
What cultural events (concerts, exhibits, etc.) have you attended this past year? My photos have been displayed in 16 galleries this year I have attended events at Ringling, Selby, and various gallery exhibitions. I just recently attended Booker VPA and I am a contributor and member to many Arts organizations. 
Have you ever personally participated in music, theater, dance, visual arts, or media arts? When and how? I am a professional photographer and my photos have been shown in 16 galleries.
If you have participated in the arts, what impact did they have on your life and your thinking? Art has changed my life. It has helped me be a mentally healthy and well rounded person. Art allows me express myself in a way that words can not. Art allows me to experience new ideas and concepts. Art makes me a better person. 
If you have a child or children involved in the arts, how has that impacted their lives? My sons have been involved in music as guitar performers and play in various bands. Music has given them a positive outlet and introduced them to like minded musicians. They have received positive reinforcement from their peers and people attending their performances. 
Do you have additional comments or address issues not raised in this survey?I believe that Art is critical to our society and essential for Sarasota County Schools. 
Candidate’s Name Karen Rose
District District 2
I support the arts (music, theater. dance, visual arts, and media arts) as an essential part of the basic curriculum.5
I support increased opportunities for students to take arts courses. 5
I support arts being taught by a certified arts specialist with a sequential curriculum during the school day. 5
I support increased opportunities for classroom teachers to integrate the arts into other subjects. 5
I support art courses for students at all levels and abilities. 5
I support an arts curriculum that is culturally diverse and represents the unique background of all students.  5
I support dedicated, well-equipped facilities for teaching the arts. 5
I support equitable funding for the arts in the event of budget cuts or budget increases. 5
Have you served on the boards or committees of arts or cultural institutions. If so, which ones? 
What cultural events (concerts, exhibits, etc.) have you attended this past year? 
Have you ever personally participated in music, theater, dance, visual arts, or media arts? When and how? 
If you have participated in the arts, what impact did they have on your life and your thinking? 
If you have a child or children involved in the arts, how has that impacted their lives? As a school principal for 14 years, I have personally witnessed the arts in my schools have a positive impact on thousands of students’ academic achievement, positive relationships, and self confidence.   
Do you have additional comments or address issues not raised in this survey?I am a strong advocate for the arts in our schools.  As a principal in our local schools, I initiated a middle school scheduling model that allowed every student to access the art course of their choice as a beginner, intermediate, and advanced student.  As an executive director, I required all middle schools to use the same master scheduling model to prioritize access to arts’ classes across the county.  It is my priority to have our schools and programs mirror our Sarasota arts and culture mecca.  I am an advocate to increase access to dance and drama classes.  Our students want more options.  At Sarasota Middle School, I generated funding to create an Art’s Center to showcase student art work, hold community functions, and serve as a school center that houses models for instruction in art.  
Candidate’s Name Eric Robinson
District 3
I support the arts (music, theater. dance, visual arts, and media arts) as an essential part of the basic curriculum.5
I support increased opportunities for students to take arts courses. 5
I support arts being taught by a certified arts specialist with a sequential curriculum during the school day. 5
I support increased opportunities for classroom teachers to integrate the arts into other subjects. 5
I support art courses for students at all levels and abilities. 5
I support an arts curriculum that is culturally diverse and represents the unique background of all students.  5
I support dedicated, well-equipped facilities for teaching the arts. 5
I support equitable funding for the arts in the event of budget cuts or budget increases. 5
Have you served on the boards or committees of arts or cultural institutions. If so, which ones? I have served on the Sarasota Fair Board
What cultural events (concerts, exhibits, etc.) have you attended this past year? Ringling, the Venice Art Center and the Venice Symphony.  I have also attended my children’s art and music shows on numerous occasions.
Have you ever personally participated in music, theater, dance, visual arts, or media arts? When and how? I have taken classes at Mccurdy in the past 12 months.
If you have participated in the arts, what impact did they have on your life and your thinking? 
If you have a child or children involved in the arts, how has that impacted their lives? All three of my children play an instrument and it has directly impacted their education.   My children also take photography and painting classes which has given them a wonderful outlet.
Do you have additional comments or address issues not raised in this survey?I have been a strong supporter of the school referendum and the arts program that it supports.
Candidate’s NameThomas Edwards
DistrictDistrict 3
I support the arts (music, theater. dance, visual arts, and media arts) as an essential part of the basic curriculum.5
I support increased opportunities for students to take arts courses.5
I support arts being taught by a certified arts specialist with a sequential curriculum during the school day.5
I support increased opportunities for classroom teachers to integrate the arts into other subjects.5
I support art courses for students at all levels and abilities.5
I support an arts curriculum that is culturally diverse and represents the unique background of all students.5
I support dedicated, well-equipped facilities for teaching the arts.5
I support equitable funding for the arts in the event of budget cuts or budget increases.5
Have you served on the boards or committees of arts or cultural institutions. If so, which ones?No
What cultural events (concerts, exhibits, etc.) have you attended this past year?Season subscriber Venice Theater
Season subscriber Venice Symphony
Asolo Theater – The Sound of Music
  Murder on the Orient Express
Sarasota Ballet – The Nutcracker
Sarasota Opera House- Jennifer Sheehan
West Coast Black Theatre – Motown
   Christmas
Venice Performing Arts Center –
    The Broadway Boys
    Shen Yun
    Glenn Miller Tribute
Mr Swindle’s Pecularium

Membership Ringling Museum
Membership Selby Gardens
Have you ever personally participated in music, theater, dance, visual arts, or media arts? When and how?Tap Dance lessons elementary school 
If you have participated in the arts, what impact did they have on your life and your thinking?I have always had a deep appreciation of the arts and have attended countless Theater productions in both New York City and London.
I have also visited some of the world’s greatest museums, including The Met, The Museum of Modern Art, The National Gallery Washington D.C., The Louvre, The Rodin Museum, Musee d’Orsay, The National Gallery London, The Uffizi Gallery Florence, The Vatican Museums in Rome
If you have a child or children involved in the arts, how has that impacted their lives?I do not have children
Do you have additional comments or address issues not raised in this survey?I firmly believe that exposure to the arts as a child leads to well rounded adult who appreciates the beauty that the arts contribute to our world. 
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!