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Lubbock Principal's Art Tells a Greater Story

It took Dr. Samuel Ayers 21 years to complete an art exhibit full of religious themed relief prints. His “Good News of Great Joy” reception was held on November 11, and the exhibit will run through December 6 in the Diana Ling Center for Academic Achievement. Dr. Ayers found his interest in art when he was a child watching his father doodle. He began illustrating his notes while in junior high and was often asked to design banners and t-shirts throughout high school and college.

When he became an educator, he observed students making relief prints in an elementary art class in 1992, and decided to participate in the art-making. His first print was “Madonna and Child,” and it turned out so well, he decided to continue making religious themed prints. Over a span of 21 years, Dr. Ayers found time to create 36 pieces of art depicting the good news of Jesus Christ.  He says he created these images as a vehicle for bringing viewers to Scripture. Each relief print required a tedious trial and error process of sketching, carving, and pressing. Ayers says creating art allows him to express himself with lines, colors, and images, but the artistry of relief prints particularly interests and challenges him.

Though Ayers is known for his art, he is better known for his heart for education. He knew in high school that he wanted to be an elementary school teacher. True to his calling, Ayers found his first position as a 5th grade teacher. A mentor convinced him that what a good teacher does for the classroom, a good principal can do for a school. So, Ayers decided to expand his influence and serve as an elementary assistant principal at six Lubbock Independent School District campuses before serving as principal at Hardwick Elementary School and Roscoe Wilson Elementary School.

Ayers took his influences one step further and became an educational consultant, providing training in curriculum, instruction and leadership to educators. He was selected as Assistant Superintendent for Elementary, and was soon promoted to Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, a position responsible for half the district campuses. In an effort to turnaround Estacado High School’s “persistently low performing” grade, Ayers was asked to take the position of principal. Within three years, Principal Ayers and his faculty brought Estacado to a TEA “met standard” school.

“I have enjoyed every assignment, and have always been committed to leaving students and each school in better condition than when I arrived,” says Ayers on his time in the LISD system.

Ayers started teaching teacher education classes as an adjunct professor at LCU in 1990, and has taught at least two classes a year since then. He currently teaches The Principalship and School Law for the LCU School of Education.

“LCU has prepared strong beginning teachers and administrators for years,” says Ayers. “As an LISD principal, my teachers were always excited about having an LCU student teacher assigned to their classroom.”

Now, as an educator of educators, Ayers uses his art skills to teach.

“My art has always been a part of my learning style,” Ayers explains. “I have illustrated notes in classes going back to my middle school years. The drawings in my notes helped me recall information better than if I were simply listening or writing out notes from a lecture. I now use my art in the classroom to create illustrations on the board and worksheets to clarify points for my students.”

Ayers says he hopes to make his exhibit collection available for display at other appropriate venues in the future. His collection has also been photographed and turned into a book thanks to funding from Betenbough Homes, The Anabel Reid Memorial Fund and The Knowledge Center.