A recent School of the Arts alumna from the Visual Art Education program is one of 32 recipients of the 2015 Kansas Horizon Award, which recognizes exemplary first-year educators. Taylor Newman is a first-year teacher at Prairie Ridge Elementary School in DeSoto.
“I am beyond honored to receive the Kansas Horizon Award. I am so fortunate to be pursuing my life's calling, teaching kids about the endless possibilities of a creative mind,” Newman said.” At KU, I learned to be diligent, conscientious and thoughtful about every aspect of instruction. It was these attributes that were recognized by my colleagues who originally nominated me for the award.”
The Kansas Horizon Award program, which is sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education, allows all school districts in the state an opportunity to nominate one elementary and one secondary teacher for the award. To be eligible for the award, teachers must have successfully completed their first year of teaching and have performed in such a way as to distinguish themselves as outstanding.
“KU Visual Art Education students are immersed in what it means to teach from the time they first enter KU’s art education methods classes,” said Denise Stone, associate professor of visual art. “Through class discussions, field experiences, and teaching activities, the students are very prepared by the time they enter their student teaching. Consequently, as first year teachers, they quickly overcome the challenges of the classroom and realize success.”
The award program is a regional competition with four regions corresponding to the state’s U.S. Congressional districts. Four elementary and four secondary classroom teachers may be selected for the award from each region.
Drawing on current research in the field, the Visual Art Education program prepares art teachers with strong conceptual and practical skills that lead to success as educators and leaders. The Visual Art Education program collaborates with the School of Education to provide classroom and teaching experiences in area schools and community settings.
The Department of Visual Art is one of four departments in the School of the Arts. As part of the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of the Arts offers fresh possibilities for collaboration between the arts and the humanities, sciences, social sciences, international and interdisciplinary studies.