Monthly Mentor

Frank Juarez (February)
Frank Juarez is a Wisconsin artist, photographer, gallery owner, art educator, advocate and community leader living and teaching in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. In 2005, he committed his life to expose, educate and engage others on the importance of experiencing and supporting the Visual Arts. Organizing local and regional art exhibitions, community art events, facilitating presentations, and supporting artists through professional development workshops, use of social media and networking has placed him in the forefront of advancing and promoting local artists and attracting regional and national artists to interact, collaborate, network and exhibit in the Sheboygan community. Juarez is the art department chair at Sheboygan North High School. He is actively involved in local, regional, state, and national arts organization such as the Wisconsin Art Education Association, and the National Art Education Association.



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Thursday 02.11.16

2nd Floor Gallery

From: Frank Juarez 

This week I will be sharing with you three programs that I have implemented into my art curriculum at Sheboygan North High School. These programs have broadened my students’ perspective on contemporary art at the local, regional, and national level. The third and last program is called 2nd Floor Gallery, which was started in 2013.


For that past few years I have observed that there were quite a few teachers at Sheboygan North High that were incorporating art into their curriculum and that most if not all of the student works would be displayed inside the classroom or directly outside of the classroom above the lockers. I also observed an under utilized hall way with so much potential. This hallway has about 12 feet floor, about 50 feet of wall space, natural lighting, and a high ceiling - a perfect place for an art gallery.


I set an appointment with my principal for a ‘what if’ we made a professional looking space to showcase the artistic talents of our North High students. In addition, stating that there would be some costs for a gallery hanging system. The cost was not too expensive, however, the concern Mr. Bull had was would teachers use the space. Having a gallery background, working with artists, and seeking exhibition ideas I knew I could get my colleagues involved. After all we have one thing in common – our students.


My colleagues and artists in residence have utilized the gallery space. It has brought such a positive vibe to our school. The amazing thing is that those that walk the halls of North High respect the work. Student often take a break from the daily hustle of being in school and admire the artwork. There are a couple of benches where student can sit and ponder. An awesome sight to see.


On the flip side to running this gallery, finding new teachers to take advantage of this wonderful space we call the 2nd Floor Gallery can be a challenge. Exhibitions can range from 2-weeks to a month. Not all work is exhibition ready so the art department has to figure out the best way to install and present the work.


What I enjoy about the Artist in Residence Program and the 2nd Floor Gallery is that the art department is at the core of these two programs. We are here to work with one another and to provide unique experiences for our students.

NHS Exhibition Space Spanish 5 from Frank Juarez on Vimeo.

To date we have had 18 exhibitions showcasing student artwork from World Languages, Social Studies, Broadcasting, Art, and artist in residence’s work produced here.

Wednesday 02.10.16

Sheboygan North High Artist in Residence Program

From: Frank Juarez

This week I will be sharing with you three programs that I have implemented into my art curriculum at Sheboygan North High School. These programs have broadened my students’ perspective on contemporary art at the local, regional, and national level. The second program is called The NHS AiR, which was started in 2014.


About two year ago I invited a good friend of mine, Miranda Kay Levy, fashion designer, to visit us for an after school art project called Splatter Paint Fashion Show. I wanted her to provide constructive criticism to two students who organized this event, Erica Barringer and Karly Kainz. During the event my principal, Jason Bull, started a conversation with Miranda. Turns out that she was doing an artist in residency at Bay View High School in Milwaukee.


The next day or so my principal approached me with the idea of ‘what if’ we started an artist in residency at North High School? Without hesitation, I said yes. I knew exactly whom I needed to talk to regarding a program like this – Steve Vande Zande. Steve runs the artist in residency program at Bay View High. He provided me with information that helpful in planning out what this residency would work at my school. After a few weeks of brainstorming I was ready to present my findings to my principal and Seth Harvatine, Secondary Education Coordinator.



