Three Lesley educators have been named Educator of the Year, in separate categories, by the Massachusetts Art Educators Association (MAEA).
The MAEA, an organization that advances visual arts education and empowers teachers throughout the state, announced the awards at the annual conference held at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst on Nov. 11 and 12.
We spoke with the awardees – Associate Professor Vivian Poey and Lesley alumnae Tobey Eugenio and Simone Kivett – to learn about their work as teachers and as arts advocates in the classroom and out in the community.
Tobey Eugenio ’01, M.Ed., Integrated Teaching through the Arts
Middle Level Art Educator of the Year Award
Tobey Eugenio is the creative/visual arts and STEAM Lab instructor at Our Sisters’ School in New Bedford, Massachusetts, an independent school for economically disadvantaged young women, which is “an awesome place to teach,” she says.
In the past two years, she has developed an arts program that includes “choice, integration of technology, and best practice, and is vetted in strong social and emotional learning.” She also spearheaded the implementation of a new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Lab and outdoor learning/makerspace.
“I have devoted my career to the pursuit of best practice and advocacy for the arts,” she says. “I have positioned myself over the past 23 years as a learner and teacher-leader, taking an active part in a variety of professional organizations as a member, presenter, coach, keynote speaker, committee chair, conference planner, writer and learner.”
Eugenio’s leadership includes providing professional development at schools, conferences and museums; developing partnerships with education constituencies to mentor teachers; creating curriculum; traveling the country to inspire others to embrace their creative minds; volunteering to teach young artists; designing art-centered learning spaces; and serving as an active arts advocate.
“It is truly a humbling experience to be recognized for the important work I do on behalf of the arts, and even more humbling to document my journey,” she reflects. “It has been an honor and privilege.”
Simone Kivett ’10, M.Ed., Teacher of Visual Art
Elementary Art Educator of the Year Award
Simone Kivett is a district elementary art teacher in the Lynn, Massachusetts, public schools, teaching almost 700 students.
She says her teaching “focuses on developing multicultural art awareness, creativity and craftsmanship in a variety of mediums as well as problem solving using interdisciplinary lessons.”
She adds, “Fostering self-confidence, pride and a positive attitude about their accomplishments is a major focus.”
As an example of a project, Kivett says she has her fourth grade students analyze works of art to enhance their observation skills, discussing the artists’ strategies and intentions. Her students have also won numerous local, state and national art contests, including first place in the Lynn Fire Department Fire Safety Contest, where the winning student’s art was displayed on a billboard to educate the community about the value of smoke alarms.
Kivett volunteers at The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston in the family art programs, and participates in the North Shore Art Teachers community event and local and national art conferences.
“Receiving this award was an unexpected surprise and made me feel appreciated,” says Kivett. “Being recognized by the state was an acknowledgement of my dedication to teaching art for the past seven years.”
Vivian Poey, associate professor in Lesley’s Creative Arts programs
Higher Education Art Educator of the Year Award
Vivian Poey’s teaching philosophy “is based on art as the basis for investigating, transforming and communicating. It involves taking into account learning expectations and creating a path for an art inquiry process while asking a lot of questions and providing a wide range of resources and examples. It is a creative interdisciplinary process that combines what students know and care about with the challenge of looking beyond what they know, finding gaps and points of friction, asking questions and making visible their ideas in ways that can impact their lives and communities.”
Poey also challenges students to broaden their artistic knowledge, to discover why they have never learned about certain artists or events.
“As students develop their curricular ideas, they need to think about whose voice and experience is included and why, and to make sure that the artists they share with students come from various backgrounds and include a wide range of experience.”
About the award, Poey says, “I am honored and humbled by this award. Receiving it has made me look back and reflect on my work and reminds me that art is voice and that teaching art is a way to connect and advocate with students and communities through another way of speaking.”