Art Education students begin their career

View from the Classroom
By Art Staff

Congratulations to seven of our recent art education graduates who secured teaching positions as art teachers either last year or this fall. Each earned the B.A. in Art: Art Education Emphasis. Their graduation dates and new positions are listed below.

Adam Austin, spring 2017, Clinton and Crystal Hill Elementary Schools in Pulaski County
Rebecca Brandon Maund, spring 2017, Lonoke High School
Savanna Moore, fall 2017, Greers Ferry High School
Abigail Nipper, spring 2018, Perryville High School
Kelsee Sawrie, spring 2018, Maumelle Middle School
Reagan Wentzel, spring 2017, North Little Rock High School
Emily Willhite, spring 2018, Greenbrier Westside Elementary School

Professor Jeff Young with Bachelor of Arts (BA) graduates in Art with an emphasis in Art Education

A few of the graduates shared what they thought made the UCA art education program strong. Savanna Moore said, “My experience . . . was nothing short of a transformation for the better. I was able to make mistakes and ask questions while always having 100% support from my mentors and peers. I truly believe the program molds students to become much more than just art teachers. They become mentors, counselors, risk takers, and strong believers in their own faith, whatever that may be and wherever they may end up. The support and love that is felt through this program, along with constant new culture and knowledge, is more than I had ever felt in any other educational setting in my life.” Rebecca Maund said one of the strengths was “providing situational learning to future art teachers. My experience . . . prepared me to be confident in my teaching ability and along the way it also gave me amazing memories and lifelong friends who support me in my teaching career.”

Professor Deborah Kuster with recent graduate Savannah Moore, graduate of Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Art with an emphasis in Art Education

The art education program prepares graduates to teach art at all levels (K-12) in public and private schools, as can be seen in the list above. An important part of that preparation is the diverse field experience requirements built into all of the art education courses. Experiences include an after-school art program and placements with elementary, middle, junior, and high school students in urban, suburban and rural schools in central Arkansas.

This fall, Practicum students are working with mentor art teachers Misty Kew at Forest Heights STEM Academy and with Jessica Taverna at Pulaski Heights Middle School, both in Little Rock, and with Jessica White-Moore at Morrilton Junior High and Kristen Sellers at Vilonia Elementary School. In Internship I, students are working with mentor art teachers Thom Asewicz at ESTEM Elementary, Jason McCann at Central High School, and Rodney Bailey at Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School, all in Little Rock; along with Lisa Fullerton at Vilonia Elementary, Mary Ann Elkin at Perrin Elementary in Benton, and Melissa Lashbrook at Northside and Southside Elementary Schools in Cabot.

In these early field experiences, art education students are placed in a school for one or two days a week and accumulate a wealth of experiences that include opportunities to teach students individually, in small groups, and with whole classes; observing how their mentors organize their classrooms; and learning how to establish rapport and respect with their students. The strength of the program is dependent upon our partnerships with effective, veteran teachers. Most of our mentor teachers are former graduates from UCA. This adds another layer of strength and synergy in our preparation and continued collaborations with art teachers in Arkansas.

All these field experiences culminate with our art education student’s capstone, Internship II, which is a full semester of student teaching with a mentor in a single school, five days a week. The Internship II semester can be in the fall or spring. Our interns this fall are: Jordan Richard who is placed at Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School in Little Rock with mentor Matt TerAvest; Teal Rae at Ida Burns Elementary in Conway with mentor Kristy Green; and H. Christine Guenard at Ward Elementary in Cabot with Sara Carter. All three of these mentors are UCA alumnae. The interns will return to UCA campus at the end of the semester to present a summary of what they have learned and advice they wish to give to art education students in earlier stages of the program. Then they are set to graduate in December!