Monday, November 2, 2020

2020-21 KAEA Award Winners

 Here is a video compilation of presentations to our 2020-21 KAEA Award Winners. The award winners will be formally recognized at the 2021 KAEA Fall Conference since we were unable to recognize them at an in-person conference this year.

Congratulations to...

Liz Kowalchuk, Outstanding Overall Art Educator

Liz is an Associate Professor of the Visual Art Education Program at the University of Kansas and has been in that position for 26 years.  In addition, she has served as the Interim Chair for the Dept. of Germanic Literatures and Languages, the Associate Dean-School of the Arts and as an instructor in the Museum Studies Program.  Liz has served on the KAEA board, judged YAM Art Competitions, presented numerous sessions at both the state and national levels and was named the 2009 Higher Education Art Educator.  As an accomplished and respected scholar in her field, she has served on many committees locally and nationally and has many publications to her name.

“While her work with in-service teachers deserves recognition, I have been even more impressed with how much Liz cares about the pre-service art teachers in the KU art education program. This has been evidenced by the care she takes insuring that they receive the best instruction, experiences, and opportunities to grow, learn, and embrace their individual gifts and talents. Her work with me has included introducing them to community resources like the Spencer Museum of Art, preparing them to seek out supporters and resources in their future school communities. Professor Kowalchuk’s commitment to her students has been further reinforced by the many committees, projects, and boards she has served on that cultivate a value for and support of art education in Kansas, seeking to pave the way for these future art teachers”. Amanda Martin-Hamon 


April Lemon, Art Enhancer

April Lemon, along with her husband are the owners of “More Than Lemons” on the Holton town square which includes an art gallery that displays and sells the art of 45 Kansas artists, with a hot glass shop in the back. She is a Kansas Touring Artist and is a Planning Committee Member for the Jackson County Art Walk.

“April has opened her gallery to visiting artists for the Jackson County Art Walk and for local high school students to display their work. The hot shop is open for people to observe and learn about the process of glass blowing and they even have the option to get directly involved with “blow your own glass” experiences. A custom built mobile glass blowing unit has been added to April’s toolbox and this allows her to travel around Kansas and to other states to blow glass. She has frequented arts festivals and has worked with several Kansas art teachers to share her art with their students as a visiting artist. In 2017, April was a presenter at KAEA summer camp where she taught attendees how to fuse and cast glass. April continues to share, always willing to answer any questions! April’s generosity is not limited to her time; she is generous with her materials as well, often donating boxes of scrap glass to art teachers”  Katie Morris, Tranda Strnad



Ellen Merrill, Outstanding Emeritus Art Educator

Ellen is a long-time member of KAEA who has volunteered her time and skills to the organization in many aspects.  She has served on Conference committees, as a Conference Chair, as President-Elect, President and Past-President, Western Region and NAEA delegate, as the Awards Chair and as a Conference Presenter.

Her many honors include being named the 2000 KAEA Elementary Art Educator, the 2004 KAEA Overall Art Educator, a Teacher of the Year nomination, a Kansas Teacher of the Year nomination and a Master Teacher nomination. After retirement, Ellen worked at KCAI as an adjunct instructor for the art teacher certification program and has continued to volunteer her time and mentorship as often as she can.

“Even in retirement, Ellen continues to stay involved in arts education. She volunteers at the Nerman Art Museum in Overland Park. She serves as an Olathe School District volunteer and comes into my classroom to assist in any way she can, whether that means helping to hang up an art exhibit, cut paper, or teach advanced students how to throw on the potter's wheel. She continues to make an impact on the students and the community.” Megan Wendleton 


Sabina Bolinger, Outstanding K-12 Art

Sabina has been the art educator at Madison-Virgil schools for 22 years. She organizes the annual league art show at ESU, designed & curates the “Bulldog Artway” gallery in the high school, is an Artsonia Afterschool Club teacher, has published two articles in Arts and Activities magazine and  teaches a duel credit Graphic Design course through the local technical college.

Each week she works with every student in our school district, providing engaging and exciting project as well as providing incite and methods.  She holds high expectations for her students, and challenges them to be the best they can be.  She understands that each student has different talent levels, and modifies lessons to best fit each student’s needs.  The relationships she builds with students are built on mutual respect and caring!” Ms. Vanessa Kresin


Beth Burns, Outstanding Elementary Art Educator

At the age of 50, Beth “finally became certified to be an art teacher and started her dream job of teaching Elementary art”.  She has been in the Newton school district for 10 years. Beth seeks new ways to bring current advancements into her classroom integrating technology into her classroom and has shared her strategies for art classroom applications with KAEA members at several conferences. Beth has been recognized as a PBS Digital Innovator and serves on the Wichita Art Museum Teacher Advisory Council as well as the Carriage Factory Art Gallery Board. Beth has implemented online teaching lessons and choice day presentations such as movie-making for teachers and coding with students.

