Meet Director of Visual and Performing Arts Karl Reiss
Meet Director of Visual and Performing Arts
Dr. Karl Leopold Reiss
BA Nazareth College, Rochester, NY
Ed.D. Curriculum and Instruction, University of Houston
How long have you worked in education?
Tell us about your educational philosophy.
I’ve always subscribed to the “learn how to learn” philosophy. What does that mean, you may ask. It means that we all have different ways in which we receive information—through listening, reading, kinesthetically, etc. The part most people don’t get is that it’s your responsibility to figure out how learning happens for you and to attend to that. Once you learn how YOU learn, educating yourself gets a whole lot easier.
What book would you recommend for parents?
The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self –Reliant Children by Wendy Mogel. I love this book because it emphasizes the importance of children failing while they are in the process of learning. We have to allow them to really understand what it means to fail—how to problem solve, pick themselves up, fix what didn’t work—in order for them to really understand what it means to succeed.
What are your interests outside of Parish?
I’ve been playing drums since Kindergarten (no kidding), and to this day it’s the one arts discipline I am able to totally lose myself in. It’s so important, losing yourself for a while, reaching that magical spot where your mind is totally present and aware and you become oblivious to time passing. I studied Indian tabla with a master during graduate school, and let me tell you, it’s impossible to play the tablas if your mind is wandering. Oh, and I also love renovating my home, and doting on my beautiful wife, Sarah.
What you are excited about for this school year?
The expansion of the Visual and Performing Arts Program and the development of our Strategic Plan is going to provide us and the school at large with such a clear mission and vision of the future. It’s a very exciting time to be at Parish!
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
Sending the American Boychoir to perform at the Academy Awards with Beyoncé. No, really. The boys are a professional choir and they did such outstanding work on the soundtrack for a French movie that the song was a contender for best song that year in the Academy Awards. The producers asked if the boys would perform it with Beyonce—it was that wacky year when, for some reason, she sang all of the songs. The experience of readying them for the performance and watching them sing in their first global appearance, there was nothing like it.
...and greatest personal accomplishment?
Marrying my wife, Sarah. I mean, come on, have you met her? She’s about as awesome as they come.
Tell us about your family...
My wife, Sarah, is a writer and multi-media artist, and we live for updating and renovating our home here in Dallas. We do all the work ourselves, from floors to walls to tilework. It’s the best feeling at the end of the day, to stand back and look at what you’ve accomplished. On the home front we have our two sweet dogs, Lucy, a vizsla mix, and Sheeba, a great Pyrennes mix who came to us as a Paws in the City foster dog. They don’t help with renovations, but they sure do make home life fun!
Most importantly, name your all-time favorite dessert.
Rhubarb cobbler with a side of fresh whipped cream. It’s my signature dessert, but I only make it a couple times a year. Otherwise I’d just stand in front of the refrigerator with a fork. And, for the record, we don’t need no stinking strawberries, just tart rhubarb in a oatmeal and brown sugar crust.