Foothills Elementary was selected as one of 24 finalists for the 40th annual Arizona Governor’s Arts Awards. 

The Glendale school is one of three finalists in the large business category. The winner during the March 26 ceremony was Art in Medicine/U of A, Phoenix.

“I am honored to be a part of the school that does so much with the arts,” said Chris Vail, interim principal at Foothills Elementary. 

“It is humbling to know that others think so highly of our program and have expressed their recognition to the organization that does so much to support the arts across Arizona.”

The arts program at Foothills Elementary focuses on the students and their ability to grow and appreciate the various programs, Vail said. 

“Each child grows in their understanding of all the arts. This opportunity is unique to Foothills, and we know the students grow to have a developed understanding of the arts and also how the arts impact their lives,” he said. 

Peoria Unified School District as a whole takes pride in its art programs in each school, said Robert Panzer, director of arts education for the district. 

“From helping to be sure that our 37,000 students have access and opportunities to art each day to the professional learning that we bring to our educators, one of the favorite parts is the support that I can provide to our 145 arts educators to help them to learn and grow so they can support our students to learn, grow and be engaged in the power of the arts to shape their lives,” Panzer said. 

While the recognition of being named a finalist is a testament to the art program itself, Vail said it also speaks to the quality teachers who are the backbone of each class. 

“The teachers are so passionate and dedicated to the lives of children through the education of their art. It is something I wish everyone could experience,” Vail said. “The arts team at Foothills does so much for the students each and every day. To receive this award means so much to the teachers and the community. Being nominated and then selected by a team of local artists brings wonderful recognition and praise to the program.”

The Governor’s Arts Awards have awarded 250 artists, individuals, cultural organizations, educators, businesses and philanthropists since 1981.