Prop 28 Symposium

Saturday, 11:00 am

Prop 28 Symposium

Join us for an exciting opportunity to connect with arts leaders and gain valuable insights on how to leverage the historic funding from Proposition 28. Discover innovative ways to enhance arts education in your district, school, and program, and learn how to effectively utilize the allocated funds. Don’t miss out on this chance to collaborate and plan for a brighter future for arts education in California!

THIS IS A FREE, PUBLIC EVENT, HELD AT THE CONFERENCE.  Consider registering for a one day or the whole weekend to take full advantage of the conference offerings.  If you are not attending the conference, you need to register for the symposium. REGISTER HERE.

Prop 28 Symposium Presenters

Pauline Crooks, Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator, San Diego County Office of Education
Pauline Crooks is the Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator for the San Diego County Office of Education, a position she has held since January 2016. She works to ensure every child has the opportunity to experience the arts to build empathy and self-awareness in order to see the many assets they bring to their community and the world.  Pauline received a bachelor’s degree in music education from The Ohio State University, a master’s degree in teaching from National University, and a master’s degree in educational administration from Concordia University.  She is a National Board Certified Teacher in early and middle childhood music and has been a music educator for more than 30 years.  Pauline is the leader of Arts Empower San Diego, a partnership between the San Diego County Office of Education and a coalition of nonprofit arts organizations, community partners, and school districts to champion arts education in all schools across the County.  She carries this mission of ensuring every child has access to a meaningful, culturally sustaining, standards-based arts education throughout the region and state in her work with the California County Superintendent’s Arts Initiative as the Region 9 Arts Lead.

Anne Fennell, President, CA Music Educators Association (CMEA)Anne Fennell is the K-12 Music Program Manager for San Diego Unified School District in San Diego, CA, President of California Music Educators Association, and the Past Chair for the National Association for Music Education’s Innovation Council.  She holds a bachelor’s in music education, a master’s in educational leadership studies, and Orff-Schulwerk Levels: I-II-III. Her experiences include 36 years in education, 32 of those teaching music composition and steel drum ensembles (grades 9-12), Kindergarten-Grade 8 music through Orff-Schulwerk, and leading vocal and instrumental ensembles in civic, professional, and national performances.  Anne is a published author and presents nationally and internationally. She has received numerous awards, including the 2020 Technology in Music Education National Teacher of the Year, 2017 MSA National Teacher of the Year, and top 10 GRAMMY Music Educator, 2016.



Scott Fitzpatrick serves as the Orange County Department of Education Arts Coordinator. He attended Southern California College which is now Vanguard University where he earned a BA in Music Education, as well as a Single Subject Music Credential and a Multiple Subject Credential. He attended Cal State Fullerton where he earned an MS in Educational Leadership. He served as an Elementary Music Teacher and then a Teacher on Special Assignment for K-12 Visual and Performing Arts in Newport Mesa USD.




Abe Flores, Deputy Director of Policy & Programs, Create CAbe Flores is an advocate, administrator, and organizer who is “paying it forward” by advancing the arts in schools and communities. He grew up in Boyle Heights, with the arts as the spark that lit his passion for education and community. Seeing first-hand the inequitable access to a well-rounded education in his community and others like it – he dedicated his career to ensuring all youth benefit from the arts as he did. He has organized local, state, and national advocacy efforts for the arts. He was the Program Director for a youth development program focused on creativity and wellness in Boyle Heights, where he grew up. In 2013, he won the American Express Emerging Leader Award for organizing communities throughout LA County to advocate for the arts in their schools. In his current role as Create CA’s Deputy Director of Policy & Programs, he oversees the organization’s programs, public will campaign, collective impact efforts, and policy work – all to ensure that a quality arts education is part of every student’s life. He is married to his high school sweetheart, raising two boys, has visited over 30 national parks, and still plays in a punk band.

Michael Despars, Moderator, Past President, CA Educational Theatre Association (CETA)

As the Theatrical Arts Director at Fullerton Union High School and the Immediate Past-President of the California Educational Theatre Association (CETA), MICHAEL DESPARS has dedicated his eighteen-year teaching career to fostering student artists. Michael earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Acting from the University of Southern California and his first Masters Degree in Education from Azusa Pacific University, later completing his Masters in Theatre at the University of Northern Colorado in 2015. Michael is currently working on supporting universities as they develop Theatre Credentialing programs as well serving as a point person on Prop 28 implementation for CETA.  Michael’s contributions to Theatre Education have garnered widespread recognition, including awards such as the Jim Thomas Distinguished Career Service Award for Theatre from the Orange County Department of Education, Fullerton Joint Union High School’s 2017 District Teacher of the Year, semi-finalist for Orange County Teacher of the Year, the Theatre Leadership Award for his work on the CETA High School Theatre Festival and directorship of the Orange County CAPPIES Critics Program.