Welcome to LoudounTimes.com
Loudoun Times-Mirror

Meet Loudoun’s new performing arts specialist

Mark Rogers works with students at Freedom High School, where he taught for seven years before being hired as Loudoun County’s first performing arts specialist. Courtesy Photo/Jason McGraw
After teaching for the last 20 years in Fairfax and Loudoun counties, Mark Rogers is embarking on a new journey in the newly created position of performing arts specialist for Loudoun County Public Schools.

Rogers – now a few months on the job - started his career in acting, including a stint on the daytime soap opera “Another World,” then as part of a traveling theater company, and most recently he taught at Freedom High School from 2010-2017.

In his role as performing arts specialist for Loudoun, Rogers will be developing curriculum and providing professional development for teachers. He will also be working with new high schools to make their theaters more performance-friendly, and help provide resources and technology consultation.

“Every day is an adventure and a new delight here. A lot of parents reach out to me for advice. We are doing everything we can to support the community,” Rogers said.

In the new position where “budget is a challenge,” Rogers says. He tries to do what he can for free or at a low cost by contacting friends or former colleagues to assist him with projects. He aims to revise theater arts curriculum for the county and provide the best instruction possible.

Rogers' job comes after several years of lobbying for increased opportunities in theater and arts programs – such as a fine arts magnet school – which would serve as a pilot program opening the door for future arts and humanities education in the county. Much of the lobbying has been led by Loudoun Up The Arts founder Wendy Marco, a Leesburg mom who has two daughters who have been involved with theater arts in Loudoun.

“We are the only large school district in Virginia with no advanced arts of any kind,” Marco said.

Marco said the support from school board members has been “incredible” and “they really want to do what's right for our kids. Debbie Rose was always available to me and very receptive,” Marco said.

While board members were supportive and approved the magnet school – the concept has been placed on hold for discussion until it can be implemented, a project which will likely now be led by Rogers.

“Hiring Mark is the first step in getting some representation at the county level,” Marco said.

Loudoun County staff were able to create Rogers' position without incurring additional costs in the form of a new salary.

“It really was a situation where the community, School Board and LCPS administration worked together to address a need in the student community,” Marco said.

Marco said Rogers' first few months on the job have been impressive and helpful for people involved in Loudoun's theater community.

“Right out of the gate, Mark held a college auditions seminar for the ridiculously complicated and arduous process students face when applying and auditioning to theater colleges. I am so happy there is someone to go to about any issue or concern. It is another layer of protection for our drama students,” she said.

Rogers said he plans to hold another seminar in January for students who are in the process of college auditions.

Both Rogers and Marco stressed the importance of implementing a countywide drama program for Loudoun's middle school students, especially given the social pressures that students face right now.

“Drama students are a very accepting group of people, which is vital for kids right now. With no middle school drama programs in Loudoun we are missing that place where kids can find themselves,” Marco said.

The middle school programs that do exist in Loudoun – such as the award-winning programs at Belmont Ridge Middle School and Blue Ridge Middle School – are privately funded and assisted by the school's parent-teacher organizations.

“Those programs are huge and draw hundreds of students every year,” she said.

“I'm happy and confident Mark has the best interests of theater kids at heart,” she added.

Rogers said he is very appreciative for Marco's support and he is “on board for bringing more resources in to the community, such as a future magnet program and middle school program.”

“We will continue to work together and will keep my ear to their incredible ideas and use them as a resource,” Rogers said.

Comments

Be the first to post a comment!

Post a comment

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Comments express only the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this website or any associated person or entity. Any user who believes a message is objectionable can contact us at ltmeditor@loudountimes.com.

More News

As Seen IN PRINT
The Loudoun Times-Mirror

is an interactive, digital replica
of the printed newspaper.
Click here for all e-editions.
Email UPDATES