Professional Practice

What Does an Art Ed Leader Look Like?

AOE Leader
I like to call it, “The Leadership Itch.” You know when it’s happening when you can’t help but stand up and lead. There are some of you who get “The Leadership Itch” all the time.

I was there, too. I remember sitting in a meeting when a new position, “Art Department Coordinator,” was announced. I remember thinking to myself, “That will be me.” And, as things unfolded, it became true.

Some people think it’s crazy to take on some of these tasks and roles, but as a leader, you know it’s more exiting to be a part of the action than it is to sit on the sidelines and feel helpless. 

However, leading also comes with an important charge. At times, leading can be really difficult. It’s definitely not always sunshine and roses. I once heard the phrase “Leadership is the privilege of being involved in the messiest parts of other people’s lives.” If you are a leader, you know this is true.

For me, the path to leadership gave me confidence that I could bring about positive change. This was true in my school and in my district, and continues to be true through AOE with all of you!

I encourage you to think about stepping up and leading. Maybe it’s saying yes to one new thing or maybe it’s getting involved in something that seems scary. Either way, the experience will be rewarding.

What leaps are you taking this year!?

What leaps have you taken in the past that have turned out well?


Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is AOEU’s Founder and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.

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