Mission High School principal Eric Gutherz accepts his Dreamcatcher award at the SFUSD Arts Festival. Photo by Carly Nairn.

Mission High School Principal Eric Guthertz has received the annual Dreamcatcher Award from the San Francisco Unified School District Arts Festival for his support of the arts in schools and in the community. The award was presented at a community celebration Thursday evening at the city’s Asian Art Museum in Civic Center.

“[Eric] supports community spirit, empowers art teachers at Mission High, and is supportive of arts partnership and collaborations outside of the school, all serving students,” said Lisa Petrie, a spokewoman for the festival. Guthertz was also an early participant in Principals for the Arts, a citywide workshop series that partnered school administrators with artists to explore new ways to incorporate arts into the school day.

The annual award honors individuals who go “beyond the call of duty,” said Susan Stauter, the school district’s artistic director. “It’s the people who have an idea and bring it home.” The SFUSD visual and performing arts team nominates a small group of administrators, teachers, principals and community members each year to receive the award, Stauter said.

“I was really surprised when I got the call,” Guthertz said. “I’m very proud of it. It’s crucial that the students get a sense that art is academic. It’s just as important as math and science.” The Mission High principal said that music and drama were his solace as a young student. As a leader in education today, he believes it is imperative for schools to have a thriving arts education program.

Guthertz’s award reflects the recognition that as principal he is committed to “justice, access and equity” in the arts and is a “believer in the true meaning of a community school,” Stauter said.

Past Dreamcatcher award winners include drama teacher Martha Estrella and Principal Richard Curci from the Mission District’s Everett Middle School.

As part of this year’s arts festival, 10,000 San Francisco students from kindergarten through the 12th grade contributed artwork to be displayed on the first two floors of the museum. Thursday’s celebration was the culmination of more than a week of arts events and student awards.

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A Modesto, CA native, Carly has been working in the news industry for the past five years. She has worked with The Portland Mercury as an Arts Intern, The San Francisco Bay Guardian as a News Intern, The Lewis County Chronicle in Centralia, WA as a beat reporter, and was the student opinion editor for her undergraduate newspaper, The Daily Vanguard, for Portland State University, in Portland, Ore. She currently lives in San Francisco, CA.

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