New Mexico Art Education Association Council

Executive Officers 

Elected positions

Michelle Lemons, President
Retired Art Educator

Michelle Lemons (she/her) has been an art teacher for 20 years, and a Mentor Coordinator for 5 years, building support for new teachers. She is a previous president of NMAEA serving 6 years in rotation as elect, president, and past president, during which time she helped establish the 501c3 status with NAEA, funding from the NM Arts Grant, and co-established the NMAEA Professional Awards, NM Scholastic Awards, and YAM Awards. She continued to serve another 5 years as Awards Chair and/or Advocacy Chair. She has served as NAEA Western Region Elementary Director for two terms, as well as the Elementary Division Director for NAEA. She has received the NMAEA Max and Catherine Coll Award, as well as the NAEA Elementary Division Award. She has served on the NM Advisory Council for Arts Education for 12 years. She has a degree in Art and Design from Iowa State, Master in Ed from UNM, and her administrator’s license, with additional marketing and business experience. She has been a member of NMAEA/NAEA since 2008. She is a tireless advocate for art education.

Contact Michelle at president

OPEN POSITION, President Elect

Please reach out to one of our executive officers if interested in this position.


Justin Makemson (he/him), Current Past-President

University of New Mexico, Assistant Professor of Art Education

Dr. Justin Makemson is program coordinator and an associate professor of visual art education at the University of New Mexico. Makemson also works as a museum educator in Santa Fe. He has 26+ years experience working in visual art education as teacher, artist, researcher, and advocate.

Contact Justin at pastpresident

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Elisabeth “Lisa” Gillett (she/her), Secretary

Secondary Art Educator, Jewelry Instructor, Albuquerque Public Schools


Lisa grew up in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. After graduation in 1994 from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, with a BA in Art History, she moved to New Mexico. In 1999, she received a Masters in Art Education from the University of New Mexico. She has been teaching art in the Albuquerque public school system for twenty-two years. Presently, she teaches Jewelry at Albuquerque High School. She lives in Albuquerque with her daughter Izzy, dog Luna, and two cats, Star and Nova. Eddie, her partner, lives nearby. For Lisa, the visual art electives provide a place for students where they are nurtured & encouraged in a caring educational environment. Author and art educator Joan Erikson once said, “So attuned are our physical senses to the arts that through the ages human beings have stressed an ultimate form of expression unique to each sense: music and poetry became the arts of the ear; the visual arts the aesthetic media of the eye, sculpture and ceramics the arts of touch; dance the experience of motion motivated by the pure enjoyment of the body.” The senses are nourished, expressed, and vitalized by involvement in the arts. The jewelry classroom is a space that supports rich sensory experiences. Lisa strives to create a safe and curious space for her students; filled with joy, play, acceptance and intention. Lisa loves making collages; analog and digital. She also enjoys writing. 

Contact Lisa at

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Corey Pickett (he/him), Divisions Director
 Assistant Principal, Clovis High School

Corey Pickett was born and raised in Brunswick, Georgia. He moved to New Mexico in 1995 as a member of the United States Air Force. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Eastern New Mexico University as well as a Master of Secondary Education in 2009. He received his Master of Fine Art from Vermont College of Fine Art in 2017. Corey has been teaching for Clovis Municipal Schools for over twenty two years. He has taught in the Special Education, Gifted and Talented as well as Art. He has been an art instructor ranging from Kindergarten to College. Corey enjoys sharing his passion for the arts with children and being an advocate for the arts throughout New Mexico. 

Contact Corey at


Liz Olive (she/her), Membership Director
Art Educator, V. Sue Cleveland High School

Liz Olive has lived in New Mexico since 2004. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from UNM in 2012, and a Masters of Art in Art Education in 2017. She began her teaching career at V. Sue Cleveland High School in 2015, and is still there, teaching several different art classes. Liz lives in Albuquerque, has three cats, and an excellent internet connection.

Contact Liz at


Advisory Council 

Appointed non-voting positions

OPEN POSITION, Conference Chair

Please reach out to one of our executive officers if interested in this position.


Nikki Turman, Scholastics Co-Chair

Albuquerque Public Schools, High School Art Teacher

Nikki Turman is an Albuquerque native and holds a B.A.F.A. in Art History and a M.A. in Art Education, both from the University of New Mexico. She has been teaching at Del Norte high school since 2009 and teaches Art I, Painting and Drawing, and the AP Art program and sponsors the DNHS Chapter of the National Art Honor Society. She is the former Membership Chair and continues to raise our secondary teacher membership and bring awareness of the NMAEA throughout the state. Together, with her co-chair Joseph Baca, she committed to bringing the Scholastic Art Awards to the State of New Mexico, and showcasing our students’ work at a National level. 

Contact Nikki at scholastics @

Nikki Turman, Co-Scholastics Chair

Joseph Baca, Scholastics Co-Chair

Albuquerque Public Schools, Middle School Art Teacher

Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Joseph Paul Baca received his Bachelors of Art in Fine Arts with Honors and Master of Arts in Art Education from the University of New Mexico and has been teaching art in public schools for the past eight years. He is a current member of the NMAEA council and a co-chair of the New Mexico Scholastic Art Awards, one of the only state-wide art competitions that highlights the best student artwork from 7th-12th grade. Joseph is also a recent addition to the adjunct faculty of the Art Education Program at the University of New Mexico.

Contact Joseph at scholastics @


Michele Platis (she/her), Advocacy/Resource Development Chair

Rio Grande Academy of Fine Arts, Co-Director

Michele Platis is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Rio Grande Academy of Fine Arts Charter school. She has a BFA from Alfred University (1993) in NY and a Master’s of Education from Wayland Baptist (2010). Michele began teaching in 2007 at an NM charter school in the general education classroom and was offered her dream job as the Visual Arts teacher and Fine Arts Director in 2013. She taught K-8 and loved her diverse groups of students. In 2015 Michele piloted the Model Cornerstone Assessments for the National Arts Standards. She helped in editing the Visual Arts EoCs and worked briefly with the NM PED on creating performance-based assessments for NM. Michele has also participated as an FAEA reviewer. She was Middle School Assistant Principal at another charter school for two years. Prior to becoming a certified teacher, Michele taught visual arts in her home to home-schooled children (and her own three children) for ten years and was the preschool educator at the Albuquerque Children’s Museum. In 2016-2017 Michele also served as NMAEA Secretary. She believes deeply that in order to close the opportunity gap, all students must have access to the arts. Through NMAEA Michele has grown as an educator and a leader and strongly encourages others to join the association and get involved.

Contact Michele at


OPEN POSITION, Communications Chairperson

Please reach out to one of our executive officers if interested in this position.


OPEN POSITION, Professional Awards Chairperson

Please reach out to one of our executive officers if interested in this position.


Tricia Griffin, Youth Art Month (YAM) Chairperson

Contact Tricia at nmyam @