Episode 54: Pat Cruz: Teaching Teaching Artists

Pat Cruz speaks about her art form being teaching Teaching Artists and translating between artists and teachers. She has worked in arts integration for over 25 years and recently started TEACH, an organization that strives to address the urgent issues of both climate change and education reform through arts integration. Through TEACH, she offers professional development for teachers, artists, and teaching artists as well as providing a platform for teaching artists to share their own workshops. 

As a first generation Filipino American, Pat Cruz loves to connect people from different cultures, something she has had to do from a very young age. The arts helped her to bridge her two worlds and better express herself when she struggled with language. She wants to help all students (especially those who struggle) to love school and love learning.

In this episode, Pat Cruz shared the heartbreaking story of losing her ability to speak Tagalog due to teachers asking her parents to stop speaking it with her. She also talked about struggling in school and how it began with language – not knowing how to separate English and Tagalog and failing behind in boring rote classes. She also shared the pain of struggling, but then being stereotyped as a high achieving student because she is Asian. Pat Cruz shared how her experiences as a student really drove her to make learning more engaging and connect it to students’ real worlds, to help students who may feel the way she felt. 

She is an Atelierista and Arts Integration Specialist for the International School of Panama and the founder of the Transcontinental Educator Artist Collective for Humanity (TEACH). She is the founding director of The Teaching Artists Institute in Maryland and former Chief Innovation Officer for Young Audiences in Maryland.

Pat Cruz has over 25 years of experience in integrating the arts into the curriculum. She taught for 10 years for Public Schools in the US, where she helped lead an arts integration pilot program beginning in 1998. This program significantly raised student achievement in reading and math. 

The results were so compelling that in 2005, she joined the nonprofit, Young Audiences Arts for Learning of Maryland (YA). As YA’s Education Director/Chief Innovation Officer, she designed PD programs and partnerships with schools and districts around Maryland. She also directed the Teaching Artists Institute, an intensive training program for Teaching Artists who want to integrate their art form into the school curriculum. Now, as atelierista at the International School of Panama, Pat Cruz helps students explore the hundreds of languages of the arts, music, dance, and theatre.

Her goal is to help transform teaching practice through integrating the arts and teaching artists throughout the school day so that all students (and teachers) may find their voice and love learning.

Advocating for Arts Education for Young Audiences Arts for Learning Maryland




Hustling silkscreened t-shirt designs at the B’more Honfest 
Exploring the oceans with students remotely
Teaching Artists Institute with the Hip Hop Artists, Drew Anderson, Jamaal “Black Root” Collier, and Bomani Armah “Baba Bomani”