Information For:

Give back to HGSE and support the next generation of passionate educators and innovative leaders.

News & Events

Question & Answer: Jessica Delforge, AIE'12

Jessica DelforgeJessica Delforge was looking for some answers. That’s why she chose to take a break from her teaching job at a charter school and enroll in the Arts in Education Program (AIE) at HGSE.

“I wanted to step back from the classroom and the daily life of a school to think more broadly about issues in education, particularly the intersection of the arts and education,” she says.  “I wanted time to collaboratively grapple with some of my bigger questions.”

“Jessica came to HGSE from years working in charter schools, but felt she needed to get some perspective and reconnect with her sense of the important place of art in classrooms, schools and young people's lives,” says Steve Seidel, director of AIE. “She brought an intense sense of responsibility, high standards, and accountability to all she worked on and did this year. But she also brought a sense of the joy and caring that needs to be part of any educational community. In her low-key but persistent way, she asked herself and all of us to work at our highest level all the time.”

As graduation approaches, many of Delforge’s questions still linger and, to her surprise, have even grown. “I certainly did not realize how many more questions this year at HGSE would stir up for me,” she says. “My goal now is to push myself to keep making time to write, share, and revise, knowing that I will have to seek out others for prompts and discussions once classes end.”

Upon learning that she had been honored with the Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award for AIE, Delforge answered some of our questions about her time at the Ed School and beyond.

What is something that you learned at HGSE that you will take with you throughout your career in education? I think that I learned how to listen to people with differing opinions than mine and to work hard to understand why they believe what they do.  I also regained my center this year in terms of my educational philosophy and am excited to maintain that exploration after leaving, knowing that I have a stronger foundation.

How did you stay inspired throughout the year?    My cohort and the rest of my peers were so awe-inspiring it was impossible to not feel motivated every day – especially during the cabarets AIE held which were so tremendous they could sustain me for weeks on end.  The amazing talents people had, all with gracious humility, a desire to have fun with their learning, and a willingness to share themselves and their past experiences all fueled me.

If you could transport one person/place/thing from HGSE to your next destination, what would it be? If I could have a double block of office hours with Steve Seidel to start off every Monday, I would in a heartbeat.  Until then I’ll just have to keep asking myself “What would Steve say?” and send him postcards all the time.

What advice do you have for next year’s students going through your program? Work hard, meet as many people as you can from a variety of cohorts, be as present as you can throughout the year, and be willing to really play the believing game (as Peter Elbow calls it) and fully embrace new perspectives to better understand your own.

What will you change in education? I hope to really influence how we train teachers in the U.S. and subsequently support them once they are in the classroom.  More research is showing the incredible impacts teachers have on their students and to me that highlights how important quality teaching can be. 

What children’s book will you be carrying at Commencement? I’m still debating but my three front-runners right now are If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Hope for the Flowers, and I Want to Tell You about My Feelings.  Look for me at Commencement to find out which one wins!

For the full list of recipients, visit