News Bites: Alum Named Year’s Top Art Educator by Michigan Art Education Association
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) alumna Sharon Stratton (‘07, BFA Art Education) has been named the Michigan Art Education Association (MAEA) Art Educator of the Year and Secondary Art Educator of the Year for 2016.
Sharon Stratton (credit: Evermore Studios Photography)
Stratton teaches at Fennville High School in Fennville, MI, where she is the only art teacher. Now in her tenth year of teaching high school art, she says her job entails much more than showing students how to draw or paint.
“There are times where you feel like you’re teaching them art, but we talk about bigger things than that,” she says. “You’re talking to them about relationships, what they’re going to do when they grow up. It’s not what I’m necessarily hired to do, but it’s part of the job.”
Stratton is always on the lookout for opportunities to take learning experiences beyond the classroom. She takes her students to ArtPrize each year and conducts workshops on fire pit ceramics as a way to expand her students’ perspective and their ideas of what is possible.
“I’ve had students in special education who struggle with reading, and others who are on the autism spectrum and have a hard time communicating with people, but they are very skilled at art.,” says Stratton. “It’s cool because you see their classmates admiring them. That blows my hair back.”
In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Stratton runs an after-school art club and leads a school chapter of the National Arts Honor Society. She’s also been highly active as a volunteer for the MAEA, holding positions as a regional liaison, a Recording Secretary for the MAEA Executive Council, and a Conference Co-Chair for the 2015 MAEA annual conference held in Grand Rapids.
Learn more about KCAD’s Art Education program at kcad.edu/arteducation.