Steve Adams is celebrating his 20th year at Mountain Pointe High School and with it comes a promotion and more responsibility.

Adams was named head of the Visual Arts Department at Mountain Pointe and will oversee the first year of the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts, a new program that will be rolled out this year.

The academy is one of several being offered to Mountain Pointe students for the 2012-13 school year. Students can start taking classes that count toward the specific strand of the academy beginning freshman year. Students have the option to focus on visual arts, graphics and multimedia, theater, instrumental, vocal or dance.

“The goal is to get students to develop and show their mastery in their concentration, which can also be very beneficial to their future college careers,” Adams said. “We want to attract high quality students and make them want to come to Mountain Pointe because of our art program.”

Adams will replace Karan Lytle as head of the department. He will also enter his 20th year of teaching as Teacher of the Year, which was announced at the 2012 Tempe Diablos Excellence in Education Awards. “That was an unexpected surprise,” Adams said. “You don’t see a lot of visual art teachers being nominated for teacher of the year awards so it felt good to represent them.”

Mountain Pointe has made a push with the new academies to better prepare students on the road to higher education. There will be several new academies available to students this coming school year with the idea that they streamline their elective credits into one specific field.

“Right now we are offering advanced classes as part of the program and we hope in the future that we can offer more classes that bump up the rigor even more,” Adams said. “It’s one way we are looking at evolving the program.”

Another aspect of the academy programs is to keep kids with similar interests together over the course of their high school careers and match them with teachers who can provide the support they need and watch their progress.

“We want to build a small community inside a large community,” he said. “We want the teachers to build relationships with the students.”

Adams has a goal of his own. He started his teaching career at Mountain Pointe and wants to finish it there. While he has no intention of retiring anytime soon, he does have some idea of when that could be.

“I want to be here when my two kids come through here,” he said. “When they graduate, that’s when I think I might hang it up.”

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