Meet The New Director Of Fine Arts: Pete Pauliks

Mr. Pauliks came to Byram Hills after there was an opening to be the Fine Arts Director last year. From a young age, he’s always been drawn to the performing arts. Read on to learn more about our new Director of Fine Arts!

By Audrey Goldberg 

Last year, Mr. Marwah took a position to lead the Fine Arts Department at New Rochelle High School. Because of this, there was an opening to be the Fine Arts Director at Byram Hills. Thankfully, we are still in good hands, as we now have Mr. Pauliks running the show!

Mr. Pauliks grew up in Pennsylvania and attended Wallenpaupack Area High School. From a young age, he and his siblings took music lessons. He attended Marywood University in Pennsylvania where he majored in music. He also played the horn, and even participated in theater on the side. After college, Mr. Pauliks landed a teaching position at a district similar to Byram Hills and decided to pursue a career in music education. Funnily enough, Mr. Pauliks originally had no interest in teaching, but once he started his job, he loved it.  He says, “I stepped into this school and it changed my life. I fell in love with teaching like I never thought I would. I had the most amazing time and I don’t think I could do anything else.” As much as he loved working with students, he still maintained an itch to perform; and so, he did just that. 

During Mr. Pauliks’ performing career, some of his favorite and more notable roles include Mike Costa in Chorus line, Billy Lawlor in 42nd Street, and the title role of Pippin in Pippin. His all-time favorite role, however, was playing Prive Gar in an Irish play entitled Private Gareth O’Donnell in Brian Friel’s Philadelphia, Here I Come. Mr. Pauliks has also performed in numerous ballets, including The Nutcracker, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Cinderella.

Mr. Pauliks, as he describes, always knew he wanted to pursue a career in the performing arts. He feels “sometimes it’s not that you choose it, it chooses you.” He thrived in an environment where he could sing, act, dance, make music, play instruments, and really just do all the things he loved. 

One of his accomplishments was getting to restore and build art programs in NYC. He got to work with amazing people who all loved to perform. He also built art programs from scratch for ten years. He worked in rural areas bringing light to students through music.  

He decided to join Byram Hills because he missed teaching. He felt the timing was absolutely perfect; plus, holding an administrative position allows him to directly shape the BHHS arts programs. Though Mr. Pauliks loved being a teacher, he regrets only being able to teach around twenty students at a time. Now, he can observe hundreds of students and have a significant influence on their love of performance and art. 

Because of the coronavirus, Mr. Pauliks’ main goal has been to reinstate the numerous arts programs and get them up and running. Mr. Pauliks described these trying circumstances as nothing short of  “devastating.” 

Mr. Pauliks also has planned to revamp the fine arts courses at the high school by expanding the curriculum of what is taught in the class “Studio Art.” This class is required for students and is supposed to give an overview of each art program offered. Mr. Pauliks does like how Studio Art teaches using the mediums of watercolors, pastels, and charcoal. However, he believes the class could introduce students to many more types of art forms including graphic design and vocal training. He would like the class to also teach students the basics of music, theater, and even dancing. If each student is introduced to a variety of art forms, he believes that they would want to take another art course after fulfilling the Studio Art requirement.

Mr. Pauliks strongly believes that “music teaches students to think, and processing music in the classroom develops critical thinking skills. It challenges students to think at a higher level and to synthesize information.” He stresses that the performing and fine arts are an outlet for kids to express themselves and he would love to see more students get involved. Overall, Mr. Pauliks cannot wait to continue leading the Byram Hills Fine Arts Department!