The Sixth Annual High School Theatre Festival - June 15





Paul King (1958-2020)


A true equity warrior, Paul King worked throughout his career to ensure every student not only had access to the arts, but had opportunities to engage, learn, and excel in them. Understanding the unique privilege we have as New Yorkers to be surrounded by world-class cultural institutions, he developed partnerships to open up these institutions in advancing arts education and enriching the lives of students and their families. He was also our students’ number one fan, never missing an opportunity to promote their artistic work and celebrate their achievements across the city. Paul started out as a performer and met his soon wife and partner Wysandria Woolfey while doing Man of La Mancha together in Colorado over 30 years ago. A true New Yorker at heart, Paul lived and worked in NYC for over 25 years, first as the Director of Education for City Opera and then with the NYC Department of Education Office of Arts and Special Projects (Arts Office). When serving as the Director of Theater, Paul was the driving force behind the seminal NYC curriculum guide The Blueprint for Theater. For the past ten+ years, Paul has stewarded the Arts Office as its Executive Director where he worked with peers and colleagues across the city—Chancellors, Deputies, foundations, cultural partners and of course schools—to ensure a dedicated arts education for all students. Paul dreamed big and envisioned a school system where a quality arts education was every student's birthright. He worked tirelessly and collaboratively to turn those dreams into reality, day by day, step by step.

The arts educators of New York City’s DOE schools are among the finest and most dedicated in the world—working to bring equity and excellence to their diverse students. In addition to his keen sense of the impact of educational policy, Paul was laser focused on providing concrete tools and resources as well as professional development and teacher training to support deep arts teaching and learning at every level. Paul's legacy transcends any one program and is found throughout the current NYC arts ed landscape with promise of what is to come. Paul is survived by his wife Wysandria, a Broadway performer and vocal coach. Their two dynamic daughters—Molly works at a law firm in Washington D.C. and Jesse is a modern dancer and dance teacher in our NYC public schools—both embody their parents' sense of justice and carry on Paul's commitment to making our world more creative and empathetic.

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