I wanted to make this new program multi-disciplinary. I wanted this program to bring in artists who value education, love working with students, and are open to brainstorm on ideas that teachers had.  I also wanted to offer our artists in residence with a studio space to create their own work and exhibit at North High towards the end of their residency. I also wanted to provide them with a stipend. The latter is always the part that many shy from since a) there may not be a budget for this, b) what would be a fair stipend for artists, and, c) would I have to tap into artists in my community to see if they would do it for free?



I knew that I did not want to offer this to any artist as a free service so I had to create a program that communicated engagement from staff and students, document student work created during the artists’ visits, invite my superintendent and secondary education coordinator to meet the artists, and so on. I had to advocate for this program in order to make it happen even if my principal had suggested it.



To date, we have worked with three artists in residence from Fond du Lac, Sheboygan Falls, and Sheboygan. Each brought something special to our staff and students. They worked with teachers from World Language to Social Studies, Culinary Arts to English, Humanities to Science. The artist in residency is a young program with a lot of success. 



One of the most rewarding things I have observed stemming from this program is last month we had a reception for our fall semester artist in residence, Liz Lange. One of my colleagues, Sylvia Cavanaugh, brought her poetry club to the reception. Her students began to write poems about Liz’s paintings that they connected with. The magical moment from this experience was when they began to recite their poem to us. Wow!  

Artist Liz Ann Lange, artist in residence, at Sheboygan North High School from Frank Juarez on Vimeo.

You may be wondering about Art. I have invited these visiting artists into my classroom as a means to provide my students with another person to facilitate a critique session, another artist to ask questions, and to have them interact with one another through art activities. This program has definitely made an impact on how North High students view art, appreciate art, and relate to art. However, one of the most important things that this program offers to our school is that visual arts is an integral part of student learning and without it may be a little difficult to see the world around us.


Tuesday 02. 9.16

The Artist Lecture Series

From: Frank Juarez

This week I will be sharing with you three programs that I have implemented into my art curriculum at Sheboygan North High School. These programs have broadened my students’ perspective on contemporary art at the local, regional, and national level. The first program is called The Artist Lecture Series, which was started in 2010.


A program must fit a need inside the classroom and it starts with what you think is important for your students’ personal and artistic growth. I believe that an art classroom is more than producing art. It is about being exposed, educated, and engaged in various art practices, processes, and studio culture. The best way to get students excited about art is through the interaction with artists. Artists come from all walks of life and the experiences that these artists have are endless. I am fortunate to have met a lot of artists from my gallery days in Milwaukee (2006). 



The Artist Lecture Series is an in-school program that brings in local and regional artists into my classroom. The format is based on whatever the artist would like to share with my students and their comfort level. I also would like to point out that these visits are open to any North student, faculty, and administrator that wish to join. I have had artists present about their work using a PowerPoint to bringing their work to doing a hands-on demonstration/workshop.




I enjoy seeing my students interact with the artists through discussion, Q & A, and participating in an activity. I do try to maintain a balance between artists from the Sheboygan community and outside of Sheboygan. It is important for my students to see that artists can be successful in our own community and that the art world is not as big as what people seem to think.



Thursday 02. 4.16

What’s the hype with Skype?

From: Frank Juarez

For the past summer I have been working on a personal project focusing on connecting art education with regional contemporary artists. One way of connecting was through the use of Skype. What I found fascinating is how accessible artists and their willingness to interact with students. Keep in mind, not all artists are comfortable talking in front of students. So it is helpful to ask before bringing them into the classroom.

As an art educator, I am often thinking about my students and my art program. I want to provide them as many resources and opportunities as possible. I want to expose, educate, and engage them into a variety of areas that exist within art education and the art world. After all, they do go hand-in-hand.

Before I began to put time and energy into this personal project, I was curious as to how many art educators tap into their local art community and/or invite artists into the classroom. After surveying about 50 art educators via social media, I concluded that a very high percentage shared that they do not invite artists into their classroom because they did not know artists in their community, do not have the budget to pay for artists’ visits, and are new to the profession.

