Michelle St. Andre, President
Rio Rancho Public Schools, High School Art Teacher, MA Ed.
Michelle Sanchez-St.Andre is a Level III Visual Arts teacher at V. Sue Cleveland HighSchool in Rio Rancho. She received her BFA in Graphic Design from New Mexico State University and her MA Ed through the University of Phoenix in California. Michelle is in her thirteenth year teaching, ten of those with Rio Rancho Public Schools. Prior to becoming a Visual Arts teacher, she was a professional Graphic Designer in New Mexico and California. As a teacher, Michelle enjoys sharing her knowledge of graphic art and design, ceramics and art history with 9-12th grade students. She has been a member of the NMAEA since 2009 and on the board since 2014. She brings experience to the NMAEA with her knowledge of working with the California Art Education Association for three years. Michelle enjoys participating in the association because of the support that comes with being a member and her love of teaching. Now as a seasoned teacher, Michelle still enjoys being a learner by continuing her own education with college art classes and exploring her wanderlust by traveling abroad.
Roswell Public Schools, Fourth Grade Visual Arts
Jennifer is originally from Texas and received her BFA in Studio Art at Texas Tech University. She did not start out to become a teacher but fell into her teaching career when she was asked to teach a drawing class at the Roswell Museum and Art Center in 2002. She discovered she loved teaching art and soon moved on to teaching at community centers and more, including the Juvenile Detention Center. In 2008 she began teaching Art full-time at Roswell High School. Currently Jennifer teaches elementary art with R.I.S.D.- Arts Connect.
Cynthia Hanna has been the art teacher at Crownpoint High School in Crownpoint, New Mexico since 1995. In addition to teaching Art I, Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Ceramics and AP Art Studio, sponsoring the art club and the student council, Cynthia also has coached JV or C-team volleyball for 19 years. Prior to that she was a Peace Corps volunteer in Kopong, Botswana where she taught art at Kopong Community Junior School. Her teaching career began at Claude Jr-Sr High School in Claude, Texas. Cynthia grew up in Lubbock, Texas and will still occasionally lapse into a Texas drawl. She graduated with a BFA in Art Education from Texas Tech University in 1990 and earned a MA in the Humanities from California State University, Dominguez Hills in 2009. Cynthia was lucky enough to grow in a family of artists, and that love and support in the creative endeavors has led her to explore many artistic interests from ceramics and quilting to painting. However, she considers her most creative and satisfying endeavor to be the art of teaching. When not overly committed to Crownpoint High School, Cynthia enjoys walks on the mesa with her dog Basil and finding adventure in travels nearby or far-flung.Click here to contact Cynthia
Heather Armstrong, Advocacy/Resource Development Chair
Rio Rancho Public Schools, Elementary Art Teacher
Heather Armstrong is a Level II Visual Arts teacher at Sandia Vista Elementary in Rio Rancho. She received her BFA Ed. in Art Education at the University of New Mexico where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and specialized in small metal casting and design. Heather is in her eighth year teaching at Sandia Vista Elementary where there are 650+ students. Sandia Vista Elementary also hosts the only public Montessori program in Rio Rancho servicing students Pre-K 3 years old to 5th grade. In addition, Heather is currently the Elementary Visual Arts Lead teacher for Rio Rancho Public Schools and has worked to create a strong community of Visual Arts Educators by coordinating monthly meetings, professional development opportunities, creative funding to help supplement FAEA funds in the RRPS elementary schools, and an annual Elementary District Art Show for RRPS. She is among the courageous few to brave the waters of revising the End of Course exams for visual arts which started 4+ years ago and is still ongoing. She has worked with many of the stakeholders regarding the process of assessment and evaluations including the PED, fellow art educators and school administrators. She is a voice for Art Education for the students and also for the teachers to ensure there is opportunity and equitability. These many opportunities have taught Heather how to be an active member of the Arts Education community in Rio Rancho and now she looks forward to advocating for the arts in New Mexico as the NMAEA Advocacy Chair.
After a BA in Music at Lawrence University in Wisconsin, Steve Heil received his Post-bacc in Art Education at the University of New Mexico. He has been teaching in New Mexico since 1997 and is National Board Certified in the area of Early/Middle Childhood Art. He taught art at all levels in various settings in McKinley County, from Zuni to Crownpoint, public and private school. As the PreK-5 art teacher in Gallup, Steve’s colleagues, students, and their families championed his recognition as a 2010 recipient of the Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence. Since 2012 he has been developing the talents of diverse gifted students, first in McKinley County and now with Santa Fe Public Schools. Steve is interested in maximizing student inquiry to meet all students’ needs and helping his students grow as creative and critical thinkers with the practical skills to get things done. Special interests include Teaching and Assessing Studio Thinking, Visual Art as Research, Teaching for Artistic Behavior, and meeting the needs of High Ability Visual Artists from groups that are typically underrepresented in specialized art programming. As Membership Chair, Steve is helping to maintain and grow the membership to include more New Mexico art educators in every setting, from studios to museums, from preschools to graduate schools and from community centers to maker spaces.