“Beth has always been loved by her students and staff for her mindfulness approach to learning. Never was that more evident than this spring as we were forced into remote teaching. Each morning Beth went online and invited all her students and colleagues to begin the day with “deep belly breaths” and mindfulness activities. The mantra “I am safe, I am loved, I can do anything” was a reassuring constant during an unfamiliar time. This daily commitment demonstrated Beth’s concern for the emotional health of her school community. She recorded numerous instructional videos, each welcoming “my most amazing artists” with her warm smile and positive encouragement.” LaDonna Voth


Ginger Steck, Outstanding Middle Level Art Educator

Ginger has been in the Andover school district for 20 years--9 years at the Middle School.  Ginger has been named a 2015 Kansas Master Teacher and the 2009 KAEA Outstanding Elementary Art Educator.  She has served KAEA as a frequent presenter, YAM Committee member, Regional Chair, SC Region Coordinator, Fall Conference Planning Committee and Conference College Credit facilitator.  She has taught classes at the Wichita Arts Center, Wichita State University and Friends University.

“What sets Ginger apart from other teachers is her ability to hook all learners with learning experiences that are relevant in the lives of today’s students, bringing the art curriculum to life. Whether a student has advanced art skills or is novice, Ginger inspires all of her students to create work they are truly proud to call their own” Principal Tim Hayden

“She is a true professional always willing to share her artistic educational knowledge with other teachers, mentoring art education student teachers and education students. When asked to step up, Ginger is generous with her time, volunteering for numerous organizations in her Andover community as well as being a busy wife, mother and an amazing artist.” Shawny Montgomery



Ronna Schultz, Outstanding Secondary Art Educator

Ronna has been the beloved art teacher in Grainfield/Wheatland for 34 years. She has served as PDC Chairwoman for her district from 2012 to today, a Student Intervention District Chairwoman, and assisted in coordinating the STEAM curriculum for the district.  Since 1986, Ronna has sponsored an Art Club and has facilitated the Art Preview & Dinner which enables students to show their work in a gallery setting and speak to a crowd of over 300 about their work.  Ronna is a familiar face at KAEA events and has had tremendous success with her student’s work at state and national competitions.

While Ronna has built and sustained an amazing program, what truly sets her apart from her colleagues – and makes her one of our most valued assets – is the genuine care she displays for our students, and her commitment to ensuring they have all the tools they need to be successful in the next steps of education and life. Throughout her career, Ronna has worked tirelessly to create exceptional relationships with not just students, but also parents/guardians, and the entire faculty and staff of our district. Because of the rapport she has established, many of our students look toward her as a pillar of support and wisdom for challenges that extend well beyond the classroom. Principal Todd Flin




Liz Langdon, Outstanding Higher Education Art Educator

Liz has been at the University of Kansas for 3 years.  She has been extremely active at both the state and national levels and has numerous presentations, publications and exhibits to her credit. Some of her accolades include being selected to represent the UNT doctoral program at NAEA, receiving the Priddy Fellowship in Art Leadership twice, being named the Nebraska Secondary Art Teacher of the Year, receiving the Rauschenberg Power of Art Award, and receiving a National Fulbright Fellowship Award.  She serves as the Chairperson of the NAEA Committee on Lifelong Learning and is an active member in the NAEA Women’s Caucus and Community Arts Caucus.

“Liz brings a long history in art education to Kansas including many years of teaching art in the public schools and at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha. She has also been a working artist who has permanent installations in public spaces and in private collections. She adds this background to her teaching experiences at the University of North Texas and Texas Christian University while completing her doctorate in art education at UNT. As a result, Liz has been successful and has enhanced the Visual Art Education Program at KU in every aspect. She has brought richness and depth to our program and supported our students as they transition from university to teaching art. Liz Kowalchuk

2020 Youth Art Month Flag Deadline Approaching!

  The 2020-21 YAM Flag theme is:

"Art Connects Us"

Deadline for Entries is November 15th

Kansas YAM Flag Contest 2020-2021:

Who Can Participate: Students of current Kansas Art Education Association Members (membership has its perks) 

The flag theme is “Art Connects Us”. Students need to design a colorful flag that incorporates the theme and also represents the state of KS.  

Size: 8.5 x 11 inches horizontal layout, 300 ppi or higher if digital

Media: Any two dimensional Media such as markers, watercolors, acrylic, tempera, pastels, crayon, chalk, pencils, collage or computer graphics. NO photography please.

ARTWORK: Submit artwork digitally (jpeg or vector format). 

  • It is important to take a clear photograph with appropriate lighting and focus or scan your image in order for the entry to be judged fairly. 

  • Images should be saved with the students’ name as the file name, and emailed to Images sent without following these instructions will be automatically disqualified. 

  • Limit 25 entries per teacher, per school.

Prizes will be awarded in three grade categories: K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Entries will be part of a digital exhibit at the Kansas Youth Art Month celebration. The grand prize winning design will be made into a flag and will be flown at the NAEA Convention! We look forward to seeing your students' flag creations! 

Questions? Contact Johnna Smith – YAM Flag Chair,

KAEA Mission Statement

KAEA is dedicated to the advancement of the human and cultural understanding through the study of art by providing opportunities for professional growth and development, exchange of knowledge and ideas, and service and leadership for the advancement of quality art education.