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AACPS receives honors from Maryland Art Education Associaton

| November 04, 2018, 10:40 AM

Anne Arundel County Public Schools Visual Arts Coordinator Eleni Dykstra was honored for her outstanding contributions and professional service to art education, and teacher specialist Christopher Whitehead was named Maryland Art Educator of the Year recently on a night in which AACPS educators received seven awards from the Maryland Art Education Association.

Dykstra, who has spearheaded AACPS’ visual arts office for five years, received the Linda Popp Leadership Award. Dykstra is National Board certified and trained in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. She has been a contributing member of the MAEA Council since 2007, and has served as Middle Level Division Director, Coordinator of State Awards, Maryland Host Committee for the Conference in Baltimore, President-Elect, President and Past President.

She has presented at the National Art Education Association and Maryland Art Education Association conferences numerous times and has participated in the Eastern Region Leadership Conference for three years.

“This is a tremendous honor, and one I share with the dedicated and passionate art educators with whom I am privileged to work every day,” Dykstra said. “I am incredibly proud of the work we do for students in Anne Arundel County and of the opportunities we provided for those students to cultivate and showcase their incredible talents.”

Whitehead is a classically trained artist who primarily works painting, illustration, and alternative media. He has studied and exhibited throughout the United States and Europe. His work focuses on the human form and the art is used to illustrate personal narratives and concepts.

He has taught art in public schools in California and Maryland and was recognized as Massachusetts Art Educator of the Year in 2013.


Five AACPS art educators were honored by MAEA for their outstanding contributions at the district level. They are:

  • Jenilee Denney, Annapolis Elementary School, a 15-year educator whose “can do” work ethic and enthusiasm have enabled her to build an outstanding art program at her school. She has written elementary curriculum and has assisted with roll out and delivery of the curriculum documents with amazing energy and enthusiasm.
  • Jeanie Hendryx, Southern High School, who develops creative, culturally relevant, and personally meaningful lessons to raise her students’ artistic success. Ms. Hendryx was an art teacher at Georgetown East Elementary School before recently moving to the high school level, and regularly contributes to Art Trek, AACPS’ summer art enrichment program.
  • Kelly Kuethe, Annapolis Middle School, who is invested in the use of the visual arts as a vehicle to introduce and engage her middle school students to explore them-selves as well as the concepts and elements in the curriculum. Her passion, vision, and positive energy create and incredible environment for her students.
  • Amy Begg-Marino, Bates Middle School, who has taught in AACPS since 2016 and spent eight years in Baltimore City before that. In addition to her duties at Bates Middle School, she teachers middle and high school students in the afterschool Performing and Visual Arts program.
  • Catie Russo, Broadneck High School, who is currently in her ninth year of teaching art at Broadneck. She rises to any challenge and works hard for the success of her students. She brings creativity, enthusiasm, and professionalism to her department and all her students, and is ensures that the artwork of her students is exhibited throughout the county.

Category: Local News, NEWS, Post To FB

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