SXU Alum Serves as High School's First Director of Fine Arts
Saint Xavier University (SXU) alum Brian Herman '09 has recently been named St. Laurence High School's first-ever Director of Fine Arts. The new role at the Burbank high school was created as a response to increased interest from students in the arts over recent years. As director, Herman's goal is to develop and grow programs that inspire students to display their creativity and sharpen their skills.
After graduating from SXU, Herman went on to earn a Master of Arts in Education as a reading specialist from Olivet Nazarene University and then earned a Master of Education in Administration and Supervision from Loyola University Chicago. Herman, who began his work at St. Laurence as an English teacher, resurrected the school's drama program and runs the curricular and extracurricular art programs. He leads the drama and acting elective courses, works with the arts teachers to develop their curricula and creates opportunities for arts students to share their gifts and talents with the community. As the beginning of the school year begins, Herman is working on creating clinics for the programs that will be offered in the fall and developing a fine art competition for grade school students, which will be judged by community members.
"Offering programs in the arts is an important part of educating the whole child. These programs offer students the opportunity to express themselves in ways that traditional subjects lack," said Herman.
During his time at SXU, Herman was a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and a member of the music program, where he mastered the art of performance, which he implements in his teaching at St. Laurence. He played as a member of the concert band, jazz band, marching band and orchestra, where he honed his skills as a percussionist. "I use these skills throughout my career. Earlier in my career, I founded and directed a percussion ensemble. Currently, I work with the percussionist and band members at St. Laurence throughout the year to prepare them for their marching and concert performances," said Herman.
Greg Coutts, chair of the Music Department, recalls that though Herman graduated with an education degree, he took numerous music classes and spent many hours rehearsing and performing in music ensembles during his time at SXU. "These experiences have given Herman valuable skills that he's able to share with his students today," said Coutts.
In addition to being a member of the music program, Herman was also involved with WXAV, SXU's radio station, and he credits the broadcasting skills he learned for helping him become a more effective communicator. Herman is also grateful that SXU laid a solid foundation for him to be successful in Catholic education and especially appreciates his mentor and favorite education professor, Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D. "Dr. Knight sent me to a Catholic school for my first observations, and I haven't left them since," said Herman.
When asked what advice he has for current students interested in entering education or art fields, Herman said, "Follow your passion. Things may not be easy, but if you start with what you love, you will find your way."
Herman is excited for the future of arts in education and plans to play an active role in creating and promoting programs that allow students' creativity to shine. "Ultimately, my hope is to create a vibrant fine arts program that provides students opportunities to develop and showcase their talents," said Herman.