Art, Chinese, and French Departments Welcome New Leadership for ’06-’07

The annual game of musical chairs has been played and the 2006-2007 school year will welcome new heads in the Art, Chinese and French departments. Dean of Faculty Temba Maqubela and the newly appointed Dean of Studies John Rogers have announced the appointments of Department Chairs Charles Clerc in French, Travis Conley in Chinese, and Shirley Veenema in Art. Their six year tenures will begin September 1, 2006. The job of department chair is essential to the department. While the chair oversees day-to-day problems, the chair’s most important job is to determine the ultimate direction of the department. The chair guides chooses which classes to emphasize, add or scratch and selects teachers for each class. The department chairs were carefully selected for their positions. Department members were solicited for their input and recommendations before a final decision was reached. A department chair must have extensive knowledge of his subject area, support of fellow faculty members and experience in an academic environment. Mr. Clerc is a native of France. He received his doctorate from the University of Paris where he majored in French civilization. Following a one-year stint with Andover in 1995, Mr. Clerc went on to work as a director at Proctor Academy in Aix-en-Provence, France. He hopes to open the department to the Francophone world and remind the community that the French language is not limited to France. To reach this goal, he is already hiring a new teacher from Africa. Mr. Clerc is replacing his friend Lynn Herbst who has helped prepare Clerc for his upcoming duty. Mr. Conley has a B.A. degree in Chinese from Stanford University and a Masters in Chinese Literature from the University of Washington. He pointed out that he has the most experience teaching at the Academy among the Chinese faculty. Mr. Conley’s main objective is to develop the new AP Chinese class which will be offered in the upcoming year. This summer he will prepare for the school year when he chaperones the five week school trip to China. Mr. Conley has received guidance from Mr. Merrill the interim chair as he prepares to fill the shoes of Yuan Han the former department head who retired in the spring of 2005. Mr. Conley is confident that the Chinese department can work together as a team to develop the blooming Chinese program. The triumvirate of new department heads concludes with Shirley Veenema of the Art Department. Ms. Veenema, who has worked at Phillips for 27 years, has an extensive art background. Among her credentials are a minor in art from Bucknell University, a Masters in Art from Rowan University. She has also studied at the Pratt Graphic Center, Arts Students’ League, School of Visual Arts in New York. Ms. Veenema feels prepared for her new position citing her work with Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Ms. Veenema said that, “My main goal for the art department is to build on our strong faculty of artist teachers…while Phillips Academy responds to proposed changes such as the Strategic Plan.”