Joan Certa-Moore

Remembering Joan

A+ Schools of North Carolina remembers and honors long-time A+ Fellow and arts education advocate Joan Certa-Moore.

Author: Michelle Burrows

We are mourning the unexpected loss of Joan Certa-Moore, an amazing A+ Fellow, arts educator, passionate advocate, inspirational leader, creative colleague, and dear friend. We have been inspired and changed by Joan, and she leaves a legacy of impact far and wide.

Joan began her A+ journey at Bugg Elementary School in Raleigh. She was the dance teacher in 1995 when Bugg became one of the first A+ schools. Prior to and since that time, Joan was a strong and supportive advocate for the importance of the arts, not only in education, but in all the lives she touched. Her passion never waned, and she spent much of her career and her retirement helping others benefit from the arts. Joan’s work influenced so many teachers and students, and her light and spirit remain active throughout North Carolina and across the nation through those she impacted.

Read more about Joan’s life in her obituary.

At a service celebrating Joan’s life on January 6, 2024, a group of current and former A+ Fellows and other arts educators shared a movement and music piece to accompany a recent poem that Joan wrote entitled “Spilling”.

Written by Joan Certa-Moore and revised by Joan on November 12, 2023

A glorious fall vine heavy with yellow blooms floating on top of willowy branches arching with wild playfulness spilling over, capturing any open space gracefully commanding and bringing envy and attention to the space. This unapologetic spilling creates a new space; this unapologetic reaching opens the landscape to change. The branches carve and embrace, holding on long enough to imprint the desire to hold onto the moment. This delicate, unapologetic fluidity reveals how fleeting beauty and life are. There is no holding on, only letting go to the change.

The change causes a pinching in the heart, tumbles of tears – the missing and the knowing that what spilled over was beautiful and temporal.

There is no scooping up, gathering back, no having a cup of tea with your father, or locking arms with your cousin who held you so tight that you shared the same breath or the tough NJ Boy who mirrored your heart or all the years that have spilled over. Just the unapologetic spilling that creates a new space for beauty and life.

Joan-Certa Moore collage
Joan Certa-Moore

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