Opening Nights at Florida State University honors former educator with inaugural Arts Advocate Award

Iris Wilson

Opening Nights at Florida State University presented its first-ever Arts Advocate Award to Iris Wilson, a former principal in the Leon County Schools system.

Wilson received the award for her exemplary support of arts education for creating partnerships with local arts organizations to enhance the overall learning experience for K-12 students.

“As a society, we all benefit from organizations that give back to our students, teachers and communities,” Wilson said. “Advantages from partnerships with organizations like Opening Nights have been life-changing for our students because of the diverse experiences provided through performing groups, resident artists and follow-up resource materials.”

Wilson, who retired in 2018, was the principal of Apalachee Tapestry Magnet School of the Arts, where she provided exceptional art activities that enhanced the educational opportunities for her students.

“For any LCS employee there is already so much work to be done but in order to get outstanding results, they really have to go above and beyond the basic job description,” said LCS Superintendent Rocky Hanna. “We hope this award encourages everyone involved in our school system to leverage community partnerships with arts organizations to enhance our students’ overall education.”

Opening Nights presented the award during the Leon County Schools’ Nights of Celebration event May 2 at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center.

“Through this award, Opening Nights at Florida State University is able to recognize professional educators who implement arts education activities and cultural concepts to better prepare students for the future,” said Michael Blachly, director of Opening Nights.

Opening Nights at Florida State University plans to annually recognize a professional educator. The application and guidelines for the 2020 Arts Advocate Award will be distributed to Leon County Schools this summer.