Art Educators of Iowa (AEI) is pleased to announce that Kassi Nelson, high school art educator at Gladbrook-Reinbeck Schools will be honored as its 2013 Outstanding Secondary Art Educator at the state art education conference on October 12, 2013, in Cedar Rapids.
Nelson's dedication to art education is clear from the letters that were received in support of her nomination for the award. Mrs. Nelson received particularly high praises from for high school art teacher and now colleague Ronda Sternhagen, Gladbrook-Reinbeck Administrative Assistant Pam Heithoff, and Madonna Wilson, Head of the English Department at Gladbrook-Reinbeck.
"I have known Mrs. Nelson for a number of years: first as her high school art teacher, and now as her colleague and friend," shared Sternhagen. "Kassi found herself "living" in the art room her junior and senior year in high school. I was so proud of the work she was able to produce in such a short time. She went off to college to become an art educator. I was extremely proud of her, and excited to have her "follow in my footsteps." In a fortunate twist of fate, Kassi took a teaching position in a neighboring school district."
Heithoff commented that she has, "known Kassi for several years and can attest to her high quality as an educator both in, and outside of the classroom. The art classes at Gladbrook-Reinbeck have a waiting list of students wanting to get in." Heithoff goes on to say, "Her students show great respect for her and the wide variety of innovative projects she teaches them. Her creativity is endless and she helps students to step out of the box and try new things each day."
"Kassi collaborates with G-R administrators, teachers, and parents to best serve the needs of our students. However, over the past year she also has collaborated with secondary art teachers from Grundy Center High School, Dike-New Hartford High School, and Aplington- Parkersburg High School once a month to align common core curriculum for the four schools," adds Wilson. "Kassi knows technology! She is not afraid to learn more about what is new, but also willing to inform others. Two years ago our principal asked Kassi to be one of three teachers to experiment with the Canvas program to see if the high school wanted to adopt the program. G-R did adopt Canvas, and with the help of Kassi we survived the first year!"
Nelson reflected upon the receiving word of the award, "I am truly honored! Getting this award means so much to me! I love my job, students, and school! I am so thankful to be a part of the art world!"
In addition to responsibilities in the classroom, Mrs. Nelson has previously served as Secretary for Art Educators of Iowa. It is easy to sense that Nelson is a well respected leader in the art classroom and beyond.