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Two NAEA secondary division members, Althea Thompson (top) and Barbara Nikoo-Manesh, have been selected from a national pool of applicants and nominees for this year’s NAEA/MIAD Creative Educator Award. This award is a part of Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) NAEA Co-sponsored Academy program, the Creative Educators Institute 2007.

Now in its second year, The Creative Educator Award is given to two NAEA member secondary level educators who demonstrate excellence in teaching, particularly in incorporating technology and/or design as a part of their art curriculum.

With the award each recipient receives a full scholarship to attend MIAD’s summer Creative Educators Institute 2007 (CEI) (tuition and housing). They also receive a full scholarship for one of their high school students to attend MIAD’s summer 2007 Pre-College MAJORS program (tuition, room/board and supplies).

Barbara Nikoo-Manesh teaches studio art and environmental design at Olathe East High School. She is both a NAEA member and a member of the NAEA Built Environment Issues Group (BEIG). In addition to the excellent work that she does with her students, she has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards including being named Environmental Educator of the Year, 1989 (from the American Institute of Architects, Kansas City Chapter) and the recipient of the Shooting Star Teacher Grant (twice), College Now and Action Research grants.

Some of the projects that Barbara has done with her students include educational toy design for an early childhood learning center in her community, furniture design, an environmental design/women in design mentoring program and architectural Cityscape design/renderings.

Althea Thompson teaches studio art and design at the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati, Ohio. As Chair of the Visual Arts Department at SPCA, she has built partnerships with many professional arts organizations in the Cincinnati area including the Contemporary Arts Center, the Taft Museum of Art, the Cincinnati Art Museum and with institutions of higher learning including the Art Academy of Cincinnati and the University of Cincinnati, creating an abundance of art opportunities for her students outside of the school environment.

Working across disciplines to address the needs of her students Althea designed a Chemistry for Art course enabling her students to produce glass from foundation chemicals. She seamlessly weaves technology through her courses, and also integrates elements of other art forms such as music, dance and creative writing into her courses, initiating successful performance collaborations between departments at SPCA.