Christine Fisher recognized for 44 years of arts education leadership
Christine Fisher began her career in arts education in the classroom, teaching chorus, guitar and musical production at Dillon High School and then elementary general music, beginning band and middle school band in Florence School District One through 2001. She left that year to become executive director of the ABC Project, a partnership among the S.C. Arts Commission, Winthrop University, and S.C. Department of Education that works with schools and districts across the state to maintain and expand arts opportunities for all students. It is based at Winthrop in Rock Hill.
Under Fisher’s leadership, the program grew from 18 to 84 schools or districts and 171,000 students this school year. Many highlights dot the timeline of Fisher’s career. She was twice selected as a school and district Teacher of the Year, and twice selected as one of the five South Carolina honor roll teachers. Selected as the South Carolina Teacher of the Year in 1998, she is the only music teacher to hold the honor in the program’s history. The S.C. Arts Commission awarded her state’s highest arts award, the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts, in 2006, and she received the Winthrop University Medal of Arts in 2012.
Christine served six years on the National Association for Music Education Executive Board and president of the 11 state Southern Division of NAfME for two years. In 2004, she received the Distinguished Art Advocacy Award from the S.C. Art education association. In 2005, she received the President’s award from the S.C. Dance association. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 from the S.C. Theatre Association and was inducted into the S.C. Music Education Association Hall of Fame in 2009.
Christine was recognized by City Councilman George Jebaily at the April council meeting for her 44 years of local, state and national arts education leadership.
Statements regarding Christine Fisher’s retirement:
Molly Spearman S.C. Superintendent of Education
“Christine Fisher has spent her entire career being a tireless advocate and supporter of arts based education in South Carolina. I am so appreciative of Christine’s leadership from being the only music teacher to be named our state teacher of the year to her service as the director of the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project where she has brought access to the arts to students across our state and shared her tremendous wealth of knowledge with countless educators. I along with South Carolina’s arts community will miss her dearly.”
Ken May Executive Director, S.C. Arts Commission
“The first time I ever heard Christine Fisher speak, she told the moving and powerful story of how the arts, specifically music, saved her life. As I reflect now on her retirement, I realize that all of her work, her entire amazing career, has been about paying forward—at increasing orders of magnitude—the wonderful, transformative gift that she was given. From her early days teaching in Dillon and Florence, to her ground-breaking tenure as State Teacher of the Year, to her long, outstanding service as Executive Director of the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project, she has changed many thousands of young lives for the better. They, and we, owe her heartfelt thanks and praise for her life of unselfish, tireless devotion to arts education for everyone. We wish her nothing but the best in her retirement—and more time for musicmaking!”
On Friday May 2, The South Carolina Arts Alliance board of directors presented “The Scottie Award” to Christine Fisher for her dedication to the arts in South Carolina, her leadership in the field, and her long-lasting impact on the lives of South Carolina’s artists, creative enterprises, education system, and citizens.
On May 9, the Florence Regional Arts Alliance presented the 2019 John W. Baker Distinguished Service Award to Christine Fisher in recognition of an individual from Florence County who has significantly impacted the quality of life in our community through her activities, contributions, and accomplishments in the Arts.
Christine is especially honored to receive the Dr. Baker award since she played 2nd clarinet next to Dr. Baker that played 1st clarinet in the Florence symphony orchestra back in the late 1970’s and early 80’s.