Becky Sue Johnson of Roosevelt High School received the 2011 Outstanding Secondary Art Educator Award.

Johnson is an inspiring art teacher who builds relationships with her students as she guides them to learn the fundamentals of Art. Kathie Danielson, the Principal of Roosevelt High School says of Johnson, “Her pedagogical knowledge and commitment to students are evident every day in her classroom, and as she collaborates with staff to do whatever it takes to meet the needs of students.”

Johnson works hard to provide a quality experience for her students. At Roosevelt she is a member of the Instructional Leadership Team and is the chair of the Fine Arts department. She is on the Art Advisory Committee and the Art Department’s Curriculum Committee for Des Moines Public Schools. She is constantly searching for ways to improve student learning.

In response to receiving this award, Johnson states, “The first life experiences that newborns feel are sensory; tactile, auditory, and visual. In fact, many Art philosophers & historians maintain that we are born with an aesthetic sense. It is our cognitive capability to create and recognize symbols & imagery that sets us as modern humans, apart from all of our predecessors and from our contemporary animal relatives. We are defined as a species by our abilities to make and understand art.

I believe that teaching someone else, is the best way to show that you have learned something. And in this case, recognizing and appreciating that we are all born with this aesthetic sense, demands a respect for all learners that come to us as students. As passionate as I am about life, art, and learning; I am equally passionate about my teaching and my students. Teaching itself is an art, one that I continue to strive to master.

In my classroom, I believe that respect and effort are reciprocal between teacher and student. It is my charge to help my students understand, master, and appreciate the ”Language of Art”; using a variety of media, tools, and problem solving skills. Students flourish in this environment gaining : self confidence, an expanded visual vocabulary, and the understandings to increase their range of personal expression. My students know that they do not have to be a “master artist” to succeed in my classes, rather, they simply have to give me their best. And they generally do!

It is my great honor to accept this award for something that I am passionate about and just driven to do!

I thank my myriad of students that have graced my classroom, their parents that sent me their best, and my numerous colleagues & friends that have always made me a better teacher.”