NAEA invites you to attend its first ever Pre-Con Comic-Con. Join us for this one-day pre-conference experience in which we will explore the World of Comics and Visual Storytelling. We will dig deep into comics’ potential to create new worlds, reflecting our own experiences and imagining the unknown. We will examine the communicative and expressive power of Comics, combining narrative with character, form, and structure.
Over the course of this day-long event, we will further our appreciation for the artform, while evaluating comics’ potential role within the classroom. Together we will actively explore both the practical and pedagogical applications, while creating our own artwork to illustrate our understanding and inspire future inquiry with our students.
Congratulations to our NATIONAL MIDDLE LEVEL ART EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR: ALICE GENTILI, from Massachusetts. Alice “carefully cultivates a culture of respect in the classroom,” shares her superintendent, Dr. Joseph Maruszczak. “She is tireless in her efforts to engage her students and improve our larger school community.” Alice is “the epitome of an outstanding educator, as she possesses characteristics such as creativity, enthusiasm, and compassion.” Alice is a “true blue Mendon-Upton,” Maruszczak continues, “Because of her professionalism, instructional leadership, and stalwart commitment to lifelong learning.”
JENNIFER DAVIS, from Ohio, is our WESTERN REGION awardee. In Jennifer’s classroom, “every child is treated like a star,” shares her nominator, Melanie Antram-Ingraham. “Jennifer is a teacher who brings innovation and collaboration to new levels.” Citing an extensive artists-in-residence program, her nominator shares, “Instead of thinking of her [rural] location as a limitation of the geography, Jennifer invites well-renowned artists into her classroom,” which has “transformed the culture of her school by filling nearly all public spaces with large-scale student art.”
Our PACIFIC REGION awardee is CYNTHIA GAUB, from Washington. Cynthia is “a superior educator dedicated to her profession,” writes her former principal, Mary O’Brien. “Her interactions with students reflect genuine respect and caring for each individual student,” creating a learning environment in which students “feel valued and safe.” Cynthia “implements a choice-based classroom art studio model where students become innovators and gain an appreciation and understanding of visual arts. She believes in her students and assists them in achieving their personal best.”
BENJAMIN TELLIE, of Maryland, is our EASTERN REGION awardee. Benjamin is “one of the very best colleagues and most dedicated teachers I have come across in my twenty-one years in education,” writes Dr. David Solomon, the Director of Arts Education at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland. “His willingness to partner with colleagues…and his drive to research best techniques in his field - and publish his findings! - is largely unparalleled.” Dr. Solomon commends Ben’s “calm, sensitive demeanor and the individual attention he gives to each student,” which is evidence of Ben’s “thirst for knowledge about art education.”
MAGGIE VIDAL-SANTOS, from Florida, is our SOUTHEASTERN REGION awardee. “Every time we meet, the conversation starts off with, ‘I was thinking…,’” shares Maggie Vidal-Santos’s principal, Dr. Maria Rodriguez, who calls her “one of the most passionate educators I know.” She goes on, citing her “heart and vision” as means to “guiding her students in tapping into their innermost feelings and being who the genuinely are.” She concludes, “Ms. Vidal-Santos exemplifies what every educator should be when it comes to drive and dedication,” and she is “making a true difference in the world.”
JOAN WEATHERFORD, from Georgia, is our NATIONAL JUNIOR ART HONOR SOCIETY SPONSOR OF THE YEAR. Joan has served as an art honor society sponsor for the past fifteen years in Cobb County, Georgia. Reflecting on Joan’s recent tenure as Dodgen Middle School’s NJAHS sponsor, nominator and parent volunteer, Rucsandra Doctor Woods writes, “Joan is a pleasure to work with and is a highly effective and gifted artist and teacher.” She is “consistently energetic, positive, respectful and interested in her students. She engages her students well and brings the ideas of the NJAHS members to life.”
Other division news
Welcome aboard, Dr. Aimee Burgamy!
The election results have been announced, and our incoming Division Director will be Dr. Aimee Burgamy, from Georgia. We are so excited to welcome Aimee to the leadership team.
Aimee and the team will be in attendance at #NAEA19 in Boston. If you run into her, please take a moment to congratulate her and share your own vision for our division. Aimee will succeed our current Director-Elect, Kathy Bareis, as Kathy assumes her role as Director following the convention.
NEW FACEBOOK PAGE
We have switched our Facebook usage from an individual "PROFILE" to a "PAGE." This has provided some much needed tools and has simplified the process. If you haven't "LIKED" our new page yet, you could be missing out! Check it out!
- NAEA has introduced its new, online Chapter Management Dashboard. You can now start/renew your chapter, submit your roster, upload your constitution, etc. This new service promises to streamline much of the workload of our chapter sponsors. Go to bit.ly/NJAHSdashboard
- Be sure to check out our #NAEA19 session titled: National Junior Art Honor Society: A Toolkit for Success. For anyone interested in starting, re-starting or growing their very own NJAHS chapter, this session will tackle the big questions and prepare you to pursue this valuable student leadership opportunity. Thursday, March 14, 11:00-11:50 am in Meeting Room 204.
- Check out our NJAHS Sponsor Forum on Facebook! We're looking to connect with chapter sponsors, soon-to-be chapter sponsors, and folks just curious about the whole art honor society thing.
- Follow our "NJAHS SPONSOR FORUM" Pinterest Board. We are constantly adding resources to share, and we hope to build this resource over the coming months and years. If you'd like to be added as a contributor, email email@example.com
Fabulous Faculty | A Spotlight Series
January's FABULOUS FACULTY is:
Richard Merkin Middle School | Los Angeles, California
We asked ms. Gaechter to share the qualities that make her classroom a special place in which to learn and create?
I believe that all Art classrooms are special places for students because they provide them authentic opportunities to discover themselves and grow through their own self-expression. My classroom is special because my students are special.
Every day my students come in to my room with the understanding that they are largely responsible for their own education, and it is this understanding that gives them the agency to support and celebrate each other’s learning and creation. My classroom is a place where my students feel safe and supported, because they work hard to consciously maintain this environment. As middle schoolers my students are experiencing a great deal of change, which is why it is so important for me and them to have our Art room be a place where they can make decisions and take risks without fear of being judged. The feeling of being in a classroom where every person in that room supports you, is like you are limitless, you can do anything! This kind of environment opens the floodgates for creativity. All these things are not unique to my classroom, but my students and I value them greatly, and our class would not be the same without them.
I am largely inspired by the contemporary art world for my teaching. In an effort to keep my classroom relevant to the lives my students, I try to keep a finger on the pulse of current events in the art world in order to integrate them into my curriculum. My students value real-world-applicable work in school, and this is one way I provide that to them. I strive to expose them to just as much contemporary art as traditional classics. As we learn about these innovative movements and the artists at their forefront, my students build skills in visual analysis and communication of the ideas and opinions they develop. I believe this will prepare them to enter the contemporary art world prepared to engage with ongoing discourse.
- COLLABORATE. NAEA's new professional community continues to grow! Check it out and share your own perspectives/experiences. Visit: collaborate.arteducators.org and contribute to our "Middle Level" Community.
- NAEA NEWS & NEWSLETTER. Have an idea for an upcoming issue of NAEA News or this Newsletter? We'd love to hear it. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and pitch your story ideas! Check out the latest issue of NAEA News, too.