Thursday, January 23, 2014

Director of Fine Arts Named for Pine Tree ISD

Pine Tree Independent School District announced Mark Melton as the new Pine Tree ISD Director of Fine Arts at a meeting held, Wednesday, January 21, 2014, on the high school campus.

“Pine Tree has so many talented students and fantastic teachers,” Melton said, “I am honored to be charged with the task of coordinating our programs to elevate fine arts programs to new heights.”

According to James Skeeler, Assistant Superintendent for Personnel, the new position, Director of Fine Arts, was created to direct and manage the overall program of fine arts for the district. Melton will work to provide each student an opportunity to participate in fine arts and ensure compliance with all district, state, University Interscholastic League (UIL) requirements.

“This is something I feel is really important and that we need to do,” Melton said. “We need to all be on the same page when it comes to scheduling facilities, such as the auditorium and the theater.

“A lot of the teachers share the same students, and we want to be able to coordinate the calendar of events better,” he said. The district has more than 1,000 junior high and high school students in the fine arts programs.

Melton will continue as band director. Major responsibilities for the new position include:
  • providing leadership in the planning and execution of individual school concerts and other fine arts performances; 
  • assisting with recruitment, selection, and assignment in conjunction with campus principals of Fine Arts personnel; 
  • assisting in the professional development of Fine Arts staff; and 
  • continuing to promote student engagement and success, among other duties.
“One of the strategic goals for Pine Tree ISD is to provide the necessary support for student learning in order to increase their performance and prepare students for their chosen endeavors,” said Dr. TJ Farler, Superintendent of Schools. “We believe by providing leadership in the Fine Arts programs, we will be better able to provide for a richer and more well-rounded education for our students.”

“Classes in the Fine Arts develop many types of skills, including intuition, reasoning, and imagination. Students have the opportunity for unique forms of expression and communication,” said Farler. “Our hope is that the Fine Arts programs, like all that we offer here at Pine Tree, will continue to engage students and provide a platform for them to further develop their passions.

In addition to creating the new leadership position this year, Farler also created additional classes and an instructor for art instruction in grades 1st - 6th grade. Prior to this year, instruction in the visual arts on those campuses was either provided by volunteers, community partners or classroom teachers. The Primary Campus also added a full time music teacher, which prior to this year was only part time.

“We believe Mark Melton will be a great asset in this role,” said Farler. “He has demonstrated an ability to lead the band program on three campuses over the past few years, engaging students and including positive parent support,” she said.

Pine Tree High School Principal Cindy Gabehart said Melton will help fine arts grow on the campus as well as in the district.  “I think the main goal of creating this position is emphasizing the importance we feel fine arts can contribute to kids’ lives, their school and community,” she said.
Melton was hired in May 2011 as Director of Bands for Pine Tree ISD. Previously he served 23 years at Union Grove ISD. Under his direction as Director of Bands for Pine Tree, the PT PRIDE bands have earned two UIL Sweepstakes Awards and the Pride Marching Band advanced to the area marching contest this year.

Melton graduated from Kilgore High School and Stephen F. Austin University. He and his wife, Lyric Lyon Melton, have three children and two grandchildren.

Read article in LNJ web edition, published Jan. 23, 2014.

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