I do believe in providing some type of stipend to artists visiting my classroom. After all, how many times are we asked to do things for free? I would not wish this on any artist. Paying a stipend to visiting artists can get costly, so the next best solution is to take advantage of what we currently have in our classroom and that is technology.

I wanted to introduce my students to artists from all over the country so I approached some artists whom I have been following through social media. One artist whose work I am totally into is the work of Brooklyn-based collage artist, Jay Riggio. I first met Jay via Instagram. From there, I came across one of his stickers in Greenpoint, NY during a visit last summer.

Mikayla1  Mikayla2

Last semester, one of my AP studio art students, Mikayla, was working on a collage and the way she composed her work reminded me of Jay’s work. I knew from that moment that Mikayla had to meet Jay, so I contacted him. I arranged a time and date to Skype him into the classroom. Although the conversation and critique was between the two of them, the entire class was able to observe on the screen. To date, she has been making more collages and I believe making this connection has had a positive impact on her work and growth.

Mikayla3 Mikayla4
Mikayla5 Mikayla6 Mikayla7 Mikayla8

Web Resources: 
Skype with Jay Reggio:
North High Art Department:

Tuesday 02. 2.16

Online Discussions in Real Time

From: Frank Juarez

This past summer I took a technology class at Medford High School. The class introduced me to various educational free apps and software. The one I liked the best was Today’s Meet, Today’s Meet was one of the first backchannel tools built for classroom use and designed as a platform for communication with multiple users in a given session.


What I found interesting about this online resource is the ability to host a classroom discussion where every student is given the opportunity to respond to a prompt, question, or problem. Like many of us, the last thing I need was to worry about another thing to add to my teaching tools, but what I learned about this software is the option to create a transcript of the discussion for later use. To date, I have used these transcripts as a means to assess a lesson’s objectives, check for art vocabulary usage, observations, inferences, discussion points, etc.


Students enjoy using technology. I am all about paper and pencil, but sometimes it is healthy to switch it up and to use the technology for other things rather than surfing the web. Anyone can participate whether a student is using a laptop, iPad, or smartphone whether it is during class or remotely from another location.

A nice result from using Today’s Meet is that I have also used these transcripts as part of my teaching artifacts. As well as to share them with parents during teacher conferences.

Here is a list of suggestions when using Today’s Meet.


* Students should use their last name. No nicknames.
* Their participation will be part of their grade.
* Their responses can be used as discussion points at a later time.
* All and any input is greatly appreciated regardless if it is incorrect.
* Feel free to ask questions or share resources during the classroom activity.

Monday 02. 1.16

Living in the Digital Age

From: Frank Juarez 
Sheboygan North High Art Department Chair

In the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year like many art teachers we think about ways to engage students in art production and documentation. I teach high school art and what I have noticed is that many of my students are on social media. I find them taking photos of their work and sharing it with friends and family. They are very selective as to what they share online. You can see a sense of pride. I began to think how could I take advantage of this in order to showcase what we are doing inside the art classroom, have them contribute to the success of our art program, and continue to share it with world?

As I was walking around the classroom and taking photos of them working on their art projects I had that ‘a-ha’ moment. Why not create a platform so that we can all contribute? I started a collection on Instagram using the hashtag #nhsartdeptsheboygan. To date we have over 200+ posts highlighting student work, works in progress, critiques, artist in residence program, artist lecture series, video, Skype session with artists from across the country, and so much more.


Taking advantage of social media as another way to promote the art department has been instrumental in not only sharing their artistic talents, but also as a way to expose new students coming to Sheboygan North High School to the variety of art that we engage in. Today, my smartphone has replaced my DSLR. I love the immediacy of sharing the photos as I capture the beauty that is being created inside my art classroom.

Friday 01.29.16

Online Art Education: Part Five: Teacher-to-Teacher and Teacher-to-Student    

From: Lisa Kastello, Ed.D.

Teaching and Learning Online

Often people use the term distance learning interchangeably with online learning. However, distance learning existed before the Internet. Mail correspondence courses were the forerunner. The evolution of distance learning to the Internet maintains the flexibility of correspondence courses while providing a more personal and participatory teaching and learning experience. 

