2015-2016 NMAEA Award Winner
Max Coll and Catherine Joyce Coll Award for Distinction in Art Education
J. Paul Taylor, Las Cruces NM
One of New Mexico's most distinguished citizens, J. Paul Taylor, has spent his life as a legislator, educator, community leader, and arts patron. J. Paul Taylor was born to a pioneering New Mexico family. His mother, Margarita Romero Y Lopez was born in 1881 in Romeroville, New Mexico to wealthy traders and merchants on the Santa Fe Trail who were instrumental in the development of Las Vegas as a commercial center. Along with her husband, Robert Taylor, they settled in Mesilla Valley near Las Cruces, where in 1945 J. Paul Taylor and his bride Mary Daniels set up home. In 1947 the young couple reloacted to Mesilla where J. Paul Taylor began his thirty-nine year career in education. He was first elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives in 1986, a position he held until his retirement in 2004. In 1953 Rep. Taylor and his wife purchased the historic Barelas-Reynolds property on the plaza in Old Mesilla, two miles from Las Cruces. The Taylor's home today is one of the great architectural and historically significant properties in southern New Mexico, filled with a world-class collection of art from New Mexico, the Southwest, North and South America, Mexico, and Europe. On the National Register of Historic Properties, which was dedicated as a New Mexico State Monument in 2004. Ana Pacheco extensively interviewed Taylor and maMiny if his family members while writing the story of Taylor's remarkable life in New Mexico. The book is illustrated with historical and family photographs as well as contemporary photographs of the Taylor Monument and art collections.
Elementary Art Educator of the Year/NM Art Educator of the Year
Albuquerque Public Schools, Albuquerque, NM
Michelle Lemons is originally from Iowa but has been in New Mexico long enough to considered a local. Michelle has been an elementary art teacher with the APS Fine Arts Program for fourteen years. In addition to teaching, Michelle also volunteers for committees, provides hands-on workshops and professional development for teachers during conferences throughout the school year and in the summer. She is the Past President on the New Mexico Art Education Association and has been part of the changes and growth of the association. Her skills and experience have been essential during the spurt growth the association has experienced. Michelle is always searching for ways to improve her teaching and professional skills by attending conferences at the state and national level and presenting new and innovative lessons and activities. Michelle strives to provide assistance to all in her professional and personal circle.
High School Art Educator of the Year
Central High School, Central, NM
Working in the remote district of Central Schools and being isolated from the community of art education professionals. She has shown determination to become apart of the art education community in New Mexico. She has connected with other art teachers around the state to share ideas and best practices. Shirley is always going out of her way to find avenues of achievement for her students. Shirley's students are consistently winning awards in local and state competitions, such as the NM Scholastic Art Awards and the Congressional Art Competition. SHirley is a contributing and active member of the NMAEA, regularly attending the state conference and is a working artist where she strives to develop her own artistic skills so that they may inform her teaching and benefit the education of her students.
Higher Education Art Educator of the Year
Mesalands Community College, Tucumcari NM
D'Jean Jawrunner is the foundry director and art professor for Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari, New Mexico. Her passion for sculpture and foundry are evident with the annual iron pour workshop, with an average of 5000lbs of metal poured over the weekend for the workshop.
D'Jean Jawrunner's career as an artist includes sculpture created in range of materials, techniques, printmaking, and metalsmithing. Jawrunner has exhibited both nationally and internationally besides Edgar Degas, Kiki Smith, and Andy Warhol. She also participates in several sculpture symposiums and workshops involving the pouring of bronze and iron. She has commissioned works that are in parts of New Mexico, Ohio, and England.
Administrator of the Year
Cindy Simmons- Roswell Independent School District;
Creative Learning Center Director, Roswell NM
Cindy grew up in a family of teachers, her father was a coach and principal and her mother was a first grade teacher. She was raised in Roswell, New Mexico and started singing and performing for anyone that would be an audience. She sang in middle school, high school, and college. She graduated with a double major in Music and Early High School Education from Eastern New Mexico University and was awarded with a full Vocal Music scholarship. She later received a MA in Elementary Education with Administration from ENMU.
Over the last thirty-four years in education, she has been privileged to teach every grade from K-12, including gifted education. She also spent six years as a testing facilitator, guidance counselor, Next-Step Plan advisor at Roswell High School where she ewas given the opportunity to sponsor Science Olympiad, MESA (Mathematics, Engineering Science Achievement), coaching teams to build musical instruments, debate teams, etc.
After leaving Roswell high school she was finally given the dream job at the Creative Learning Center as the Director of the Arts Connect Program/RISD Elementary Arts Program and except for one year as an elementary principal and one year to take care of an elderly family member she has been blessed to be since 2009.
