Irving art teacher honored as best in the state

For the second time in three years, a Lincoln Public Schools art teacher has been honored as the best in the state.

Kacee Conley from Irving Middle School was recently named the 2019 Middle School Art Educator of the Year by the Nebraska Art Teachers Association. She received the award Sept. 27 at the organization’s state conference in Nebraska City.

“Words can not express the gratitude I hold for my colleagues who nominated me for this award. This affirms that the district visual arts program is moving in the right direction,” Conley said. “We are providing space for students to make meaningful connections to all aspects of their lives, to share their stories and to develop creative and critical thinking skills. I am fortunate to be teaching in a district that provides opportunities to collaborate with amazing teachers and passionate leaders.”

Jennifer Bockerman from Moore Middle School won the same award in 2017. In Conley’s nomination letter, Bockerman said, “Kacee has worked diligently to create opportunities for her students to think more deeply, explore more passionately, and connect personally with their own topics of interest through art making and thinking.” 

Lorinda Rice, LPS art curriculum specialist, cited Conley’s many accomplishments and leadership roles on both the state and national level, but equally emphasized her contributions to the school district.

“Kacee has been instrumental in developing new middle-level curriculum and has taken on the role of presenter of curriculum and instruction to her peers,” Rice said. “Kacee connects art making to topics of student interest outside of the art room, both through integration of other curriculum and global thinking. Her focus on developing divergent thinkers, through various strategies, gives students who do not consider themselves artists opportunities to understand how artistic practices can develop capabilities of creative thinking for future problem-finders.”

Published: October 11, 2019, Updated: October 11, 2019