One-on-one interactions are very important; student-to-teacher, student-to-student, and small group work. This can be accomplished through web conferencing (virtual classes and webinars), mobile collaborate (live participation in classes and meetings), instant messaging (impromptu meetings, one-to-one collaboration, and student help services), voice authoring (personalize coaching and voice feedback) and much more. These are very flexible ways of meeting as a class and still getting some of the same richness as the face-to-face, on-campus experience. 

As the flexibility of online learning is a draw for students, flexibility is a draw for online professors as well. Online teaching allows for limitless freedom when it comes to lugging around a laptop, standing at a lectern, scribbling on a “smart” board, proctoring tests, and holding office hours. Online instructors are able to live and work wherever there is Internet.

Teacher-to-Teacher Experiences Advice

Teaching and monitoring online art education courses with graduate and undergraduate students is far from easy. The time commitment was incredibly demanding but the flexibility it allowed both the students and me as a full-time elementary art teacher made this format an invaluable asset to us all.

While creating an organized syllabus to facilitate focused discussions based on the week’s readings is highly time-consuming, and involves setting up a protocol and rubric for sharing and responding to other people’s posts, I really appreciate how democratic exchanges of information were between students. During face-to-face instruction, too often one student dominates the conversation, but online, this was not problematic during any of my online courses. By telling students up front that we always have to remember that there are real people with feelings that are reading these posts, we all were able to professionally communicate with each other.

Of course, just as in face-to-face coursework, concerns such as student plagiarism are realities, but even with this challenge, the online format allowed me to easily consult with my university colleagues to address these issues as a team. If the support network is strong, as was the case in my online teaching program, distance did not impede the learning and communication between students and teachers; in fact, it felt like we were all part of a unified family working towards a shared goal. I have nothing but positive recollections of teaching online art education courses.
–Dr. Maria de la Luz Leake


Teacher-to-Student Advice for Online Learning

It is important to manage your own time well in relation for an online class. While people who work full time might be incited to take online classes because it can "fit" with their schedule, it is important to realize that online courses can take more of a time commitment than a face-to-face class. In order to ensure that you get the most out of the online class, make sure that you set a schedule that allows for regular reading, composition of responses to classmates' posts and papers, and preparation of your own work in a timely manner. 

The good and bad: Feeling connected! Over time, an online class allows you to connect with art educators from locations very different than your own, which can broaden your view and extend your thinking about artists, artistic traditions, and educational contexts that you might not encounter otherwise. On the other hand, it can be a challenge to get to know each other because it's pretty unlikely that you will get together, wander to the student union, and chat over a cup of coffee after class! (Rain check until paths cross at the NAEA convention!)
–Dr. Christine Woywod


In closing, I want to thank NAEA for the opportunity to serve as the January Monthly Mentor. Below is my contact information. It would be my pleasure to speak to anyone interested about online learning or online teaching via email, phone, or face-to-face at the upcoming NAEA National Convention in Chicago, March 17-19.

Dr. Lisa Kastello, Assistant Professor of Art Education
Graduate Program Chair in the Department of Art & Art History
University of Nebraska at Kearney, 2506 12th Avenue, FAB 314, Kearney, NE 68849
Tel: 308-627-6224 or Email:

Tuesday 01.26.16

Online Art Education: Part Four: Student-to-Student Experiences and Advice

From: Lisa Kastello, Ed.D.

