The annual AAEC Champions of Arts in Education Award honors individuals and organizations from around the state, whose efforts in teaching and supporting the arts across the curriculum ensure that all of Alaska’s students learn in and through the arts.
This year’s honorees are:
- Clare Scott, Arts Student
- Linnus Danner, Arts Educator
- Sharon Clavette, Arts Advocate
- Angie Chervenak, Arts Leader
Clare Scott, 2019 Arts Student, Juneau School District
Impact Statement: I had the pleasure of having Claire as a student several years ago. As a sophomore in high school, Claire published her first graphic novel, Meow Cats United (a project that was several years in the making). Now a sophomore, she is currently working on a new book. In addition to her incredible artwork, Claire contributes to both the arts and the youth in our Juneau Community (see below for greater detail.). She has attended numerous arts-related workshops and has been involved with our local “comic con,” put on by Alaska Robotics.
Example Impact: For the past few years, Claire has volunteered her time to give back to her community. Specifically, she has made an effort to return to her elementary alma mater, to share her work with students–inspiring future writers & artists. Claire has spent several days with my students, sharing her work & mini-lessons on drawing. I have been incredibly impressed with Claire’s professionalism and level of knowledge, when it comes to sharing her art with others. I look forward to her visits each year!
Nominated by Rebecca Watts, Teacher at Sayeik: Gastineau Community School
Linnus Danner, 2019 Arts Educator
Haines Borough School District
Impact Statement: Linnus Danner has become an icon in our community due to her commitment to the Haines Borough School District’s art program. For over 35 years, Linnus has dedicated her career to teaching art to all ages in the Haines Borough. From kindergarten to AP Art, she has had every level of learner; students walk out of her classroom stronger artists and deeper thinkers. Ms. Danner’s curriculum starts in the kindergarten and progresses and builds on prior skill sets all the way through to the high school classes. She has held firm in her high standards and expectations from students because she knows what is possible for these developing brains. The long-term impact of Linnus’ tutelage can be seen throughout our community as many of her protégés have returned home to be active parts of the artistic community that is Haines.
Example Impact: There are two very specific reasons that I believe Linnus Danner should be considered a Champion of Art Education: advocacy and dedication. Ms. Danner is one of the strongest advocates for art education that I have ever met. Many schools have had to cut or reduce art instruction despite the numerous benefits to developing brains. Linnus always make sure that all K-6 classes have art instruction twice a week, and that the middle school and high school always have the opportunity for elective classes with her. She fights for the appropriate length of time for every grade level, works with the classroom teachers to reach the struggling students, and makes sure that every grade level has that “special” project so students stay engaged and look forward to the next year (ceramic pinch pots – always exciting!).
Nominated by Rene Martin, Principal of Haines Borough School District
Sharon Clavette, Arts Advocate
Dillingham City School District
For the past six years, Sharon Clavette, a second grade teacher at Dillingham Elementary School, has developed, led, and provided professional development to implement an elementary-school art program. According to Nick Schollmeier, Principal of Dillingham Elementary School, “Sharon dedicates her own time to fellow teachers throughout the months, opening up her schedule to be available to classes during her prep time to support, co-teach, or instruct the grade appropriate art lessons to the teacher’s class. She has worked tirelessly with parents, administration, and the school board to see how important and valuable an art program is to our students, teachers, schools, and community. This year, she volunteered to teach a zero period art class at the middle school/high school…. The dedication these students showed the staff, administration, school board, and community brought to light the importance in bringing back an art program through a dedicated position for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year. Shannon’s passion and dedication to the arts are helping to preserve and bring back art to Dillingham City Schools.”
Mr. Schollmeier cites the impact of monthly art assemblies organized by Ms. Clavette. Each assembly highlights a different artist and genre, and is followed with classroom instruction from art boxes and lessons designed by Ms. Clavette. She also leads an after school robotics program, organizes an annual student art walk, and leads an after school theatre club which puts on an annual musical for the community in the spring. Schollmeier says, “Our students have a better appreciation for art. Our hallways are brighter. Our teachers are more knowledgeable. All because Sharon has a passion for art that she wants to share with everyone.”
Angie Chervenak, 2019 Arts Leader
Kodiak Island Borough School District
Over the past 8 years, Angie Chervenak, Principal at Main Elementary School, has infused the arts into daily instruction. Ms. Chervenak encourages the integration of the arts with other content areas, and is committed to supporting teachers’ competence and confidence in the arts through on-going professional development opportunities. According to Beth Cole, Director of Human Resources in the Kodiak Island Borough School District, Ms. Chervenak “is a source of creative ideas and inspiration. She believes in the power of the arts and truly believes the arts have no socio-economic or language boundaries. She is committed to incorporating the arts into her daily interactions with her teachers and students.”
Ms. Cole cites the impact of Ms. Chervenak’s leadership with the Munartet Project, a partnership among the Kodiak Island Borough School District, Alutiiq Museum, Kodiak Arts Council, Kodiak College, and the Alaska State Council on the Arts. The Munartet Project supports teaching in and through the arts and cultures in Kodiak. “Ms. Chervenak remains to be the leader of the arts in our community. She proudly serves as a teacher, administrator, leader, advocate, mentor, and supporter of the arts.”
Congratulations to the 2019 Champions!
Thank you to everyone who submitted names and stories as potential Champions. The amazing efforts in arts education that are occurring throughout our state are inspiring!