Middle school art teacher honored as state’s best

A Lincoln Public Schools middle school art teacher has been named the best in the state.

The Nebraska Art Teachers Association recently honored Pound Middle School art teacher Shelby Rix as the 2021 Middle School Art Teacher of the Year.

“It is something really special to be acknowledged by your peers, especially after the year we have all had. I have a lot of people who have helped me in my time of teaching, from my grandma who did crafts with me as a kid to my college professors I still keep in contact with and all of the hard-working humans in LPS who I love dearly and get to work with,” said Rix, who taught at Mickle Middle School prior to this year. “I love my middle school kids. They are going through such a unique time in their lives. I hope that each student who walks into my classroom knows that they are seen, they are valued, and that they are special in their own way.” 

One of her nominators for the award, Mickle Instructional Coordinator Jason Brunott, had high praise for Rix and her dedication to teaching.

“Shelby strives to do her best as an art educator and challenges her students to reach their full potential. Her willingness to take suggestions, modify lessons and experiment with new strategies demonstrates her motivation and growth related to teaching and learning,” Brunott said. “Shelby takes pride in teaching the visual arts. She exhibits a growth mindset, as she is always looking to improve lesson design and instruction. Ultimately, she consistently provides opportunities for students to enjoy and focus on the journey through the art-making process.”

“In addition to her own responsibilities as an art teacher, she works with other art teachers to fully integrate art in the planning and implementation of art-based inquiry and integration,” said LPS Visual Art Curriculum Specialist Lorinda Rice, another nominator. “She collaborates with others to find ways to support students' entry into art-making as meaning making. Most importantly, she serves as a role model to students. Her continual enthusiasm, energy and care help to maintain a non-threatening atmosphere in which all students feel comfortable participating in art.”

Rix will be formally recognized at the Nebraska Art Teachers Association’s annual conference Oct. 22. She also will be presented with a resolution at a Lincoln Board of Education meeting in October.

Published: September 23, 2021, Updated: October 4, 2021