Student-to-Student Experiences with Online Learning

The thing I really like the best about the online program is that you cannot be just a bystander or a drive-by student. You don't have the option to just sit quietly in the back of the classroom and take notes and leave. With an online program it is required that you are an active participant in your own education. In a regular classroom you turn your papers to the professor and you never get to read what the other students in the class wrote. To be able to read the writing of other classmates has opened up a whole new world.
–K. Johnson Rutledge

Kid Corner -K. Walsh

I thought that I would feel “alone” taking online course. The courses are actually designed to keep you engaged and in contact with your professor and fellow students. My one-to-one interaction with these people was more personal than I have experienced in face-to-face courses. –B. Smith

Untitled -C. DeCoste
Untitled -C. DeCoste

Since I am a parent and a teacher, I do not have the opportunity to get to a brick and mortar campus. The online program allowed me to work on my courses as I had time. Though there are deadlines, they served to keep me on track while not interfering with my family or work time. –Z. Williams

Ladies in Pink (back to back) -N. Leonard
Ladies in Pink (back to back) -N. Leonard

Being in art education, I was always used to the studio experience where everyone was climbing over each other to get supplies. So, the first thing I wanted to do was a studio class and doing it on my own was a little different but when I actually submitted my work and I was seeing how everyone was analyzing my work. Not just saying, “Oh! That is really good formatting.” or something like that. It made me realize that my work wasn’t just being respected by the professors, which I was expecting, but by the other students as well.

One of my best surprises that I had was after doing my very first class with digital photography, the Professor who I didn't talk to since that class sent me an email saying that he still held onto those files and that he would like to put them in an art show. What I thought was just a one and done assignment, was actually held on to and valued and then put into an art show. For art education major to be put into art shows and having that resume built up meant a lot. –N. Leonard

Where the Night Takes Us -N. Leonard
Where the Night Takes Us -N. Leonard

The program I attended had students from 26 states and 6 countries. That is beyond the diversity that I would have experienced in an on campus program. –L. Wolf

Student-to-Student Advice for Online Learning


#1 get a planner! Spend 10-15 minutes at the beginning of each week writing down due dates for each class. It was my lifeline.  –P. Sommers

Graduate Online Art Educator's Exhibition
Graduate Online Art Educator's Exhibition

Keep engaged and get the work turned in earlier instead of later. It can be hard working full-time while taking classes, and I know that's why some can't get it done. But, when the same students are always waiting until the very last moment to turn in their work, it prohibits classmates from being able to respond in a thoughtful manner.

One more thing I would say in the case of group work. Just like middle school, don't be that student who doesn't help. The last group work I had in class one my group member expected me to "text" her with what I needed. She didn't do any work on the project. So, students need to realize when you are working with adults they expect the same things expected as a middle school student... do your fair share. -K. Johnson Rutledge
Summer seems like the ideal time to take courses, but remember that the courses are still 3 credits and they are packed into 6 to 8 weeks as opposed to the regular fall or spring 16 week term. More than two courses per summer can be a hand full. –L. Wolf

Graduate Online Art Educator's Exhibition

Future Mentor of the Month Post for January 2016…

The Wrap Up…A post about teaching online and summation/conclusion/farewell.

Tuesday 01.19.16

Online Art Education: Part Three: Why Earn a Masters?

From: Lisa Kastello, Ed.D.

I can remember the day that I knew I needed to pursue my masters in art education. (Note: My initial intention in pursuing a Masters was a studio MFA in ceramics.)The high school art program was listed in the top five programs to be considered during district wide budget cuts. I asked all of the students to write a one page description of what their high school experience would be, from this day forward, if this was the last day of visual arts in their high school. After reading those letters, I knew that their passion for the arts fueled my passion for teaching. Making a difference in art education meant learning how to be an art teacher/leader.


In my experience as a professor who teaches students in an online MAEd in Art Education Program, art teachers enter master programs for one or more of these four reasons:

1. Move up on the salary schedule
2. Qualify for a new position
3. Theory informed practice in the classroom
4. Build skills in arts advocacy

Here is what students with their master’s degree say about the importance of earning a masters:

If your understanding of art isn't about this magnificent painting on the wall or the sculpture that you cannot touch in the museum, it's about visual images we encounter every day. If you get that you understand art education is ever changing. It's not stagnant. That means that we have to constantly be working, interacting with other artists and other educators all throughout the nation, if not throughout the world to really up our lessons and what we are doing in the classroom. By doing that, I am increasing student engagement because what we're learning about is totally relevant to the student’s lives.
—Courtney Mimick 


