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KCAD Director of Student Engagement Nicole DeKraker Honored with MAEA Distinguished Service Award

Posted October 7, 2016 in Public

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) Director of Student Engagement Nicole DeKraker has been named the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Service Award from the Michigan Art Education Association (MAEA).

Nicole DeKrakerNicole DeKraker

DeKraker, a native Michigander, has worked at KCAD for over 12 years. As the college’s Director of Student Engagement, she collaborates with students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community organizations to nurture the educational, professional, and personal growth of KCAD students.

“I am humbled to receive an award from the MAEA. I have great respect for the work of art educators and a strong belief that the art educators in my life ignited a change in the way I viewed education and my future,” says DeKraker. “The work they do is important and I appreciate the opportunity to engage with them for the annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.”

Nicole DeKrakerDeKraker with Dean of Student Success Sandy Britton (left) and Assistant to the Director of Student Engagement Emily Renkert (right) at a fashion show held by the Bodies of Art student organization. 

A dedicated advocate of the transformative power and educational value of creativity, DeKraker has been a key player in KCAD’s longstanding relationship with the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, a national competition showcasing the nation’s brightest young talents and for which KCAD serves as a regional host.

"KCAD congratulates Nicole DeKraker on this outstanding accomplishment. The Michigan Art Education Association has recognized what we here at the college have known all along: that Nicole's passion, dedication, and determination in working to create opportunities for developing artists and designers are second to none. We are incredibly fortunate and proud to work alongside her," said KCAD Dean of Student Success Sandy Britton. 

Nicole DeKrakerDeKraker with Dean of Student Success Sandy Britton (middle) and Director of Talent Acquisition Kris Jones (far left). 

Each year, DeKraker and others from the KCAD community work to coordinate the thousands of submissions that come in from schools in West Central Michigan and organize a celebratory award ceremony in downtown Grand Rapids, building vital connections between KCAD and creative educators, both local and national, along the way.

Janine Campbell, an art educator with Byron Center Public Schools in Byron Center, MI, nominated DeKraker for the MAEA Distinguished Service Award, saying, “I have been submitting student work to [the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards] for the past nine years and have nothing but positive experiences to share, as Nicole has fostered positive experiences for both my students and myself. She is a true professional through her communication of deadlines, requirements, and opportunities surrounding this competition, and is an advocate for student success as she organizes adjudication, display, and the promotion of work as it moves to the National level. Nicole has always been patient and caring in her approach to my questions and concerns. This event is a huge undertaking with over 90 schools participating and thousands of entries to juror. I am so appreciative of the time taken to do this for our students so they may join past winning alumni like Andy Warhol, Richard Avedon, and many more.”

To learn more about KCAD’s involvement with the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, click here.