Teaching young children is no small feat. It has never been easy to capture and engage a student’s attention, but in today’s world of technology it proves to be even harder. We are continually impressed by the art teachers and school staff we have collaborated with over time. Their work is instrumental in kids development and growth. Most of all, these role models inspire our children on a daily basis. So in the spirit of inspiration, we are tipping our hats to some of our favorite art teaching influencers. Read on to learn more about the incredible work they do in and out of the school system!
1). Meet Sarah Krajewski, a Cambridge Elementary art teacher and the 2019 Wisconsin Art Educator of the Year. This young teacher is also known as the ‘Glitter Fairy’. She dons glitter wings and a wand while her students, the glue fairies, add glue to their work. Sarah, (being the glitter fairy), then sprinkles the sparkle dust. We must admit, this is a genius way to manage glitter in the classroom!
Beyond creative ways to teach, she also preaches a special mantra. At the beginning of class, her students repeat phrases encouraging positive self talk. Sarah comments, “Art gives students an outlet to express their creativity while also practicing being awesome humans. In our art room, learn how to make art and how to treat each other and ourselves with respect.”
In today’s school systems, art teachers end up wearing many hats. Often times a teacher will go beyond the call of duty to support a student. “As an art teacher, it can be hard to manage being a nurse, counselor, educator, therapist, parent, and more! Juggling those positions can be tricky but is worth it to give our students what they need,” Sarah explains. All in all, we are super impressed with this glittering teacher.
Learn more about Sarah:
2). Meet Kelsey Escue, a K-12 art educator currently teaching in Las Vegas, Nevada. This creative visual arts teacher is committed to constructing stimulating lessons to encourage student creativity. Kelsey strongly believes in Arts Integration for education. Kelsey states, “The arts are important for children because it fosters divergent thinking and problem solving. Not every child will grow up to pursue the arts, but the process of art-making fuels innovation in other subjects. Imagine learning fractions through the slices of cake from Wayne Thiebaud,or learning anatomy through life drawing!” We couldn’t agree more.
Kelsey is always anticipating her student’s needs. “To help students focus during their studio time, I play the current radio hits in piano or other music. Sometimes, I will play videos of ocean fish for students to look at when they get frustrated or need a brain break.” We applaud her commitment to her student’s learning and continue to be inspired by her colorful teaching style.
Learn more about Kelsey:
3). Meet Lauralee Chambers, an art educator who has taught K-5 in Westchester, New York for the past 26 years. With a solid background in education, Lauralee inspires her students to look beyond technology and connect with their natural abilities. “I believe that Art is critical in the lives of all children because it is what makes us human. The arts should be valued as an essential component of a full and rich educational experience,” she states.“In this instant gratification culture, where technology is a means to an end, Art is its own end. It is through the arts that we develop creative and critical thinking, grit, and patience. Art provides both structure and freedom and the knowledge that there are many ways to be an artist.”
Quite a lot is demanded from art teachers. “I only see my students three times a month. I also travel between two schools, teaching six different levels everyday with a total of over 920 students!! Teaching 42 classes and managing the needs of two locations with displays, budgets, and art rooms to maintain is certainly demanding,” admits Lauralee. She combats this challenge by making a strong effort to get to know her students in the hopes of meeting their needs and interests. She loves to share new techniques with her classroom and is continually motivated and inspired by nurturing her student’s potential.
Learn more about Lauralee:
4). Meet Cassie Stephens – art teacher, and author of Stitch and String Lab and Clay Lab For Kids. This colorful, southern, art teaching influencer manages her own blog, podcast and is planning to host her own “Art Teacherin’ Extravaganza” this summer. One of her latest blog posts centers around print making in the classroom. “There’s a lot to printmaking in the elementary art room but none of it is scary, difficult or even all that messy! My kids love it and so do I,” says Cassie. Her blog is filled with helpful hints, tricks and how-to’s for art teachers to try out in their own classrooms. Tune into her podcast for even more information and inspiration.
Learn more about Cassie:
5). Meet Laura Lohmann, art teacher and author of Mini Masterpieces: Exploring Art History With Hands-On Projects for Kids. A lover of all types of paint, Laura encourages her class to explore art, while learning about artists and cultures along the way. Laura states on her website, “Never take the fun out of creating because that is where the learning begins!” She is an annual presenter at the Ohio Art Education Association Convention and has previously presented at the National Art Education Convention. Laura continually inspires her students and openly shares her experiences with other educators. Her website is a plethora of information and a huge source of motivation to create!
Learn more about Laura:
6). Meet Andrew Kiczek, an elementary art teacher in Las Vegas, Nevada and founder of Elementary Art Resources. Andrew’s focus is on developing an art curriculum accessible for all ages. He provides resources for teaching, suggesting structure and reward systems to keep the classroom running smoothly. Andrew’s website offers great ideas on how to manage and maintain a happy class. He states, “A good classroom management system can reinforce self-control, effective communication, responsibility, empathy, and other skills needed to ensure a positive, safe learning environment.”
Beyond classroom structure, he is creatively conscious of the environment. Andrew explains, “For the last eight years, I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of waste in the Art room and we make our own liquid water colors using dried out markers!” We love Andrew’s approach to teaching and classroom management!
Learn more about Andrew:
7). Meet Robin Mead, an independent artist with a background in social work. After a career in the foster care system of New York City, Robin felt the need to make a life change. She began to incorporate art into her life and ultimately chose to make it a full time pursuit. Currently, she manages her blog and occasionally teaches to children. “Art is so important for children because it allows them to think creatively, utilize trial and error to master their skills, and to instill the love of art at a young age,” comments Robin.“I also feel that it can be a happy place for them or a meditative time that they can always go to in times of stress or just needing to be alone.” Her journey is an inspiration to us all!
Learn more about Robin:
8). Meet Nic Hahn, art teacher, blogger and podcaster. On her podcast, Everyday Art Room, Nic explains how lots of art educators get into teaching because they have a love of creating or making art. However, sometimes teachers fall short when fueling their own creative needs. Nic comments, “We are creating constantly for many different pools of people in our life, and what we’re doing is we’re inspiring them to create. This is why we went into this profession, is because we had a passion and we wanted to share that passion with others.” She goes on to discuss the importance of feeling inspired and recharging personal batteries before giving and teaching to a class. We love the emphasis on self care and the role it plays in being a well rounded person and educator.
Learn more about Nic:
9). Meet Jennifer Hamilton, an elementary school art teacher educating K-5th grade. Recently, Jennifer and her class were commissioned to create an auction piece for an annual fundraiser within their local community. In a recent news article Jennifer commented on the experience, “The students enjoyed working on the panels, because we don’t get a huge budget for the art room at the elementary level. So, participating in this fundraiser was a special treat because it meant we got to buy new supplies!” Encouraging young students to get excited and become involved in community projects is so important. We applaud her effort and commitment!
Learn more about Jennifer:
10). Meet Dayna E. a K-5th grade art school teacher. Dayna’s vibrant and eye catching outfits are not the only unique thing about her. Love for all things creative and engaging is an apparent theme when perusing her Instagram profile. Whether it be colorful clay projects or brightly painted pictures, Dayna keeps things bright and fun. We love this young educator’s spirit and hope to see even more from her in the future!
Learn more about Dayna: