2016-2017 NMAEA Award Winners
Max Coll and Catherine Joyce Coll Award of Distinction for Art Education
Michelle Lemons has worked for APS for 19 years, teaching middle school for 4 years and elementary for 15 years. She has a BA in Art and Design from ISU, a MA in Art Education with Licensure from UNM, and she holds a certificate in Educational Leadership from NMHU. She has mentored many new and pre-service art teachers while providing high-quality art instruction to 100s of students over many years. She is a Past President of the New Mexico Art Education Association (NMAEA), as well as a past Awards Chair, past Conference Chair and past Delegate to the national association. Currently, she is the NMAEA Advocacy Chair, and co-chair of the New Mexico Advisory Council on Art Education (NMACAE) as well as an art consultant for Davis Publications and an adjunct lecturer/ pre-service field supervisor for UNM. She has served on her district's elementary curriculum writing committee, served as a facilitator for EoC standards setting elementary level, and served on the state-level review team for the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS). She has presented workshops at both the state and national levels, and is a past Western Regional Elementary Division Director for NAEA. She has received the NM Elementary Division Award, the NM Art Educator of the Year Award, the Western Regional Elementary Division Educator Award, and the National Elementary Division Educator Award. Michelle strives to provide assistance to all in her professional and personal circle, and has set a standard of professional best practices through her advocacy for, and commitment to, art education throughout her career.
Elementary Art Educator of the Year
Renee Mitsunaga is originally from the state of Hawaii. Her experiences with many cultures and diverse backgrounds have enhanced her teaching. Renee’s parents, both educators, and the teachers she worked with for ten years as an Instructional Aide, helped her gain an admiration for the profession and inspired her to pursue her certification to teach. She completed the University of New Mexico/Santa Fe Public Schools Teacher Education and Mentoring Program in 2001, and taught at Tesuque Elementary for ten years. In 2010, Renee taught 3rd grade for two years in Los Alamos before taking the Art position at Chamisa Elementary. Having been a classroom teacher for 12 years, she is able to integrate descriptive language, mathematical concepts, and multicultural studies. Renee leads the art team at Los Alamos Public Schools. She researches and networks with other districts to obtain and share information about innovative resources and opportunities. Renee strives to create a collaborative community at her school by bringing her staff together for art-making activities to inspire or spark an idea for integration, team building, or to engage in a service project. Renee looks for opportunities to connect to core subject areas through integrated projects with students. She is passionate in demonstrating the rigor and excellence the arts contribute to students and community. For the past five years, she collaborates with colleagues to implement the annual Multicultural Fair: “Around the World in White Rock”. Renee’s first Recycle Art Fair in 2015 inspired a partnership with Los Alamos County resulting in the “Recycled Fashion Show”, featuring kindergarten through the 12th grade students, staff, district, and community.
Higher Education Art Educator of the Year
Laurel Lampela is a Professor of Art Education in the Department of Art at the University of New Mexico. She has been teaching at the university level for over 25 years. Prior to her tenure at UNM, she held appointments at Cleveland State University in Ohio and Marshall University in West Virginia. She also taught art at the elementary and high school levels in Springfield, Ohio and Madison, Wisconsin. She earned a PhD in Art Education from The Ohio State University, a M.Ed. in Art Education from Wright State University and a B.S. in Art Education from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She is the author and co-editor of books on LGBT issues in addition to journals writings on Studies and research in art education in an era where social justice and equality are at the forefront. She is a co-founder of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Issues Caucus of the National Art Education Association. Her creative work involves the construction of hybrid realities through digital collages and solar gravure prints. Born near the shores of Lake Superior, she spent much of her life living in the Great Lakes region before moving to the southwest 15 years ago. The western landscape is her muse and she never ceases to be fascinated by the expanse, awe, and majesty of the open space. She presents at the national level and has been an active member of NMAEA and NAEA for over a quarter of a century.
Administrator / Supervisor of the Year
Deborah Fleming, Rio Rancho Public Schools
Debbie Fleming is currently the Fine Arts Director for Rio Rancho Public Schools. She received her degree in Music Education from the University of New Mexico. She has taught music in Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico. After 17 years as a teacher, Debbie completed her Master’s Degree in Education Leadership and went into administration for RRPS. Debbie is an avid supporter of Arts Education, and is a member of the New Mexico Advisory Council on Arts Education. She enjoys working with dozens of talented and dedicated arts educators who do amazing work with students every day!
Museum Educator of the Year
Shannon Bay, Education Program Manager, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
As the Education Program Manager, Shannon Bay runs a variety of programs that touch all ages. The Art and Leadership Program, where she first worked for the Museum in 2006 as an intern, has two components, a Boys Program and a Girls Program. Each summer up to 170 middle school aged children from the Santa Fe Public Schools attend this program and leave it feeling more confident, self aware and with many new friends. This program also serves the interns with the program, of which she supervises and mentors. College interns apply from all over the country to be a part of a transformational summer. The Leadership Program also hires local high school students that were children in the program, continuing the Museum's relationship with them through their formative years. This program is a large undertaking and requires months of preparation. As the lead on it, she often reads books and articles on youth development and struggles they face in order that the program stays relevant. The O’Keeffe Art and Leadership Program continues to encourage and build strength and confidence in Santa Fe's youth. This program is unique in that it is gender based and serves middle school students. There is no record of another program like this in the museum field. In addition to the leadership program, Shannon has overseen since being hired at the Museum in February of 2007, is the program with the Boys and Girls club at Abiquiu Elementary. Twice a month she goes to the Boys and Girls Club at Abiquiu Elementary and leads an art project teaching them about modern art. A program like this requires teamwork and a passion for developing meaningful experiences for students.
Community Advocacy for Art Education
ARTsmart is a 501c3 nonprofit that was founded in 1993. ARTsmart's "I made it plate project", is a fundraising activity and event that helps fund the visiting artist program for the Santa Fe Public Schools. . This project consists of every fifth grader in the SFPS school district, approximately twelve hundred students. Of the twelve hundred placemats created, only one hundred make it to the glazing stage. Students to paint glaze on a large ceramic plate (for auction) and a salad size plate (for student). The large plate is part of a silent auction held at the ARTsmart February Dinner and Auction. The proceeds help fund the visiting artist program. The placemats are laminated and set out at the dinner for the guests to take home. The placemats have become as popular as the plates because there is never a single placemats left on the tables and all plates are always sold at the auction.
Art Educator Advocacy Award
T. J. Parks has devoted his career to education for the last 30 years. He has worked as a teacher and coach in the Tatum Schools and then went on to serve in several administrative capacities in that district, including superintendent. After 22 years in that district, he had the opportunity to serve as the superintendent in the Hobbs School District and has held that position for the last eight years.
Mr. Parks states that his goal in the great state of New Mexico is to ensure EVERY child receives the academic, physical and emotional training to be competitive worldwide. In addition to serving with CES, Mr. Parks is the immediate Past President of NM School Superintendents’ Association and was awarded the Superintendent of the Year by his peers this past year.
Retired Art Educator of the Year
Thelma Hahn taught art in Los Alamos Public Schools from 1970 to 1996. During that time Thelma served on the executive board of the National Art Education Association and was elected to serve as the National Elementary Art Director from 1987-1989. Thelma is also a Past President of the New Mexico Art Education Association (listed in the program). She also participates at many levels including the creation and donation of about twenty pottery bowls for a fundraiser in Los Alamos and participates in the Empty Bowls project in Santa Fe. Thelma is a Fulbright Scholar who studied in Japan in 1995. “It was the most wonderful experience of my life…..the people were so kind”. Thelma is an ambassador to art education for children. She and a colleague created and run an art camp that now serves over 300 students. ”Until the day I die I shall be trying to get art education for all children as I have witness what it can do in the life of children and when they grow into adults. Bless every art educator who teaches art education as it should be taught!!”
NMAEA President’s Award of Distinction
Born in Cleveland Ohio, Mary Grace is a first generation college graduate, and received her Bachelor of Fine Art’s Degree from Miami University, of Ohio. Mary lived in New York City, as a textile and freelance designer, and San Francisco as a clothing merchandiser, before making her way to the Jemez Mountains in New Mexico. Deeply impassioned by the visual arts, and wanting to make a positive difference in the lives of others, Mary received a Post-Baccalaureate Teaching License from the University of New Mexico. She has been a K-12 visual art’s instructor for 17 years. Mary is Nationally Board Certified in Art for Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood. She is presently teaching at Los Alamos High School, where she serves as Department Chair for the Fine and Performing Arts. As a dedicated life long learner, Mary is currently pursuing a Master’s program, to graduate with a Masters in Instruction and Curriculum-Visual Arts.
New Mexico Art Educator of the Year
Patti Jordan is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a BA in Graphic Design in 1987. She worked as a Graphic Designer for five years at Hickory Kist Graphics in Spanish Fork, Utah. In 1992, Patti moved to Ramah, New Mexico and started teaching at Ramah Elementary while obtaining my Early Childhood and Elementary Teaching Certificates. She taught Kindergarten and First grades at Ramah Elementary for nine years. During that time, she received the Gallup McKinley County Distinguished Teacher Award in 1996. She taught art at Ramah Elementary for ten years and in during that time she received the P. Buckley Moss Foundation for Children’s Education Award in 2007, the Wells Fargo/Golden Apple Teacher Partnership Program Grant Award in 2009, and the Airborne Art Teacher’s Grant award in 2010. During her time as an art teacher at Ramah Elementary, she developed an ongoing annual mural project where students and community work with area artists to design, paint and install nine large murals. These murals have helped unify the community and beautify the exterior of Ramah Elementary in Ramah, New Mexico.
Many of her students have entered and won award scholarships at the Annual Southwest Indian Arts Foundation Reunion of the Master’s Art show in Gallup, New Mexico. Other students entered and received awards at the annual El Morro Area Arts Council Student Art Show.
She Became a National Board Certified Elementary Art Teacher in 2012.
Currently Patti is working in Zuni, New Mexico at the new Shiwi Ts’ana Elementary School teaching K-5 Elementary Art.
Patti has spent the majority of the past 20 years teaching students that live on or near the Navajo or Zuni Indian Reservations. She has enjoyed learning about the culture, heritage, and traditions of my students. Her willingness to share her passion and knowledge of art with her students and never gets tired of watching them work through the art making process. It is exciting to see them explore, experience, and create beautiful art.