Strategic Foundation Building

Strategic Foundation Building retreats are day long gatherings in which a school’s faculty and staff-- including teachers, principals, teachers aides, librarians, parents, and others-- meet with their colleagues from their partnering cultural organization—such as administrators, program managers, program directors and teaching artists. 

Under the guidance of a trained facilitator, participants in a Strategic Foundation Building (SFB) retreat engage in a series of exercises and discussion topics tailored to the partnership.  As a group, participants collectively develop a long range vision, discuss goals for the partnership, and address “nuts and bolts” issues.

The goals of the retreat are:
  • to articulate a school-based vision
  • to cultivate a shared commitment
  • to build a trusting relationship among partners
  • to empower teacher leadership.

To learn more about SFB retreats, download the SFB Chapter of the ESP Resource Handbook, click here.
(You can also download the entire ESP Resource Handbook here.)

You may need to scroll down to view Facilitator bios.

Karen Curlee
Arts Educator and Arts Ed. Consultant

After performing on Broadway for 20 years in such shows as CATS, A Chorus Line, Me and My Girl, and Showboat, Karen Curlee has returned to her roots (education) and is now an arts education consultant and dance, theater and musical theater educator. She graduated from San Francisco State University and taught high school for 4 years—English and all the performing arts- as well as teaching workshops in dance studios and at dance conventions. She moved to NY and was fortunate to work in Broadway shows consistently while continuing to teach as a guest artist in various universities and studios. She continued her education at NYU, completing an Arts Management certificate program. She ended her performing career as she began, designing and implementing arts in education programs, for such arts organizations as The Bronx Arts Ensemble, City Center, Young Audiences NY, as well as for NYC Dept. of Education, U of Michigan, and Dover Dept. of Ed. She works consistently with the Center for Arts Education in NYC on their Parents as Arts Partners program. She trains artists to work in the classroom, works with educators/administrators to design arts programs, facilitates workshops for classroom teachers, physical educators, dance and theater specialists, Principals and parents. She is senior associate for Together in Dance, a not for profit dance education company, and still manages to spend half of her time in the classroom (the trenches), always finding joy in the process of children making art.

Consulting Areas

  • Arts education program design
  • Dance educator and musical theater educator- Residencies in schools
  • Workshop facilitator at Common Ground, National Dance Ed. Org., Dance and the Child International, and Face to Face conferences
  • Co-Design of RFP for the Parents of Arts Partners grant for the Center for Arts Education
  • Designed cross-arts discipline workshop intensive for high school students in Dover, DL
  • Senior associate for Together in Dance- a not-for-profit dance and musical theater education company
  • Extensive dance professional development for classroom teachers, physical educators and dance educators across the NYC school system
  • Teaching Artist training for dance and theater teaching artists (through NY CIty Center)
  • Teaching artist for NY City Center, Young Audiences, Together in Dance
  • Panel member for many arts education gatherings

Karen Curlee
34 Windsor Place
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 768-3632