public schools

May 2019 Arts Educator of the Month: Allison Smith

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We are so thrilled to introduce you to our May 2019 Arts Educator of the Month, Ms. Allison Smith. Allison is a spectacular K-4 art teacher at Galapagos Rockford Charter School  in Rockford, Illinois.  She is beloved at her school and because of her strong instructional and planning skills, serves as a model to her colleagues school-wide.  She is dedicated to her scholars and regularly finds innovative and creative ways to encourage the pursuit of the arts not just at school but at home and in the community.  

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 Allison was nominated by her supervisor, Stephanie Boeddeker.  Read her nomination below to learn more about the incredible work that she is doing in her role as art teacher! 

Congratulations, Ms. Smith!  Thank you for your vital contributions to arts education. 

 

Why do you think this arts educator deserves to be nominated?

 Allison is dedicated to the achievement of her scholars in art and all subject areas. She serves as a model for our instructors within her content and through her planning and organization in her classroom. 

 

Tell us how this arts educator has gone above and beyond to help students.

 Allison encourages scholars to create and become an artist outside of the walls of her classroom. She ALWAYS has new and fresh displays of scholar artwork in the halls and takes the time to articulate what scholars are learning via their projects. She has taken initiative to create an art show for parents and makes art an important part of the curriculum in our school. 

 

How would students describe this arts educator?

 Scholars say Mrs. Smith is patient, caring, fun, and a great artist! 

 

Please share the innovative and creative ways that this educator is teaching the arts.

 One of my favorite things that Allison does is a display she creates in the hall outside her classroom called the "Art Challenge Board". She encourages scholars to make art at home and bring it to her to display proudly. She tries to find ways to connect her content with scholars in their everyday life and encourage them to continue their journey as artists.

 

What distinguishes this arts educator from their peers?

 Allison really knows and understands scholars' academic levels outside of the art classroom. She takes time to understand what they are learning in other classes and supports them in other academic areas. She knows how to make her content important, while also investing herself in the school as a whole.

April 2019 Arts Educator of the Month: Noel Spring

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We are so excited to introduce you to our April 2019 Arts Educator of the Month, Ms. Noel Spring.  Noel is an exceptional art teacher at Rusheon Middle School in Bossier City, Louisiana.  She works each and every day to ensure that her students are introduced to and actively working on a variety of arts projects.  Additionally, she uses her art class in strategic ways that allows for math, science, reading and social emotional learning integration.  Simply put, she is fantastic! 

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Noel was nominated by Jacqui Impson, the school counselor at her school.  Read her nomination below to learn more about the incredible work that she is doing in her role as art teacher! 


Congratulations, Ms. Spring!  Thank you for your important contributions to arts education. 

 

Why do you think this arts educator deserves to be nominated?

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 She is a dedicated, brilliant, talented, amazing woman and teacher! 

 

Tell us how this arts educator has gone above and beyond to help students.

Ms. Spring goes above and beyond the normal duties of an art teacher. She supports the students through mentoring with our PBIS Tier II Climb Program and provides extracurricular support with her Ram Pride Spirit Team. 

 

How would students describe this arts educator?

Many students say they love Ms. Spring because she believes in them even when they don’t believe in themselves. I’ve also been told they know when a teacher loves them like they are their own child and that Ms. Spring is one of those teachers. One of her students who needs behavioral support said, “Even when I don’t make the best decisions she is there to show me that she cares, even if it’s tough love.”

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Please share the innovative and creative ways that this educator is teaching the arts.

She incorporates Math, Science and ELA into her lessons on a regular basis. The projects the students create are wonderful! They have made architectural pieces from popsicle sticks to represent key places in the world (Eiffel Tower, Stadiums, Twin Towers, etc.) The students do historical research on their locations as they prepare their design drafts prior to building. They have made some incredible tribal pieces this year that the students were extremely proud to show in the art gallery at our school. Another great project that she has done is an “emotions in abstract” assignment. The students are able to express themselves through their art and they have used it as therapy as they work through issues with sexuality, racism, domestic violence, self-harm, suicidal ideation, etc. Many of the pieces turned out amazing! 

