Education and Outreach / Community Impact
Clark County School District (CCSD) gave The Smith Center special recognition this June for its “significant, consistent and lasting contributions.”
But CCSD wasn’t honoring the center for its contributions to the performing arts.
Instead, the school district honored The Smith Center, a nonprofit, for its outstanding impact on education in the community — a side of the center that many might not be aware of.
As a result of its many education and outreach programs — provided to over half a million Southern Nevada students, with the help of public support — The Smith Center was chosen as one of just 10 organizations and individuals inducted into CCSD’s 2018 Excellence in Education Hall of Fame.
The CCSD Board of Trustees established this annual honor in 1989 to recognize organizations, programs and individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to education in the community.
“The Smith Center for the Performing Arts has already had a widespread, positive impact on the quality of life, culture and education for the students of the Clark County School District,” said Kirsten Searer, CCSD chief communications marketing and strategy officer, during the inductee announcement event at the Clark County Commission Chambers.
Transforming Southern Nevada with Arts Education
Searer cited many reasons The Smith Center earned this honor.
She pointed out how The Smith Center, with the help of donations and its affiliations with national programs, “offers students and teachers in Southern Nevada myriad opportunities to connect with the arts.”
Since opening in 2012, The Smith Center has provided arts education experiences for over 650,000 students and teachers, most at no cost to participants.
Searer listed just a few of these experiences, including The Smith Center presenting student matinees in its theaters, and coordinating workshops and master classes with professional teaching artists.
She also lauded how The Smith Center offers professional development for teachers, that it created the annual Nevada High School Musical Theater Awards, and that it helps elementary schools develop sustainable theater programs with the Disney Musicals in Schools program.
The Smith Center further provides in-school performances that “have reached more than 40,000 students and teachers just this year alone,” she added.
Searer emphasized how Myron Martin, president and CEO of The Smith Center, has placed strong focus on education.
“(Martin) sets the vision for a performing arts center where many can enjoy the arts, and where children can receive arts education,” she said.
She also applauded Candy Schneider, vice president of Education and Outreach at The Smith Center, for focusing her career “on arts education, and working with the community to enhance education.”
The Smith Center collaborates with prominent national organizations to provide many of its education and outreach initiatives, including Disney Theatrical Group, The Kennedy Center and the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts.
The Smith Center was nominated for the Excellence in Education Hall of Fame by Beverly Mason, director of the CCSD School-Community Partnership Program.
Names of inductees are engraved on a permanent display in the Edward A. Greer Education Center.
“We are so grateful for this incredible (Smith Center) partnership that encourages, inspires and enriches the lives of students in Clark County,” Searer said.