LOST CREEK -- Kathleen Snoderly believes that being a good art teacher means being involved in the arts at the local, state and national levels.
"It's not enough to do your own thing, but the balance in being a good art educator is becoming a part of state and national art organizations. Then you become an advocate for the arts to ensure that they will continue and thrive," she said recently from her classroom at South Harrison Middle School.
Along with teaching art to both middle and high school students, Snoderly has served on a number of county, state and national arts boards and is an artist in her own right. All her efforts have recently earned her the 2000 Secondary Art Education Teacher of the Year award.
She was nominated by fellow members of the West Virginia Art Education Association who looked at her accomplishments both in and out of the classroom. She received the award in early October in Parkersburg at the association's fall art conference.
"It's a good reflection not only on my work but on the work of my students," she said.
Snoderly served this year as the state coordinator for Youth Art Month that promoted ongoing art activities and exhibitions in March. She has also worked as a member of the team that helped to write the state instructional goals and objectives for the art program, and was previously part of the committee to adopt art textbooks for all state students.
"The whole idea of what constitutes a good art teacher is a balance of things. It's important to be an artist in your own right, and it's important to promote your students in local and state exhibitions," she said.
She's been at South Harrison since January, and took on the task of coordinating the art for the school's renaissance festival. She also teaches a challenging advanced placement art class, where students are tested on their portfolios at the national level.
Since coming to South Harrison, she's seen one of her students win the West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival's poster contest and other students exhibit their works at Tamarack, the Mountain State Forest Festival, the Stonewall Jackson Jubilee and at Glenville State College.
Snoderly said watching her students do well is the most satisfying part of her job.
"It's rewarding to see a student blossom and to see them begin to get excited about their art work. There's no reason why the students here can't meet their highest goals. If they're really interested and motivated, they can shoot for the stars," she said.
Assistant city editor Gail Marsh can be reached at 626-1447 or by e-mail at email@example.com.