Kelley Shradley-Horst named Virginia Secondary Art Educator of the Year

Student Kristen Lyons (left), 17, runs a glass etching through a press with the help of Kelley Shradley-Horst during an Art III class at Harrisonburg High School. Shradley-Horst was recently named Virginia Secondary Art Educator of the Year. Photo by Michael Reilly, Daily News Record

Kelley Shradley-Horst, an art teacher at Harrisonburg High School and 2006 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University, didn’t get her hopes up.

Even after scoring one of five regional nominations on her way to becoming the Virginia Secondary Art Educator of the Year, she was skeptical about actually winning the honor.

“I kind of had a stigma that no one from Harrisonburg could win this,” said Shradley-Horst, who said she foresaw the honor going to a teacher from a bigger division.

But she was proven wrong. Twice.

Shradley-Horst and Karin Tollefson-Hall, assistant professor of art education and the art education graduate program director at James Madison University, won the top awards for art education in the state in their respective categories – secondary and postsecondary.

They received the awards at the VAEA conference in Norfolk at the beginning of the month.

“It’s a little bit of a bragging right and a chance to do more advocacy [for art education],” said Shradley-Horst, who added that the designations reflect well on local education programs.

It’s also a good opportunity for Tollefson-Hall’s students – who are training to be teachers – to pick up some clearly valued teaching techniques.

“It’s nice to be recognized [and feel] like you’ve done a good job not only for JMU, but for the other art teachers across the state,” Tollefson-Hall, 37, said.

At HHS, Shradley-Horst, 28, is currently teaching art I, II and III and gearing up for a new ceramics class. She also formed an art club aimed mostly at freshman students that she has run for three years.

“She always has the students’ best interests in mind,” said Jauan Brooks, who nominated Shradley-Horst and teaches alongside her at HHS.

According to a biography on the JMU Department of Art and Art History website, Tollefson-Hall is the adviser for the JMU student chapter of the National Art Education Association. She also serves as a member of the honors and awards committee for the association.

Both are Harrisonburg residents and also serve in positions for the Virginia Art Education Association – Shradley-Horst is the secretary of the Blue Ridge region and Tollefson-Hall serves on the association board as higher education division director.

Next, the women will be considered in the regional competition, overseen by the National Art Education Association. Virginia is in the southeastern region, along with Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee and the Virgin Islands.

If they advance in that competition, they will be judged at the national level.

Courtesy Daily News Record, Nov. 15, 2012