When a third of the student body at Washburn Rural High School in Topeka, KS, enrolls in art courses, it’s clear that fine arts teacher Brad LeDuc is making an impact. LeDuc's classes aren't just attended by aspiring artists, but are open to all students who year after year discover talents they never knew existed.
LeDuc’s rigorous standards have led to Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses in the arts that challenge students to achieve at higher levels. Since LeDuc's arrival at Washburn, graduation rates have jumped from 80% to 95%. One contributing factor is his Pyramid of Intervention, a peer-to-peer mentorship program in which stronger students help those with less confidence or skills. As just one example, his personal efforts changed the future for a troubled student facing serious disciplinary consequences into a promising high school graduate with a college art scholarship.
LeDuc's contributions are linked to virtually every aspect of the school's culture. A socially-conscious instructor, his lessons often focus on issues of poverty and abuse. The portraits his students paint of children in Sierra Leone for the Memory Project are then given to the youngsters as invaluable keepsakes. His leadership in creating an annual Cultural Heritage Week generates collaboration among all of the school's departments and greater understanding community-wide.
As a professional painter and printmaker himself, LeDuc doesn’t mislead students about the rigors of an artistic career. The "Art Lock In" is an annual "all-nighter" during which guest artists work alongside students. His students have consistently graduated at the top of the class, been accepted to the most prestigious art institutions in the country, and won numerous awards at regional and national levels. How fitting that LeDuc himself has now been recognized with the national Milken Educator Award.
Oct 18, 2013
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2016 M. Ed., Washburn University
2001 B.A., Fort Hays State University