Springfield Regional Arts Integration Conference


The Kennedy Center defines arts integration as an approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate an understanding of one subject through the use of an art form. It is through this creative process, students can connect evolving objectives in each area of study.

SRAIC attendees will discover foundational arts concepts, teaching strategies, and curricular connections in engaging sessions that dive into music, dance, theater, visual arts, and more. Participatory workshops will make arts integration accessible for everyone and demonstrate how this method can enhance any educator's approach to teaching. This conference is appropriate for teachers, principals, school district administrators, and partnering arts organization staff and teaching artists.

The 2022 SRAIC conference included two days of sessions with . . .

Harlan Brownlee

The Many Ways to Move Through the Curriculum

Dance is not one thing. It is many. There are multiple ways to effectively use it in the classroom as an instructional approach depending on your learning objectives and placement within a unit of study. Join Kennedy Center Teaching Artist, Harlan Brownlee, as he draws on his 37 years of teaching experience and guides participants in a series of participatory movement-based structures designed to integrate into daily lesson plans and increase instructional effectiveness. Dress comfortably to explore this toolbox of movement strategies and leave with the knowledge of when and why to use them and get your students moving through the curriculum!

Harlan Brownlee has worked for 37 years in the arts education field as a performing artist, teaching artist, and an arts administrator.

Mr. Brownlee joined the Focus 5 team in 2019 and is on the Kennedy Center’s national touring roster for the Partners in Education program and the Changing Education Through the Arts program. He has conducted master classes, workshops, and residencies extensively in the Midwest and throughout the United States. Harlan was chosen as a presenter for Project Lead the Way’s National Conferences 2018 and 2019 and was awarded a 2019 Young Audiences National Residency Teaching Artist Credential.

In addition, he has designed and implemented hundreds of lesson plans in over 35 years of instructing a weekly class at Community School #1 that integrated dance and movement into the general curriculum with an emphasis on the subject areas of science and literacy. Harlan has been an adjunct professor for Rockhurst University’s School of Education and the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Education.

Mr. Brownlee received his BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he was educated as a dancer and choreographer. His performance background includes work for 13 years as one of the Artistic Co-Directors with City in Motion Dance Theater in Kansas City, Missouri. Mr. Brownlee received his MA in Educational Research and Psychology from the University of Missouri – Kansas City and is a past Associate Editor for the Teaching Artist Journal


Daniel Barash

Shadow Puppetry and Social Emotional Learning: Enhancing SEL’s Core Competencies and Strategies

Shadow puppetry, with its bold shapes, vivid colors, and dramatic movement, is a highly engaging art form that naturally helps students feel safe when learning how to identify emotions and explore healthy SEL tools. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to learn shadow puppetry performance techniques that help students explore and empathize with the emotional life of both characters in literature and the students themselves. See you in the land of shadows!

Kay Thomas

Let’s Build! The Art of Paper Sculpture

Bring out the inner sculptor in students! Learn how to bend, fold, and roll paper into sculptural models as a means of expression that can represent many STEAM, history and literacy concepts. Join Kay Thomas, sculptor artist from Texas, for this deep art experience guaranteed to reveal the builders in your classroom and give 3-dimensional thinkers a voice.

Kay Thomas is a visual artist who received an M.F.A. in ceramics from Arizona State University and a B.F.A. degree in ceramics from Texas A&M University. She is joining you from Texarkana, Texas.

A national teaching artist with over thirty years experience, Thomas has worked with grades Pre-K -university presenting integrated arts experiences that guide students in the creation of sculptures, drawings, and paintings that represent classroom objectives across the curriculum. In addition, she is a designer and presenter of a variety of art workshops for teachers, most recently at the John F. Kennedy Center. Currently, Thomas is a National Teaching Artist for the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council. She continues to create her humorous ceramic sculptures that celebrate and satirize in a humorous way America's fascination with pets, politicians, and celebrities

Jenny Schwartzberg

Gamifying Art Interpretation

Art interpretation is a fantastic way to help students develop critical thinking skills. Instead of approaching critical thinking skills like collaboration, problem solving, and analysis as discrete tasks, art interpretation provides a way to develop them into a holistic and coherent way of approaching the world. In this session, we’ll discuss methods for incorporating critical thinking skills into classroom activities and play some minigames that use art interpretation to focus on skill building. These minigames use role playing, puzzles, and collaborative problem solving to teach and reinforce critical thinking skills like communication, gathering and synthesizing information, and analysis.

Sunni Nutt

Sunni Nutt with Sunnshine Yoga LLC will share time and space with teachers to focus on caring for ourselves AND our classrooms. During our time together, Sunni will lead the group through a gentle flow yoga practice, including breathwork and movement, and will share some simple ways to bring yoga into our classrooms to support a calm and creative environment

The 2022 SRAIC Keynote Speaker 

Dr. Grenita Lathan


Dr. Grenita Lathan is superintendent of Missouri's largest school district, which serves 23,500 students and employs about 3,500 individuals. She began her tenure at Springfield Public Schools July 1, 2021.
As an educational leader and advocate, Dr. Grenita Lathan focuses on enhancing public education and positively impacting students, staff and families. During her 30-year career in education, she has helped school districts improve academic achievement and implement changes to support all learners.

For the three years prior to joining SPS, Dr. Lathan served as interim superintendent of Houston Independent School District. HISD is the largest school district in Texas and the seventh-largest in the United States. She joined HISD in 2015 as Chief School Officer for Elementary Transformation Schools and later served as Chief Academic Officer. Under Dr. Lathan’s leadership, HISD made significant improvements in academic achievement.She is passionate about supporting philanthropic work in the community and mentoring young women to reach their personal and professional potential. She credits Girl Scouts for instilling the fundamental leadership skills and confidence that empowered her to pursue her goals.


Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Workforce Education and Development

University of North Carolina, Greensboro

  • Master of Science in Business Education

North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Education


  • Houston NAACP Educational Advocacy Award
  • Houston Top 30 Influential Women Award
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Hero Award
  • Texas Legislative Black Caucus Outstanding Texan Award
  • YWCA Outstanding Women's Award
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