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Two APS Art Teachers Selected for Statewide Awards

Posted October 25, 2023, 12:15 PM. Updated December 20, 2023, 10:29 AM.

Del Norte, Cibola High educators honored for their innovation, commitment to students.

The New Mexico Art Education Association is honoring two Albuquerque Public Schools teachers for their outstanding work as art educators.

The organization has selected Nikki Turman, who has worked at Del Norte High School for 15 years, as its New Mexico Art Educator of the Year. It’s the top state award, encompassing all divisions and all grade levels.

NMAEA also selected Sara Linn as its High School Art Educator of the Year. Linn heads Cibola High School’s Art Department. She competed against high school art educators from around the state for the award.

The two will be recognized at the NMAEA conference on Friday.

Nikki Turman

Turman, who holds a bachelor’s degree in art history and a master’s in art education, has been instrumental in bringing the National Scholastic Art Awards program to New Mexico. She and her partner, Joe Baca, created the NM Scholastic Art Awards Program and have been the driving force behind it for the last 10 years.

The individual who nominated Turman for the award praised her for the “lasting connections” she forges with her students, noting that she is “a mentor and a guiding force in their lives.”

“Her innovation for projects that resonate with students keeps them engaged and challenged,” her colleagues say. “She finds ways to provide access for special needs students, as well as those in the general education population, to find their own means of expression in art.”

Sara Linn

Linn is being recognized for demonstrating “an unwavering commitment to her students, her craft, and the broader community” and for “her tireless dedication to nurturing the artistic talents of her students and fostering a culture of creativity and expression.”

Those who know her say her leadership of Cibola’s Fine Art Department has been transformative, creating a collaborative and supportive environment that encourages both students and fellow educators to thrive.

“She has not only elevated the quality of education in the department but has also ignited a passion for the arts in countless young minds,” wrote the individual who nominated Linn. “Her innovative teaching methods and ability to inspire creativity have led to a significant increase in student participation and achievement.”