Congratulations Wisconsin Art Education Association Art Teacher of the Month - November 2021
Name: Heidi Walbert
School: Summit View Elementary, Waukesha, Wi
Nominated by: Garrett Sheskey
What colleagues say: Ms. Walbert is a dynamic art educator through and through. Her approach to learning is the same as her approach to life, and that is through a creative lens. Curriculum is what is written on a piece of paper. What Ms. Walbert teaches students lifts this from the paper and into the imagination of the students in her classroom. Ms. Walbert's classroom is truly a studio of artists. Every class begins with the familiar greeting, "Good morning (afternoon) my most amazing artists!" Students BELIEVE in their artwork and speak to the decisions they make because they can. The artful choices that Ms. Walbert gives to students is not a privilege but a right. Through discovery of mediums and materials, students have the opportunity to share messages of feelings, hope, advocacy, and more. This transcends into the general classroom for students as they integrate art into their learning and demonstration of learning.
Ms. Walbert should be considered for Art Teacher of the Month by the Wisconsin Art Education Association because her dedication to her passion in the profession is inspiring to all around her in the community. Her leadership as an art educator is both within and out of the classroom as she mentors other art teachers in the district and presents at professional developments. She 'waves the banner' for Arts Education and that is what we need more of in the Education Profession! It is difficult to inspire others without aspiring to be better yourself. Ms. Walbert has this aspiration. She does not follow a folder of plans year after year but rather responds to world events and then gives students the time, space, and choice to express their feelings and messages through the artwork they create. It takes confidence in someone to open the windows to the world and talk with students about what they see and hear. Art is a natural outlet for this. The relationships that Ms. Walbert has with students stretch from our youngest to oldest students.
Part of being a Specialist in an elementary school is having the joy of connecting with various grade levels. Ms. Walbert moves from group to group and makes those connections seamlessly. Students are drawn to her creative aurora and find ease in talking with her about their lives. As part of PLC, Ms. Walbert and her colleagues set a student relationship goal and monitor student attendance and engagement- reaching out to those who, based on the data, may need an adult at school to connect with. Ms. Walbert's community involvement is both within and out of school. She has participated in school events both leading and supporting. Ms. Walbert's passion for the art is a driver of her decisions, which is much needed in a community!
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