Leading for the Common Good
Barsi Named Art Educator of the Year
Derryfield Creative Arts Department Co-Chair Becky Barsi has been honored as Independent School Art Educator of the Year by the Independent School Art Education group, a subset of the National Art Education Association. Dean of Academic Programs Lindley Shutz reflected on Becky’s impact on the Derryfield community:
Dotted throughout the Derryfield School is the evidence of Becky Barsi’s magic as a leader of creative expression. It used to be that art at our school lived mostly in designated places: the art rooms, the gallery, the key real estate outside of admissions. However, since Becky’s arrival four years ago, beauty, creativity, and innovative design are everywhere throughout the school. Becky has found fabulous ways to energize even the self described least likely to pursue the arts.
At heart she is a maker--of her own work, of the life of an artist, of creating the opportunities for others to engage in making or interacting with art, and of genuine, caring relationships that allow others to feel seen in an inspiring way.
Becky’s leadership as Department Chair balances joy, professionalism, and promoting the power of the arts. The school has been so inspired that with her leadership we have expanded spaces for the arts, creating a digital design room and media recording and production rooms.
During her first two years at Derryfield, she led in curriculum planning by defining the department’s mission, identifying essential skills and enduring understandings across diverse experience, and leading spirited conversations about the potential of competency based assessments. The results are measurable and immeasurable: measurable is the exponential growth of students submitting work to the NH Scholastic Arts Awards: from eight awards in 2017 to 61 awards in 2020. The immeasurable is when a sixth grader turns to a senior to ask what inspired her multimedia portfolio exhibit about street food in her hometown in China.
Located in Manchester, NH, The Derryfield School is a private day school for grades 6-12. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.