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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Center for the Performing Arts receives official names

At the Tuesday, November 17 regular board meeting, school trustees approved measures that decided a location for and puts an official name on the recently approved auditorium and professional development facility.

The new name is Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts. The two venues inside the Center will bear the names of two former district officials: Claude Cunningham Performance Hall and the John Washington Professional Development Center.

Claude Cunningham Performance Hall - Cunningham retired in May 2009 as associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction, after 14 years in MISD and 39 years in Texas education. In 1995, Dr. Cunningham was hired to serve as Executive Director of Student Services and Secondary Instruction in the Mansfield Independent School District. He was promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction in 1998 and to Associate Superintendent in 2006. During his tenure in Mansfield he has been responsible for the leadership and direction of all student instructional and support programs, campus operations and District planning.
The performance hall will will accommodate 5500 people with an additional 500 on the stage. This would allow for a seating capacity of 6000 to accommodate our high school graduations. Other uses for the performance hall will include:
  • A location for high school performing arts departments' musicals and other large stage productions;
  • 5th-12th grade band and choir performances;
  • Host UIL band competitions and competitive cheer events; and
  • Outside group and performance/production use for a rental fee.

John Washington Professional Development Center - Washington, who worked for 36 years in the Port Arthur school district, retired in 1990 and moved to Mansfield. Mr. Washington joined the MISD School Board in 1996, becoming the first African-American elected to the Mansfield ISD School Board. His focus was always on the children, his background in education and his eloquent way have endeared him to not only the students, but parents, staff and community members.
The main feature of the professional development center's design is one large room that can accommodate up to 500, but can also be divided into six separate rooms for training. This large professional development room could host other events that are currently being housed outside the district.