 

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What distinguishes this arts educator from their peers?

In the Bossier Parish Schools  i3 Art Expo  this year, Ms. Spring represented Rusheon with a display of our students’ art work and she won 1st place in the Parish!! She is a vital part of Rusheon and is dedicated to improving the school and the students. We are blessed to have her on our staff and in our Ram Family! 

 

 

 

 

 

March 2019 Arts Educator of the Month: Sheena Folkman

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We are thrilled to announce our very first Arts Educator of the Month, Ms. Sheena Folkman.  Sheena is an exceptional art teacher at LEARN 7 Elementary School . She works relentlessly every day to provide quality arts instruction to the Kindergarten – 5thgrade students that she serves on the West Side of Chicago. She is passionate, dedicated, innovative and is changing her students’ lives through the arts.  We honor her commitment, talent and transformative work at her school.  

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Sheena was nominated by her wife, Christina Folkman.  Read her nomination below to learn more about the incredible work that she is doing in her role as art teacher.  

Congratulations, Ms. Sheena Folkman! Thank you for your important contributions to arts education. 

 

Why do you think this arts educator deserves to be nominated?

Sheena takes art education to another level. She is referred to as “director” Folkman because her students are not just students, they are referred to as designers in her classroom. In only her second year teaching she has transformed the art program and enriched the lives of all of her students.

 

Tell us how this arts educator has gone above and beyond to help students.

Sheena ensures that her class is doing more than simply art production. Each unit starts with an art history lesson, focusing on a specific artist or art style. That lesson then ties into one of the elements of art, which is demonstrated through a project the designers complete for that unit.

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How would students describe this arts educator?

Creative, firm, funny, talented!

 

Please share the innovative and creative ways that this educator is teaching the arts.

Sheena makes sure to also speak to classroom teachers so she can connect to the curriculum as much as possible. For example, when the 3rd grade read a book about Jackson Pollock, the art room was suddenly transformed into a Pollock-like studio! The floor was covered in plastic, desks and chairs were moved out of the way, and jazz played in the background as the designers learned to drop, splatter with, and tap their paintbrushes to create beautiful Pollock-inspired paintings.

 

What distinguishes this arts educator from their peers?

Sheena is constantly thinking of how to change up the media used, connect lessons to students’ interests, and generally goes above and beyond in her classroom.

CONGRATULATIONS, SHEENA!

Everyday Artist Spotlight: Leslie Cannata Nance

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We are thrilled to introduce you to music educator extraordinaire, Leslie Cannata Nance! She is a multi-talented teacher and artist who has a genuine commitment to her students’ growth and development as musicians. Leslie has a deep, profound love for the arts and it’s evident in her work and performances. Check out her interview to learn more about the passion that drives her work as an educator and how arts education has impacted her life.

 

Why is your art important to you?

Seeing students be successful when they have otherwise not gotten the opportunity academically is my greatest achievement. Sharing my passion of music with others of all ages is not a “job,” but a joy. I absolutely love the subject I teach! I practice what I preach! My students know that I love what I do, and they know they have the opportunity to be successful like me because I share with them! I create relationships with every single student with whom I come in contact. 

  

What do you want your art to say?

Music is my life. I live and breathe music and performing – in any capacity. When I graduated from high school, I was faced with the decision of a) performing and making lots of money on Broadway or b) teaching the youth of America the importance of the performing arts. Obviously, I chose the latter. I have not regretted my decision to become a music educator one time! My students, ages 5 to 95, ALL know that I have a vested interested in them and want the best for them. I have worked with diverse school populations - at-risk students, high populations of impoverished families, special education – that require my constant attention to detail and a never-ending classroom based on relationship building.

 

What project are you working on now?

I am currently making the move from elementary music to secondary music - instrumental or vocal. I'm not quite sure what's in store for me in the near future, but I'm confident I will be the best!

 

Who is your favorite artist?

