Unit 4’s K-12 art educators: front row (from left), Stacey Gross, Ravyn Drone, Lucy Christianson; second row, Jill Kjorlien, Michael McLoughlin, Emily Pawlicki, Enrika Stulpinaite-Maldonado; third row, Shannon Percoco, Melissa Hahn, Carol-Lynn Comparetto, Holly Hummel, Melissa Farley, Lolita Zwettler, Priscilla Putnam; back row, Josh Doniek, John Odum, Grant Thomas, Amy Johnson, Amy Lozar, Scott Fernsberg. (Not pictured: Elizabeth Chong).
CHAMPAIGN — Unit 4’s 21-teacher art staff will be presented in November with the highest honor the Illinois Art Education Association bestows upon school districts.
The department has been named the 2019 Art Education Program of the Year by the IAEA, which honors just one district, along with seven individual awards, at its annual conference, to be held on Nov. 22 in St. Charles.
The selection committee cited the program’s growth — from seven teachers serving 14 schools 20 years ago to the current 21, who have a collective 213 years of service in Unit 4 and have helped high school art enrollment quadruple in the last decade, serving a quarter of all students.
Unit 4 teachers “balance being practicing artists and excellent art educators. This both inspires authentic art experiences and offers students a glimpse into the professional art world,” judges wrote. “One thing that makes them…