The Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustees named the district's first-ever fine arts director during a specially called meeting Thursday morning.
That individual is Phillip Morgan, who currently serves as the director of visual and performing arts for Goose Creek Consolidated ISD, near Houston. The district has more than 23,000 students and includes 30 campuses.
As the fine arts director for WISD, Morgan will be responsible for the overall program direction for the band, choir, dance, theater arts and visual arts programs from pre-kindergarten through high school.
"Waxahachie ISD is well-known throughout the state and beyond for our strong fine arts programs," said Dr. Bonny Cain, Waxahachie ISD interim superintendent. "The addition of a fine arts director position underscores the district's commitment to the success of all of our fine arts programs, and our desire to continue to improve and align these programs at the elementary level. Mr. Morgan is a fantastic addition to our district's leadership team."
After the called meeting, Morgan sat down with the Daily Light to elaborate on his passion for the arts and noted the importance of this position.
"Every district has an athletic director regardless of how small they are because they understand the importance of having someone to be able to organize and structure, set vision, alleviate pressure off teacher roles and coach roles," Morgan explained. "It is critical because it does two things. One, it gives accountability to the program and justifies the fact that they aren't just supplementary programs."
In his younger years, Morgan was an athlete at a 1A school and had the opportunity to compete in UIL One-Act Play his junior year. The experience fostered his support of all areas of fine arts.
Morgan continued to speak of accolades the fine arts programs have received in WISD and noted the director of each program by first and last name. He expressed the rich fine arts heritage that already exists in Waxahachie and hopes to deepen that within the community.
"I think I've always done a good job at leaving districts better than I found them. It's going to be tough in Waxahachie because they are already so good," he said. "There are areas where we can go from state prominence to national level, so we become the standard for fine arts, not only in Texas, UIL and TMEA, but across the nation."
Morgan previously served as the fine arts director for Waco ISD, as a speech and communications professor at Tarrant County College – Trinity River Campus, and as a theater arts, speech, and debate teacher at MacArthur High School in Irving, according to a WISD issued press release.
Morgan obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas at Arlington, a Master of Arts degree from Jones International University, and anticipates a doctoral degree in Administration and Educational Leadership from Lamar University in fall 2019.
To conclude the interview, Morgan stated, "I want to let my staff know how much I love them and support them and that they will be great moving forward."
Morgan plans to begin his journey with WISD in late May or early-June.
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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450