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Release Date: 12/7/2018
Contact: Brandon Oland, 443.809.5908

Three BCPS educators honored with national art education awards

Sherri Fisher

TOWSON, MD — Sherri Fisher, coordinator of visual arts for Baltimore County Public Schools, Grace Hulse, an art teacher at Fort Garrison Elementary, and Rachel Valsing, visual arts department chair at Towson High, have been selected by their peers to receive national awards from the National Art Education Association (NAEA).

The awards will be presented during the 2019 NAEA National Convention in Boston, at the Division Awards Ceremony, Thursday, March 14.

Fisher will receive the Eastern Region Supervision/Administration Art Educator Award. In nominating her for the honor, her supervisor, Douglas Handy, director of Career and Technology Education and Fine Arts wrote: “… Ms. Fisher has demonstrated the ability to build visual arts teachers’ capacity in aligning teaching and learning with the National Core Arts Standards. Additionally, she insures that the visual arts curriculum reinforces BCPS’ focus on developing lifelong learners through literacy while supporting healthy school climates. She supports teachers while providing them with professional development that is innovative, engaging, and practical. Furthermore, Ms. Fisher maintains positive and effective working relationships with teachers, school administrators, and fellow central office staff members.”

Grace Hulse
A resident of Baltimore City and an artist-scholar, Fisher has been recognized, at district, state, and national levels, for excellence in and service to the field of art education. As a Fulbright scholar, she has worked in Peru in a program sponsored by Morgan State University and as a Distinguished Teacher in Finland associated with Aalto University. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Purchase College SUNY and a Master of Arts in Art Education degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).

The Eastern Region Art Educator Award – the top award in the Eastern Region category – will be presented to Hulse. Fisher says of Hulse, “I have gotten to know Grace since I moved to this administrative position three years ago. She has become my ‘go to’ teacher for anything that has to do with the elementary art program.She has been the chairman of our Elementary Visual Arts Curriculum Digital Conversion as well as our Developing Language and Literacy in the Arts Curriculum.For the past two summers, Grace has been an Art 21 Educator and worked within that organization to design resources that promote the use of contemporary art and artists into elementary art curriculum. She truly sets the bar for designing dynamic sequential units that engage our students.”

A resident of Glen Arm in Baltimore County, Hulse holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from MICA and became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2007 in early and middle childhood art. She has presented at multiple NAEA and MAEA conventions, has written for School Arts Magazine and has served as a cooperating teacher for Towson University and MICA student interns. Grace currently serves as a consulting teacher to new elementary art teachers. She received MAEA’s Eastern Region Elementary Art Education Award in 2015.

Rachel Valsing

Valsing, who lives in Baltimore City’s Charles Village, will receive the Eastern Region Secondary Art Educator Award. In describing her, Fisher said, “Rachel works to connect the arts community of Baltimore with students across Maryland. Every student who goes through Towson High School contributes and is impacted by the powerful artistic community within the school. Rachel has made numerous national, state and district conference presentations always focusing on the ART of teaching in a visual arts studio. She is always willing to share her expertise with others. Rachel has been serving as the MAEA professional development coordinator for Maryland connecting contemporary art practice to the practice of teaching. Finding connections to facilitate authentic collaboration is a theme in Rachel’s work. She reaches across district, state and regional borders to inform and engage workshop participants. She has brought practicing artists into collaboration with art educators to develop engaging workshops that elevate artistic teaching practice in Maryland and the region at large. She demonstrates a wonderful mix of academic and creative thought.”

Valsing has been teaching for BCPS since graduating from MICA in 2007. She was named Maryland State Art Educator of Year in November 2017, and she serves as the vice president of programs for MAEA.

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