26 January, 2021

Katherine Hess is the 2020 Maryland Art Educator of the Year!

The NAEA Awards are for every state in the US.
Congratulations to Katherine Hess for earning the Maryland Art Educator of the Year award!

It feels like déjà vu because this seemingly keeps happening every year. But in fact Katherine has continually won more and more prestigious awards each year for her excellent work as an art educator. In 2017, she was presented with the Montgomery County Secondary Art Educator of the Year award, showcasing her high school work at the county level. Then, in 2019, she won the Maryland Secondary Art Educator of the Year award, which is presented to high school art teachers at the state level. But this year, on March 4–7 at the virtual 2021 NAEA National Convention, the National Art Education Association will award Katherine the 2020 Maryland Art Educator of the Year award, the highest award that an art educator of any kind can receive in the state of Maryland.

MAEA is the Maryland division of the NAEA.
Previous awards she's won have been high school based and more local. But the Maryland Art Educator of the Year award is available not only to educators at the elementary, middle, and secondary levels, but also those in higher education, museums, preservice, emeritus, or any other level. This is a big step up from her previously won awards!

Learn more about the IB.
I'm extremely proud of just how much she has done to promote art education in the state of Maryland. Katherine serves as the Department Chair for the Art Department at Seneca Valley High School (2014–present) and the Vice President of Communications for the Maryland Art Education Association (2018–present). She's done quite a bit to help art education both nationally and internationally, including as an International Baccalaureate Visual Arts Examiner in the Eastern and Southeastern Regions of the United States and as an International Extended Essays Examiner for the International Baccalaureate Organization throughout the world (including students from over a dozen countries!). In Maryland, she's headed the Academy of Commercial and Fine Art, developed Secondary Visual Arts Curricula for Montgomery County Public Schools, and helped to develop the first IB Middle Years Programme in Maryland.

Katherine and the always fluffy Jasper.
Katherine has been especially active during the pandemic, focusing on running social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram that help art educators in Maryland succeed, as well as publishing the MAEA Gazette, the MAEA Year in Review, and the Black Lives Matter statement for the Maryland Art Education Association. I am constantly amazed that she has enough energy to do all of this while still providing a positive learning environment in her virtual classroom. (The only lack this past year was in not being able to present her artwork in public anywhere because of the pandemic. A shame, really, as her work has been displayed across five states and won multiple awards in themselves.)

I can think of no better art educator in the state of Maryland than her for this award. Congratulations, Katherine!

(You can send her your congratulations directly on her facebook wall.)

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