It was my great honor to be involved with the WAEA Fall Conference as Awards Chair and presenter. Preparing for the event gave me insight into the daily dedications of some of our fellow educators. As I look ahead to the next year of nominations and awards, I am anxious to learn more about art teachers throughout the state who have dedicated their passions to art education and their students.
For those who could not attend the Awards Ceremony, poignant moments included the introduction of lia Johnson by Tasha Newton and Sarah Klein. As her former art education students and now art educators, their comments about lia highlighted the essence of her impact—her compassion and genuine care for her students. I would also like to include a testimonial written about lia from her co-worker, which arrived too late to be included in the ceremonies:
To: WAEA Awards, Re: lia Johnson
From: Chris Theo
I regret that I am unable to attend today’s ceremony and to share with all of you the award you are presenting to Dr. lia Johnson.
As Department Chair and colleague, I can state without hesitation, that she is one of the most devoted educators and effective student mentors I have ever had the privilege of working with.
Her unrelenting dedication to her students, tireless work ethic, and professional level of excellence, which she uncompromisingly adheres to, provides a standard for which all of us as educators, only hope to achieve.
Without question, Lia is most deserving of this award. We are truly blessed to have her as a member of our department and institution.
She is our friend, our inspiration, and the summations of everything we as art educators, represent.
With admiration and respect,
Department of Art & Design
Additional highlights were the comment made by Cindy Zarte, Superintendent of Tomah schools. She introduced Margie Genrich, our 2014 Secondary Level Outstanding Art Educator. Embedded in her introduction were comments she had collected from Margie’s students. Personally, these students’ testimonials pinpointed why we were all there celebrating...art teachers can and do make lasting impressions on their students’ lives through their dedication, passion and compassion.
Student testimonials are extremely powerful. After all, that’s why we all devote ourselves to this profession. Is there an arts educator you know that has the attention and respect of students? If so, consider nominating that person for recognition. Involvement in WAEA is certainly part of the screening process for WAEA recognition, but sincere involvement with students and their learning is truly what makes an educator noteworthy.