Bill Cirone was first elected to his current position in 1982 and is in his ninth-four-year term, the longest-serving county superintendent in California. He has also worked as a teacher, an administrator and an executive in the private sector.
He is committed to the arts and in 1997 was appointed to co-chair the California Arts Task Force to make policy recommendations regarding the placement of visual and performing arts in education. His office is the umbrella for the Children’s Creative Project (CCP), which he established and which provides artists in residence in schools countywide. The CCP currently serves 145 elementary schools and reaches more than 65,000 children with performances and visual and performing arts workshops. He is a strong advocate for arts in education and was the recipient of the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission Leadership in Arts Award and the California Arts Council Outstanding Arts Educator Award. Bill served on the board of directors of the California Alliance for Arts Education, he has chaired the National Community Education Association, the National Teachers Network, and the California Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team.
In a commentary “Arts Education is Essential for All” Mr. Cirone called fiscal cuts in arts education shortsighted and counterproductive. “The arts are not frills – they are essential elements of a complete education, and they often provide the very skills and motivation required for school and career success. The reasons to include the arts in a school curriculum are compelling. The arts represent a form of thinking that is both sensory and intellectual, one that requires the use of imagination and judgment. What’s more, the arts provide unique way of reaching students who may not learn as well through language and mathematics alone. In addition, studies point to higher levels of involvement and educational achievement among students taking advanced art courses. The arts are a form of expression and communication that is essential to the human experience, and they truly deserve a regular place in our classrooms.”
The Santa Maria Arts Council is extremely pleased to be able to honor Mr. Cirone as it recognizes the 2017 Individual Grants in the Arts winners - local emerging artists excelling in dance, drama, music, and visual arts.