Museum Educator of the Year
Museum of International Folk Art Santa Fe NM
Patricia Sigala, a Denver native, was hired as the Outreach Educator at the Museum of International Folk Art in 2000 and continues in this capacity reaching audiences of all ages, abilities, ethnic backgrounds, and motivations. Her students refer to her fondly as "the folk art lady." Prior to that, she held positions at the Director of Education at the Museo de Las Americas in Denver and Cultural Art Educator, Gallery Interpreter, Community Volunteer Assistant with the Denver Art Museum. She holds a Bachelor's of Arts in Non-Profit Community Service Administration from Metropolitan State University, a Master's degree in Curriculum & Instruction form the University of Colorado at Denver. In addition, she has served on the Board of Director's at Santa Fe's Monte del Sol Charter School and Mayor's Child Care Advisory Committee in Denver. For most of her adult life, she has been active as a Danzante in Mexika-Aztec traditional dance and more recently she added yoga to her life repertoire. Her mantra, "May the beauty we love, be what we do," affirms her passion and devotion to art education and the wonderful limitless possibilities that unfold as a result.
Art Educator Advocacy Award
UNM Art Museum, Albuquerque NM
Sara Otto-Diniz (Ph.D, UNM, Education; MA, University of Texas at Austin, Art History; BA, Wilson College, Religious Studies) served as curator of Academic Initiatives at the UNM Art Museum from 2003-20014 and Interim Director from 2012-2013. In 1985, she founded Art in The Schools, Inc. and served as creative/executive director until 2005, in order to solve a gap in elementary art education in Albuquerque. Prior to the passing of the Federal Art Education Act, only 6 art specialists served eighty-nine APS elementary schools and students received art instruction on a 13 year cycle.
During her thirty year career, she created integrated and thematic art education curricula (K-12) for Art in The School, Inc., the UNM Art Museum, and School Zone Institute; conducted professional development workshops for more than 8, 000 volunteers and 3, 000 teachers in Albuquerquw, Clovis, Santa Fe, Taos, and Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico. As well as Tokyo and Sendai, Japan, she led meaningful learning experiences for more than 10, 000 students (K-16) around works of art at the UNM Art Museum; curated and co-curated 7 museum exhibitions for K-12 students. She has published more than a dozen museums catalogs and gallery guides for children. She continues to teach a seminar on Museum Interpretation at UNM and is a member of the National Art Education Association, New Mexico Art Education Association, New Mexico Alliance for Art Education, New Mexico Art Advisory Council for ArtsEducation, and the American Alliance of Museums. To fund this work, she received grants totaling over $600,000 from the Albuquerque Community Foundation, Urban Enhancement Trust Fund, New Mexico Arts, McCune Charitable Foundation, Honeywell Defense, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For these efforts she received awards from the Albuquerque Arts Alliance, Getty Center for Education in the Arts, New Mexico Art Education Association, NM Governor's Award, UNM College of Fine Arts, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and Met Life Foundation.
Community Advocacy Award
Ron Whitmore and Artisan Santa Fe/Albuquerque
Ron Whitmore has been a part of Artisan Santa Fe since 1988, when he became a business partner and owner. Artisan has been the premier art store in the Santa Fe area for over 40 years. Most recently, Artisan has been sponsoring an event for art teachers at the Santa Fe and Albuquerque stores for the past ten years. Art Educator Appreciation Night is where vendors and their and their representatives participate by bringing samples of materials for art educators to sample. It became a way to provide direct feedback to the manufacturers about materials and meet other educators in the area. Artisan also sponsors a Budding Artist Program for students. It provides art materials and stipends to deserving and nominated art students, to help them with buying the materials they need to succeed in their art.
President’s Award of Distinction
Born and raised in Sarasota, Florida, Laura Wacha's formative years were steeped in the spectacle that is Florida culture. From retired circus performers and aging munchkins, to wealthy blue haired dowagers with their dyed-to-match poodles. The young artist found many characters worthy of note and saw in John Ringling's marvelous collection of theatrical masterpieces, how art could both amaze and amuse.
In third grade, Laura began attending a unique new school created solely for gifted students from which she graduated in 1979. Pine View School is still open and ranks in the top ten of U.S. Public high schools. Her art teacher for all those years became an immense influence. Laura patterns her teaching style on the formidable Ms. Gaskins alma mater, Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
Laura began teaching art in the Belen Consolidated School District in 2008, eventually earning her license through the OPAL program. She currently teaches K-3 aat H.T. Jaramillo Community School and aspires to instill in her students, a passion for creative problem solving. Her paintings, papier mache, and ceramics can be seen at Matrix Fine Art in Albuquerque and on her website www.LauraWacha.com. She has also written two science fiction novels for young adults and has recently been recognized as a local treasure by the Albuquerque Art Business Association.