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ArtsBuild’s Director of Grants and Initiatives, Rodney Van Valkenburg, was elected on February 7 to the Kennedy Center Partners in Education Advisory Committee while attending the Partners in Education Annual Meeting, held in Arlington, VA. As an Advisory Committee member, Mr. Van Valkenburg will act as a direct contact for the North/Central region he represents. Other Advisory Committee members include Robin Bailey, Tracy Butler, Linda Candib, Laurie Fellenz, Darren Verbick, Robin Wilks-Dunn, and Chauna Williams.

Mr. Van Valkenburg joined ArtsBuild in 2001 after serving for more than 18 years with the Chattanooga Theatre Centre as Director of Programs and as Director of Education. He holds a MFA in child drama from the University of North Carolina - Greensboro. He is a past President and volunteer Executive Director with the Tennessee Alliance for Arts Education and past President with the Tennessee Theatre Association. In addition, he was Secretary and Chair of the Children’s Theatre Division of the Southeastern Theatre Conference and served as a panelist for the Learning in the Arts grants with the National Endowment for the Arts. Mr. Van Valkenburg has directed over 100 plays for adults and youth, and served as Artistic Director of the 1990 International Theatre Camp in Narva, Estonia. In 1992 he was named Youth Theatre Director of the Year by the American Alliance for Theatre in Education and received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Tennessee Theatre Association. Mr. Van Valkenburg was also recognized for his “Distinguished Service to Education” by the Chattanooga Chapters of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International.

About Partners in Education at the Kennedy Center

In 1991, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts initiated the Partners in Education program. The program is designed to assist arts organizations across the nation in developing or expanding educational partnerships with their local school systems to strengthen the role of arts in education. The program consists of a training institute at the Kennedy Center for Partnership Teams representing the arts organization and school system, with continued professional development through annual meetings. The program is based on the belief that the professional development of teachers is an essential component of efforts to include the arts in education for young people.

Now in its twenty-fifth year, the Partners in Education program serves 100 Partnership Teams from 43 states and the District of Columbia.