Our mission is to inspire the voice and creative mind within every student in Napa County.



We believe the arts engage and connect students with each other, their school, and their community and are integral to teaching and learning 21st century skills. Through partnering with schools and the community, we will ensure equitable access to a culturally-relevant arts education.

We envision:

STUDENTS who have access to sequentially learned and applied arts curriculum including exposure and enrichment opportunities and integration within all curriculums allowing expression with confidence and engagement in the world creatively.

TEACHERS who create a safe environment where critical thinking and curiosity are celebrated.

SCHOOLS that build bridges to families and communities.

DISTRICTS that increase access to holistic educational opportunities and create curricular pathways to careers and college.

ARTISTS that provide mentorship through passionate and expert practice

ARTS ORGANIZATIONS that provide and support relevant, engaging and significant educational opportunities for students of all ages.

COMMUNITIES that celebrate the arts and support sustainable arts education for their children recognizing the importance of the arts to the whole person and a healthy community.



Over five years in the making, the Arts Education Master Plan was inspired by Arts Council Napa Valley’s vision for countywide arts education access. In 2013 Arts Council Napa Valley created the ACNV Education Alliance to assess the state of arts education in Napa County. This public-private alliance is made up of educators, students, arts administrators and community volunteers who worked tirelessly to understand the local arts education landscape and identify gaps that needed to be addressed.

In the fall of 2015, a $50,000 grant from Festival Napa Valley, an Alliance partner, propelled the ACNV, the Education Alliance partners, and NVUSD to commission the Arts Education Master Plan. It presents a comprehensive framework for the development of the TK-12 sequential, standards-based arts education curriculum.

In the spring of 2016, the NVUSD Board of Education unanimously adopted the Arts Education Master Plan and created the full-time Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Coordinator position to lead the initiative. The position is co-funded with $150,000 over three years by ACNV, Festival Napa Valley, Napa Valley Education Foundation and other Education Alliance partners.

In 2016, NVUSD Superintendent Dr. Patrick Sweeney appointed Chuck Neidhoefer as the Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator (VAPA Coordinator). Neidhoefer oversees a team of arts educators which is working to improve the arts curriculum.  For the first time, NVUSD had a point person to lead the charge on sustaining and growing arts education opportunities for all students.  Currently, curriculum and programs are being developed to fulfill the promise the Alliance and NVUSD Arts Master Plan.



ACNV Education Alliance Founding Members


Napa Valley Unified School District

Mike Riendeau, Napa High Band
Maren Rocca-Hunt, NVUSD Dir of Elementary
Pam Perkins, Principal
Mark Morrison, Dir of Secondary
Lisa Sullivan, Vintage High Dance
Summer Heart, AmCan Theater


Funding Partners

Julia DeNatale, Community Foundation
Rejane Brito, Community Foundation
Debi Leal, NOTES for Education
Sonia Tolbert, FNV
Greg Wright, Art Association NV
Jennifer Stewart, NVEF


Arts Council Napa Valley

Bill Gantt
Vince Piombo


Napa County Office of Education / Other Districts

Barbara Nemko, Superintendent, Office of Education 
Patty Coyle, St Helena High Theater
Carolyn Willson, Court & Community Schools
Ken Burkhardt, Pope Valley


Community Partners

Kristin Anderson, Music Connection
Laila Aghaie, Lincoln Theater
Chris Cappeto, Education Foundation
Emily Freiman, Art Association Napa Valley
Jamie Graff, NIMBUS Arts
Peg Maddocks, Napa Learns
James Raymond, Napa Valley TV
Napa Valley Museum, Director of Education **
Michael Williamson, Oxbow Art School Director **
Andrea Sanz Wiliams, di Rosa**
Carlos Hegadorn, LEGACY **
Ian Stanley, LGBTQ Connection **
Mechele Manno, Napa Valley Community College Arts & Humanities Dean **
Milbert Mariano, Pacific Union College Arts Dean **
Unknown, Sonoma State Arts Dean **


Teaching Artists / Artists / Advocates

Nick Cann, artist
Shelly Hannan, artist
Debbie Alter-Starr, student and Latinx advocate
Miki Hsu Leavey, teaching artists, arts integration specialist
Frances Ortiz-Chavez, artist and former NVUSD board member



Constance Schlelein

Education Alliance Lead

Email: Connie@artscouncilnv.org
Phone: 707-257-2117 ext. 3
At an early age, Connie was destined to become a passionate advocate for arts education influenced by parents who were artists & educators. She received her Masters Degree in Art Education at the University of Hawaii and then for 30 years, taught Visual Art in high schools and colleges in Colorado. As her school district’s arts coordinator, she developed an award-winning K-12 arts curriculum. A leader in Colorado arts education, she helped develop the arts leadership organization ArtSource and was the President of the Colorado Art Education Association. Nationally, she was a writer for the national Standards for Visual Arts & also served as the Vice President of the National Art Education Association. Numerous local, state & national awards were awarded to her for her visionary arts education work. After her retirement, she became a world traveler for 10 years. She recently relocated to Sonoma, California intent on sharing her expertise with local arts organizations. 

Why I Support Arts Education

The arts are an essential element of education, just like reading, writing, and arithmetic…music, dance, painting, and theater are keys that unlock profound human understanding and accomplishment.

–William Bennett, Former US Secretary of Education

"The future belongs to young people with an education and the imagination to create."

–President Barack Obama

"A broad education in the arts helps give children a better understanding of their world…We need students who are culturally literate as well as math and science literate."

–Paul Ostergard, Vice President, Citicorp