Oh, my goodness! There are too many to name and all for different reasons! To narrow it down to my top picks, though: 1. I absolutely love Bach and his attention to the musical elements in his compositions. 2. I'm a HUGE fan of The Who because of the lyrics and the drive in their sound. 3. Have any of you ever just spent time listening to The Red Hot Chili Peppers? I could go on FOR HOURS! 4. We would need to have drinks and brunch for 9 days about The Beatles.

 

How has arts education impacted your life?

How has it not? I live and breathe performance education. These children are our future, and I'm making that happen because of the interest my educators showed in me.

 

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Biography: 

Leslie Cannata Nance has been performing since she was a small child. With dedication and a lot of hard work, Leslie was given full scholarships to several universities to study music education. Leslie truly lives out her dream job every single day teaching children the love of music and performance. Leslie was hired before her college graduation in Pasadena Independent School District at Richey Elementary School as the Music Coordinator and Choral Director. Here, Leslie was awarded First Year Teacher of the Year. After a move to north Houston in 2009, she became the Music Coordinator and Choral Director at McFee Elementary School in Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District. At McFee, Leslie revolutionized the music department, as she was the third music teacher hired when the school had been opened for only two years. In May of 2018, Leslie accepted a position as music coordinator at Willbern Elementary School in CFISD.  In her first 3 months at this campus, she has implemented grade level performances and a choir, both of which were absent in years previous. Leslie gives every student in her classroom the opportunity to perform, as she feels this is one of the most important aspects of elementary music education. When Leslie is not teaching public school, she spends her time teaching private voice, piano, strings, and drama.

Leslie welcomes your questions and comments and has many resources she wants to share with you for free (including original musicals)! She can be contacted by email at leslie.nance@cfisd.net 

Everyday Artist Spotlight: Milton Washington

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We are thrilled to introduce you to an extraordinary mind and talent, Milton Washington.  Milton is a New York City-based artist who is self-described as, “A storyteller who writes a bit and has an iPhone with an eye.”  We’d describe him as a magical photographer, brilliant writer and an all-around exceptional creative.  We had the honor of asking him a few questions about his art, what inspires his work and we got the low-down on his new, upcoming project that we know you’re going to want to check out! 

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Read below to learn more about Milton and follow him on social media to stay connected!

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Why is your art important to you?

I feel my ways of expression connect deeply with people in a way that helps them face the truths of life and the truths of themselves. My art is important to me because it’s healing. 

 

 

What do you want your art to say? 

The things that most people don’t have the courage to say while inspiring them to speak the truth. It’s ok to flawed. It’s ok to feel less than. It’s ok to not match up. But find your place and your truth. 

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What project are you working on now?

A concept one-man show with photography, readings and storytelling rooted in my memoir. Heavy elements are balanced with hilarity of my life and the photographs are a demonstration of my perspective while also being a springboard into conversation.

 

 

Who is your favorite artist?

Being adopted from Korea at the age of 8, I started school for the first time in life. New language, new family, new culture. I’ve felt the deficits of illiteracy which weighs on my ability to consume academic aspects of life. All that to say, I’m not the most well-versed in art. But I do love MC Escher and the book by Herman Hess, Sidhartha. 

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How has arts education impacted your life?

I’ve never had formal art education but my experience of isolation in South Korea has instilled a deep-seeded need in me to express. I need it to live. I believe the need to express should be on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need. I believe my style and approach to my art is a both a function of who and what I am and my most effective tool to change the world. 

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Biography: Born in South Korea, Milton Washington was adopted and brought to the states in 1979 where he learned English and the American culture. Today, he lives in Harlem operating his Strategy, Sales Coaching and Public Speaking agency, Slickyboy Studios. He is months away from completing his memoir entitled Slickyboy. Slickyboy Synopsis: A fatherless black boy was born to a Korean prostitute a decade and-a-half after the Korean War. Left to roam his camptown with a pack of homeless kids, little Milton-ah fights, steals and drinks while his mother works long hours. All until the age of 8, when he’s adopted from the country that never claimed him, by a black military family from Texas, the Washingtons. Slickyboy is about the love and the loss of one mother, and a finding of another, with a lifetime of living in between.