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Spotlight on Faculty Member Wayne Lewis

photo of Wayne LewisQ. What do you love about the College of Education?

A: I have been with the College of Education about two years now and more than anything, I love working with my students. I am an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership Studies and a Co-Director of the Education Policy and Law Lab, and more than just being hardworking students, they are wonderful people. They bring varied experiences to their graduate programs, but share the element of total commitment to improving learning for children in Kentucky and I feel extraordinarily privileged to work with them.

Q: What did you do before working here?

A: Immediately before coming to UK, I was a doctoral student at North Carolina State University. At NC State I also worked as a graduate research assistant in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and taught a foundation of education course for undergraduate pre-service teachers in the College of Education. Prior to that, I was a middle and high school teacher in public school districts in North Carolina and Louisiana.

Q: So where are you originally from?

A: I am originally from New Orleans, La.

Q: How did UK come into the picture?

A: My colleague Justin Bathon and I have a mutual friend, Kevin Brady at North Carolina State University where I did my doctorate. Kevin served on my dissertation committee and knew through Justin that the Department of Educational Leadership Studies at UK was recruiting for a position. I gave Justin a call that evening. We were actually headed to the same conference the following day in Orlando, so we met there and talked. From there things moved pretty quickly. I came to campus to interview two weeks later. It was pretty clear that UK was going to be the right fit for me.

Q: Do you have any hobbies?

A: I am a saxophonist. I have been reading music almost as long as I’ve been reading words. It is kind of hard not to get into music growing up in New Orleans. I picked up the saxophone in early elementary school. I started playing talent shows, and then local New Orleans clubs and second lines at about 14; first with the Ace of Spades Brass Band and later with the Lil Stooges Brass Band. I had the opportunity to attend St. Augustine High School and play in the marching, symphonic and jazz bands. I then went on to attend Loyola University in New Orleans where Jazz Studies was my major.

Q: Who influenced your interest in music?

A: My uncle, the late Fred Kemp, was a New Orleans sax man, leading his own groups and playing for years with acts like the legendary Fats Domino and the famed Preservation Hall Jazz Band. I always wanted to play like my Uncle Kemp. I’m still trying to catch him.

Q: Where and what might we hear you play?

A: Currently, I am playing with a few groups locally. I have done a wide range of music over my career, but right now I play a lot of R&B, blues, soul and gospel. I play regularly with Soul Explosion and the Positive Movement Band, The Trendells, and D Jay Rice and the Legendary Payin Dues Blues Band at the Crossroads on Southland. With that exception, most of the events that we do are wedding receptions and private parties.

Q: Have you done any recording?

A: I have done studio work for a few gospel groups in New Orleans and in Raleigh, N.C. I haven’t done any solo recording yet. It’s on my list of things to do; not at the top, but it’s on the list. I decided some time ago that my academic career would take precedence, but I would like to do some recording at some point.