Shannon Bay, Communications Chair
Britt Williams is a Level III art teacher and has taught at Aspen Elementary in Los Alamos, NM for the past 6 years. Originally from Georgia, Britt attended Mississippi State University and received a BA in Landscape Architecture. After working a few years in the field, she sought a different path and attended Colorado State University to receive her MA in Education, with an emphasis in art, specifically sculpture. She became a certified K-12 art teacher and moved to New Mexico for her first teaching job, in which she continues to work today.Click here to Contact Britt
Dr. Justin Makemson moved to New Mexico from Tennessee where he was the art education program coordinator and an associate professor of art at Belmont University. Prior to this tenure in higher education, Makemson taught 15 years in community art programs and the public schools of Missouri and Indiana.
Makemson received his PhD in Curriculum and Instruction Art Education from Indiana University in 2014. His research interests include student-artist identities, place-based technologies, material studies, and neuroaesthetics. Makemson was recognized as TAEA Middle Region Art Educator of the Year in 2016 and TAEA Student Chapter Sponsor of the Year in 2015.
In terms of creative experience, Makemson trained in printmaking and oil painting as an undergraduate but through teaching discovered a passion for numerous other creative outlets– Branding, toy design, and game design dominate Makemson's recent creative initiatives.Email link needed
Belinda Hardin is originally from Santa Fe and graduated from Santa Fe High School. After high school, she graduated from NMSU and later did her graduate work at ENMU. She is a 28 year employee of the Lovington Municipal Schools, having taught gifted & talented, 2nd grade through 7th grade, before becoming the Elementary Fine Arts Coordinator for the District in 2003.
As Coordinator, she has begun several new programs for the arts to be visible within the community. Some of these include the “Celebrate the Arts” night at the annual art fair and the “Artist Signing” where the students sign their artwork for the annual calendar sales. One can see framed student art work all around the district as well as at the local hospital, public library, museum, courthouse and student health clinic. She is an advocate for the fine arts and was instrumental in developing the “Wildcat Singers”, an elementary honor choir and the “Wildcat Ringers”, an elementary bell choir. Belinda has enjoyed mentoring classroom teachers who struggle with integrating the arts.
She has created an Art Resource Center for teachers, filled with art resources, art examples, musicals, costumes, and art supplies. Students look forward to attending her Art Camp each summer, where they get to experience all the disciplines of the arts.
Belinda is a member of the New Mexico Advisory Council on Arts Education, and a Board member of the Lea County Museum. She is a CASA volunteer and was awarded “Rookie of the Year” in 2015. She was also the 2014 recipient of the NMAE Association, Supervisor/Administrator of the Year Award.
She has been married for 37 years to a cowboy she met while at NMSU. They have two daughters, both of whom are doctors. The love of her life is her nine-month old granddaughter, Charlee.
Shannon Bay, Museum Education Division Representative
Vicki Breen is the Arts Consultant for the State of New Mexico Public Education Department. She coordinates the Fine Arts Education Act (FAEA), elementary fine arts programs in the 89 New Mexico Public School Districts and 36 State and Local Charter Schools. The work required includes monitoring student participant numbers and funding guidelines, updating each district and school’s application each year, on-site monitoring, technical assistance and on-site professional development. Additional work includes coordinating the FAEA Winter Meeting, performing legislative and community work across the state for New Mexico students, with programs bridging to secondary schools.
Ms. Breen is an advisor to the New Mexico Advisory Council for the Arts, a member of the Board of the New Mexico Art Education Association, and Past President of the National Association of State Directors of Art Education. Ms. Breen monitored statewide public school district instructional programs K-12, acted as EPSS (Educational Plan for Student Success) Team Leader (on accreditation site visits). She has networked with higher education, developed and disseminated informational networks and workshops among educators, business and community leaders for visual and performing arts and other content areas, and she has coordinated the New Mexico Teacher of the Year recognition. She has conducted teacher training through assessment and curriculum designs, taped and edited teaching videos to provide educational models, developed and published art, art education and student recognition documents, as well as Youth Art Month development and design. Ms. Breen holds a Master of Arts Degree in Arts Education from the University of New Mexico, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Arts and Arts Education from Eastern New Mexico University, and Administrative License from New Mexico Highlands University.