BY JENNIFER SOLIS
---- — WEST NEWBURY – A professional illustrator and animator from Budapest, Hungry will be the guest speaker at a community meeting next week, kicking off the year for the Pentucket Regional School District.
Superintendent Jeffrey Mulqueen said that Istvan Banyai, creator of the award-winning wordless children’s book “Zoom,” will speak at the annual gathering for current educators, retiring teachers and other school and community partners slated for Tuesday, Aug. 26. The event opens with coffee and pastries in the high school cafeteria at 8:30 a.m. and proceeds into the auditorium at 9 a.m.
Mulqueen said he plans to use messages from the children’s book – that “nothing is ever what it seems and if you think you know where you are – guess again,” to help him frame the district’s focus for the upcoming school year.
“Our key strategies depend upon continuous improvement and the contributions of every member of our learning community,” Mulqueen said, “‘Zoom’ will help members of the Pentucket staff to think differently, suspend judgment, and consider new possibilities.”
Mulqueen plans to employ four key strategies to bring closer to reality a World Class vision set when he assumed the helm of the district one year ago. These strategies include the implementation of a new educator evaluation system, development of innovation schools, implementation of three-tiered instruction, and the development of new curriculum units, Mulqueen said.
“I am a long-time fan of Mr. Banyai’s work and have used it as a stepping stone to help children and adults learn to suspend judgment and consider new perspectives,” Mulqueen said.
Banyai received a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest then gained prominence as a commercial illustrator and animator in the mid-1980s after moving to the United States.
Published in 1995, “Zoom” was recognized as one of the best children’s books of the year by the New York Times and Publishers Weekly. Banyai authored four more books and illustrated many more in collaboration with other writers and poets.
He continues to produce commercial illustrations for publications such as The New Yorker, Time Magazine, and Atlantic Monthly; cover art for Sony and Verve Records; and animated short films for Nickelodeon and MTV Europe.
Mulqueen said Banyi has become “internationally respected for his unique philosophical and iconoclastic vision, thus transcending the status of commercial illustrator to gifted artist.”
The Pentucket Education Foundation and the Pentucket Arts Foundation helped to bring this notable guest speaker to the district.
The district also announced last week that its online bus application and payment process is now available on the Pentucket website, www.prsd.org. All students who plan to ride the bus to school are required to get a pass by Sept. 12. Anyone living within 1.5 miles of their school must pay an annual fee of $180 for a round trip pass or $90 for a morning, afternoon, or winter-only pass. Under state law students living outside that distance don’t pay for transportation, but they should still apply online to obtain a bus pass. Bus passes will be distributed shortly after Sept. 12.