Art teachers should pursue a masters because it helps you define your purpose as a teacher and person of your community. The more subject knowledge you have, the better you can teach specific knowledge. The more experience you have, the better you can hone your teaching practice. And working together with other professionals (students) gives you inspiration, ideas, and knowledge without having to learn it yourself!
—Pamela Sommers


I believe that there are many reasons for art educators to pursue a graduate degree.  The following is a list of reasons that I feel influenced my decision to pursue higher education:
1. Learning should be a lifelong process.
2. Fine art teachers are generally in a minority in school systems.  Being active in study gives you more peer exposure.
3. Graduate study introduces teachers to new and important pedagogy in their field of study.
4. Teachers must be savvy to new technology to enhance the learning process.
5. Being better educated in your field should increase your expertise and gain respect of your opinions.
6. Graduate degrees increase your salary and make you a better candidate for job openings.
7. Having a graduate degree may enable you to teach on the college level.
—Denys Marcum

I believe art education teachers should pursue a master’s degree for a few reasons. One obvious reason being that with a more advanced degree, teachers have more career opportunities. What I mean by this is with a masters degree, I would be able to teach students at a higher level than K-12 if I chose to do so. If I wanted to teach at the college level, I now have that opportunity.

Another, more important reason that art teachers should pursue a masters degree is to improve their craft. Now that I have completed a masters program, I feel very accomplished and more confident in the classroom. I feel that I have made a statement by obtaining my degree and that statement is that I care enough about my students and teaching practice to take my education to the next level. Pursuing a master’s degree has opened up my eyes to a lot in education and has helped me improve what I do in the classroom.
—Megan Jones

1. Staying connected to your craft and people in your area of expertise!
2. Learning about, improving collaboration, building on skills in your classroom and with your peers, connecting to new practices, learning new ways to work with kids in this era of "techi-ness!"
3. Satisfy intellectual curiosity! SPARK passion!
4. Do it for your students and your team! Your actions can and will inspire others!
5. Never be satisfied with where you are in your career. Your master’s degree should be something that you do for yourself, don't do it to appease someone! Do it for you!
6. By studying in your content area, you are showing not only your students, but your peers that you are committed to your craft, your learning and their learning.
7. Personal growth, a great sense of accomplishment, recognition from your district/peers/administration.
8. Financial: The potential to move on your pay scale increases with more hours towards degrees and the opportunity to work after school hours or during the summers at a college/university to not only "pay it forward" but to make additional money as an instructor.
—Kalle Wamsat

Why do you think a master’s degree important?

Future Mentor of the Month Posts for January 2016…
* What do students say about their experiences with online learning.
* Students share their advice for online learning.
* And more…

Monday 01.11.16

Online Art Education: Part Two: An Online Program that Fits Your Needs

From: Lisa Kastello, Ed.D.

Part Two: An Online Program that Fits Your Needs
When looking for a Masters in Art Education online program it is important to use the same set of criteria for each program considered:

* Does the university, who hosts the program, have approval to offer online degrees in the state in which you live?
* Is the program accredited by a national accreditation body such as the Higher Learning Commission or Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation or one of the regional accrediting bodies?

(Six major regional accrediting bodies are: The Middle States, The New England Association, The North Central Association, The Northwest Association, The Southern Association and the Western Association.)


* Is the degree program completely online or is there a requirement for time on-campus?
* What are the enrollment requirements (GPA, standardized test scores, etc.)?
* What are the credit requirements and what are the transfer credit policies?
* Are there specialized software program requirements or additional fees for textbooks and learning aids?
* Are the courses synchronous (set meeting time) or asynchronous (no required same time meeting)?
* Do all of the education instructors have their doctorate and do all of the studio instructors have their MFA?
* What is the cost per credit hour and what are the qualifications for financial aid or scholarships?

Bb  Cost

Future Mentor of the Month Posts for January 2016…
* Rationale for earning a masters degree.
* What do students say about online learning.
* And more…