The Illinois Art Education Association has named Susan Tiemstra of Prospect Elementary School, the 2016 IAEA Elementary Art Educator of the Year. This award recognizes exemplary contributions, service, and achievements of one outstanding IAEA member annually. The award will be presented at the Illinois Art Education Association Conference in Normal, Illinois on Friday, November 4, 2016.
Susan Tiemstra earned an MA in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University Chicago in 2010. Currently she is in her 21st year as an educator in District 181 in Clarendon Hills, Illinois and her 12th year at Prospect Elementary School. She received a BA from Dominican University in Art and Education.
Susan states “I have no other claim to fame except that I love my family, I love teaching art to my students, I love my school, my district, and my colleagues!” She believes in the importance and value of displaying student work in the school, on Artsonia, and in art shows. She believes these are great ways for parents, teachers, administrators, politicians, and the general public to witness the importance of art in the curriculum. She is an advocate for art for art’s sake and also the transformative role creativity plays in turning STEM into STEAM.
Susan Tiemstra hosts an annual school-wide student show called STUDIO 100, works with colleagues and the Community House in Hinsdale and the DIstrict 181 Foundation to host a district-wide Student Art Exhibit, works with district and regional colleagues and the West Suburban Consortium (of Superintendents) for Academic Excellence (WSCAE) to host an annual regional Student Art Expo. Ms. Tiemstra will also serve as a committee member for the IAEA Student Show this November at the IAEA Conference in Normal, IL.
Theresa McGee, art education colleague, states that Susan Tiemstra’s “art room is a place of joy and excellence in art education.” In response to hearing about this award, Susan comments, “I am privileged to be part of an incredibly talented department of art teachers in District 181 by whom I am inspired, with whom I’ve presented at conference, worked on community and regional art shows, inspired each other to create engaging artistic opportunities for our students, and supportively challenge each other to continue to learn and grow as an art educators. How fortunate and grateful I am!"