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Statement from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities on Duke Ellington Principal John Payne

Friday, October 10, 2014

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) extends its condolences to the family and friends of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts on the passing of Principal John Payne.  We applaud Mr. Payne’s achievements and contributions to the development of young talent in the District of Columbia, many of which have gone on to national and international acclaim.

“As we celebrate the life of John Payne, we highlight Duke Ellington as one of premiere arts high schools in Washington, DC and the nation,” said Judith Terra, Chair of DCCAH. “Throughout his many years of service, John Payne helped to advance the banner of arts education in our city.”

“John Payne knew the critical importance of the arts in education,” said Lionell Thomas, Executive Director of DCCAH. “His work at Duke Ellington transformed the lives of countless students from across the District, which is a testament to legacy and commitment to our city’s youth.”