District 181’s Hillary Andrlik Named IAEA Illinois Elementary Art Educator of the Year

Article courtesy of District 181

Community Consolidated School District 181 art teacher Hillary Andrlik has been named the Illinois Elementary Art Educator of the Year for 2012 by the Illinois Art Education Association. The IAEA’s award recognizes the exemplary contributions, service and achievements of one exceptional IAEA member annually.

Andrlik was selected on the basis of her outstanding commitment to visual art education in her field, as well as her wider contributions in the Northeastern Illinois region.

I work with so many talented and dedicated art educators who are all deserving of having their work recognized,” Andrlik said. “It is an extreme honor to receive this award from my colleagues.”

Andrlik has taught art for ten years and at four District 181 schools: Elm, Oak, Walker and The Lane.

“Hillary has always been able to build positive relationships with our parents and they consider her a superior teacher,” said Kevin Russell, District 181 Director of Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction, and former Walker School Principal. 

The high quality of instruction is evident in student work showcased at annual art shows and online, with 1,200 pieces of work currently on display.

Andrlik said that she believes collaboration and community involvement are an important part of her teaching practice.

Colleagues cite an all-school “Chalk the Block” event and the creation of paper cranes sent to the Japan tsunami relief fund as just some examples of that belief in action. In 2010, Andrlik was awarded a District 181 Foundation Grant to create a permanent art installation at Walker School, “History Alive: Illinois Collections from A to Z.” The yearlong collaborative art, research, and design project incorporated historical artifacts from Illinois into a sculpture.

Andrlik uses Skype visits to connect her classroom to local art studios, engages her students in the use of creative computer graphics art projects, and utilizes a variety of online tools in her lessons. As a result of her skill, Andrlik was chosen as a technology trainer for District 181 teachers. District 181 colleague and fellow IAEA member Theresa McGee said that Andrlik is well-known at the local, regional, and national levels for her creative teaching methods.

“She has shared her best practice initiatives at state and national conferences,” McGee said. “Hillary can focus on any number of topics, including technology, classroom management, and collaboration.”

Andrlik and McGee have written about many of their innovative teaching methods on the award-winning art education blog, The Teaching Palette (http://teachingpalette.com). Andrlik also serves art educators throughout Illinois as the webmaster and digital editor for the IAEA.

Andrlik was recognized by the District 181 Board of Education as an Ambassador of Excellence on August 27, and will be presented with the award by the IAEA at their conference in Lisle on November 2.

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