The Alaska Arts Education Consortium Announces 2014 “Champions of Arts in Education”

The Alaska Arts Education Consortium (AAEC) Champions of Arts in Education Award was created as a way to formally recognize and honor individuals or organizations from around the State of Alaska who “champion” the arts in education. The AAEC board of trustees considers this award to be a celebratory action, aimed at highlighting the positive impact of the arts on the lives of our children and youth. The efforts of these “champions” in teaching and supporting arts across the curriculum reflects the mission of AAEC, which is “to promote learning in and through the arts for all Alaska students.”

AAEC believes that Champions of Arts in Education carry the torch for arts education through high-caliber instruction, arts support, and ongoing arts promotion. Besides being a wonderful, fun experience for students, the lasting impacts on these kids include becoming more effective communicators and responsible, contributing citizens. AAEC is an affiliation of school districts, diverse organizations, and dedicated individuals committed to preparing and supporting Alaska’s educators so that they can teach the arts across the curriculum.

This year there are three Champions of the Arts in Education: Nancy Douglas from Sitka represents Southeast, Heidi Wright of Fairbanks represents the Interior region, and Charlotte Fox, from Anchorage, will—for the first time—represent the entire state of Alaska. All three, through their teaching and support of the arts, have creatively expanded the lives of students and teachers have contributed to the vitality of their communities, and the State of Alaska.

Nancy Douglas is a Tlingit culture bearer and a natural leader. She has been a teacher working with students, families and within communities since 1986. Nancy always integrates traditional ways of life into her work and shares her belief in education and love for the culture with students and educators throughout the region and Alaska. She has been recognized for her impact on curriculum, language and literacy throughout Southeast Alaska and beyond. She continues to work to provide context to the content standards and embed habits of mind regarding the value of collaboration, creativity, and community in our lives. The value of education is something Nancy shares with all she comes in contact with, and her love for the culture and children has guided her to her lifetime of teaching.

Heidi Wright has been a long time employee of Yukon Koyukuk School District, and through her many roles has inspired students and colleagues alike. Over the last 25+ years, she has served as a teacher’s aide, K-12 principal/teacher, and most currently Raven Correspondence School advisory & special education teacher. No matter her position, she has always gone above and beyond to use the arts to teach her students. Her activities and projects ensure that every student receive an enriching learning experience at school. She gives freely of her time and encourages others to broaden the definition of education to include creativity and the arts. She cares for each one of her students and finds extraordinary ways to keep them engaged and excited about learning.

Charlotte Fox has, in a variety of roles, made a remarkable, lasting imprint on arts education in Alaska over the past 25 years. As the Executive Director of the Alaska State Council on the Arts, she professed and sustained the belief that “one day there were would be ARTS in every SCHOOL for every STUDENT every DAY in Alaska’. Throughout her tenure at ASCA, Charlotte worked toward this goal by simultaneously and successfully supporting arts agencies, artists, and arts organizations along with schools and districts. She assembled a committed, knowledgeable staff and core group of partners and supporters who continue to work to increase arts education across Alaska in a myriad of ways.

Charlotte Fox demonstrated over and over an abiding commitment to furthering and enriching arts experiences for all students and a willingness to take action to actualize her vision. It was through her dedication and leadership that in 2002, ten arts education leaders were brought together to create a vision which resulted in the formation of the Alaska Arts Education Consortium. After 11 years at the helm of ASCA, Charlotte retired, but continues to work for the arts and arts education every day. Her energy, optimism and forward thinking will long impact Alaska. Charlotte Fox deserves our heartfelt gratitude for being a true Champion on behalf of all Alaskan schools, all students, all teachers and all the arts – all the time.

The Board of the Alaska Arts Education Consortium salutes these Champions as well as the three member districts – Sitka, Yukon-Koyukuk, and Anchorage – that recognize the importance of arts in education, and acknowledge the valuable roles their staff play by nominating them for this honor as Champions of the Arts in Education.