The Texas Art Education Association (TAEA) recently announced the names of the 2018 Leadership Scholar Cohort. Among the four Scholars selected from throughout the state is Alyssa Wagner from Aldine ISD.
Potential Leaderships Scholars must have three years of experience in their art education field or profession. TAEA designed the cohort program to build leadership skills of aspiring leaders. The experience advances their skills by engaging with top leadership trainers and practitioners.
The program is ideally suited for those already in, or preparing to move into, a leadership role.
The 12-month program has Scholars busy with Council-at-Large meetings, the TAEA Leadership Institute, the NAEA Leadership Conference, TAEA Executive Board meetings, and the TAEA Annual Conference. Scholars will not only attend these events but also provide presentations.
To optimize the learning experience, participation is limited to four individuals selected through a competitive application process. The next TAEA Leadership Scholar cohort will occur in Summer 2020.
Wagner began as an elementary teacher at Calvert Elementary School in 2012. She started teaching math, writing, science and social studies.
In 2015, Wagner began teaching art. It was the first time in more than 10 years that the campus had an art educator. She took on the role with no previous experience. But that did not stop her from giving her students the best experience possible. Wagner met with Dr. Michaelann Kelley, the District’s visual arts program director; read and experimented.
She recalled an experience from her first year as an art teacher. She described how art transformed a student named Jackie. She was a repeat third grade student who was extremely shy, quiet and had trouble expressing herself in English and Spanish.
Jackie became active in Wagner’s Art Club. Slowly Jackie blossomed. She soaked up artistic techniques. She also expressed herself in her art and through her words.
“I may have the title of art teacher,” said Wagner. “But that girl showed me the power of art. She showed me what being an art teacher is all about. It is more than contests. It is about problem solving and expression. It‘s about having another way to share yourself with the world. It is about being brave.
“On the last day of school, Jackie through tears said, ‘Thank you for believing in me and showing me that I can be someone who matters.’ I am honored that I was able to be a part of her life.”
By the end of Jackie’s fourth grade year, she had passed all her classes and scored well on state testing. Wagner believes that art gave Jackie the confidence to become the person she could be.
Assistant Principal Diana Muñiz and Kelley are proud of Wagner and feel she is deserving of being named to the Leadership Scholars cohort.
“Ms. Wagner excels as a leader on campus and shares her passion for art,” said Muñiz. “Her love of art is contagious and she aids the students to believe they are all artists.”
“Her passion for her students is unparalleled,” said Kelley. “Alyssa is always finding new ways to challenge her students from kindergarten to fourth grade, including our deaf education program. It is this passion and drive that create a classroom atmosphere of high expectations and success. She works hard to integrate all content areas into her art curriculum.
“Her accomplishments are outstanding and reflect high quality teaching and learning in the classroom.”
Through the Leadership Scholars program, Wagner aspires to keep growing professionally to give her students the best learning experience and be an advocate for arts education. The program provides feedback, peer mentoring and coaching.
“The Leadership Scholars program is a pivotal turning point in my career,” said Wagner. “I am passionate about becoming a better teacher and leader.”
Director of Written Communication & Spanish Media
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