NAEA Monthly Mentor

Engage with the Monthly Mentor through the NAEA blog!

Debi West

Debi West, Ed.S, NBCT (March)

Hi! I’m Debi West and I’ve been teaching children through the visual arts for 24 years in Gwinnett County Georgia. Art Education is my passion, it’s my hobby and it’s my favorite thing to do. I adore kids, ALL kids, in fact I taught at the elementary level for 14 years opening 3 new schools in the county and starting up new visual art programs that were theme-based in nature. 10 years ago I moved to the secondary level where I am now the Department Chair at North Gwinnett High School and I have the honor of teaching 185 amazing kiddos this year! I currently teach intro art (formally known as Visual Comp I and II), two art II courses (formally known as Draw/Paint), AP and a SteAm-based course we designed and implemented 3 years ago called CONNECT. This CONNECT course currently is home to 48 freshmen who receive 3 credit hours (bio, language arts and intro art) in a 2 period team taught course. I work with 2 fantastic teachers and our team of 3 infuse the arts via project based learning and real world challenges.

I received my BFA in Studio Art from the University of South Carolina, my teaching certificate from the Moore College of Art and Design, my MAEd, my Ed.S and my “almost” Ph.D from the University of Georgia – so on top of being a passionate art educator, I am also a passionate life-long learner. I have written 8 visual art teaching guides for all levels and am a consultant with ArtsNOW, a writer for the High Museum of Art and have given over 80 motivational speeches across the nation…my new passion is teaching teachers! I am also very involved in the GAEA and the NAEA and have served on both boards in numerous positions. I can’t imagine not being a part of my professional organizations.

So…that brings me to this month’s NAEA blog – Monthly Mentors. I was thrilled to write an “Art with Purpose” blog via this venue back in January of 2010 and 7 years later, I’m excited to be back and during one of my favorite months nonetheless…YOUTH ART MONTH (formally known as YAM – lol)! I am excited to share some important information about this amazing event and some simple, easy and fun projects that your students can participate in. Remember, YAM is our nation’s number 1 advocacy tool so let’s all use it well!