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Posted: December 8, 2011

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Honors and Recognitions

Kris Keller, Jo Tabacchi Named Elementary Art Educators of the Year, Janet Kahn, instructional manager for APS Fine Arts program, is named Administrator of the Year

Kris Keller and Jo Tabacchi, elementary art teachers in the APS Fine Arts program, have been named as co-recipients of the 2012 Elementary Art Educator of the Year award by the NM Art Education Association. They were honored at the annual NMAEA conference held recently in Santa Fe.

Janet Kahn, instructional manager of the APS Fine Arts program, also was honored at the conference as the 2012 Administrator of the Year. She has headed the APS Fine Arts program for the past 17 years. Prior to that she was the coordinator for the Join-A-School and Community Education programs.

Keller and Tabacchi have taught at 21 different elementary schools between them in the 13 years they’ve been with the Fine Arts program. They have co-authored an article for School Arts magazine, a widely read publication for art educators K-12, and have presented together at the state art education conference and at the national art education conference as well.

One of the many reasons Keller and Tabacchi received this award is related to the additional activities they have each initiated at their respective schools over the years.

At Alvarado last year, Tabacchi worked with 150 fourth and fifth grade students to design, create and install a 6 x 16 ft. mural of handmade tiles as the backdrop for the school’s community garden.

Keller has worked with after-school student groups to create and art for the benefit of groups that the students select after researching different organizations. Among the many recipients of their generosity are the Title I Homeless Program and the PTA Clothing Bank.

Keller and Tabacchi have talked about the sense of empowerment their students have experienced by participating in these projects and the opportunity their students have had to use their art to make a difference for others.

At the APS Board of Education meeting where Keller and Tabacchi were recognized for their award, Kahn stated that each of them is “an exceptional teacher and an exceptional person. They represent our program and our district with all of the qualities that exemplify what is positive and admirable about the teaching profession.”

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