Lessons Learned and Looking Forward: School Years 2020–2021 and 2021–2022

NAEA Town Hall Conversations | April 20, 2021

Lessons Learned and Looking Forward: School Years 2020–2021 and 2021–2022

View the April 20 recording here

Download the accompanying handout here

The school year 2020–2021 presented unique challenges that initiated tremendous innovation, creative problem solving, taking a deeper look at our society and selves, and bridging the gap of connectivity during this time of isolation. We each have a one-of-a-kind story from the past year, as well as great takeaways that emerged from the necessity of creating a “new normal” that was nothing like anything we’ve experienced. How do we make the most of what we’ve learned, taking it with us as we begin the shift into another school year that will likely be different as well? What will help us to move forward in the most positive way for our learners, our communities, and ourselves?

Complete information on all NAEA Town Hall Conversations is available here.


Anna Pilhoefer
Elementary Art Teacher, Santa Barbara Unified School District, Santa Barbara, CA

Anna Pilhoefer is a transitional K–6 elementary visual arts educator at Cleveland Elementary School in Santa Barbara, California. Pilhoefer became a credentialed teacher after working as a teaching artist for the juvenile justice system and the Housing Authority on the US–Mexico border of El Paso, Texas. Pilhoefer has held teaching and leadership roles in district, school site, and nonprofit organizations over the past 21 years. She is an inaugural member of both the National Art Education Association’s and California Art Education Association’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Commissions. Pilhoefer served as a member of the California Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee in support of the state’s newly adopted Visual and Performing Arts Standards. Pilhoefer is also a cofounder of the grassroots organization Association of Raza Educators chapter in Santa Barbara, California. Pilhoefer received her BFA in studio arts and her MA in art education, and she has completed everything except her dissertation for the doctoral program in educational leadership from The University of Texas at El Paso.

Karen Rosner
Director of Visual Arts, New York City Department of Education, New York, NY

Karen Rosner is the director of visual arts for the New York City Department of Education, supervising initiatives that support visual arts educators citywide. Rosner creates curriculum resources and professional development opportunities for art teachers and programs for students, and she also oversees the annual P. S. Art exhibition of student artwork at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Rosner developed the DiverCity Lens program for middle and high school photography students, which culminate each June in an exhibition of student photography and text. She cosupervises the Judiciary and the Arts program, a collaboration with the Second Appellate Court, which encourages students to explore the historic role of the federal courts in the development of the law in the United States by using visual arts. Rosner served on the writing team for the revised New York State Learning Standards for Visual Arts. She has a master’s degree in art history from Hunter College at CUNY and is a weekend volunteer at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

James Wells
Innovative Teaching and Learning Manager, Crayola, Cordova, TN

James Wells is the innovative teaching and learning manager at Crayola. He brings his creative energy and leadership to every Crayola Education training session, engaging participants to think differently. Wells has been dedicated to supporting the arts in schools by working closely with students, teachers, and administrators in Tennessee and across the United States. Previously, Wells was the fine arts instructional advisor for the Shelby County School District in Memphis, Tennessee, and the art education coordinator for the Tennessee Arts Commission in Nashville. He has participated in leading numerous initiatives that keep art at the forefront of education, including revising art standards for the state of Tennessee. As the education programs manager for the Culture & Heritage Museums in Rock Hill, South Carolina, he also designed educational programs for school groups and families. James is a board member with the Tennessee Art Education Association, and is a board trustee with the National Art Education Foundation. He is a 2017 graduate of the NAEA School for Art Leaders program.

Ray Yang
Visual Art Teacher and Grade Level Dean, University Prep, Seattle, WA

Ray Yang teaches visual arts at an independent school in Seattle, Washington, as well as working as a teaching artist and facilitator in their community. Their long and winding path to the classroom has led them to work at community art centers; partner with museums to design teen programming; teach graduate-level classes; work as an administrator in a large urban district; design curriculum and assessments; and facilitate diversity, equity, and inclusion work. A born-and-raised New Yorker, Yang attended Brown University for undergraduate work and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to complete a master’s degree in art education. With over 20 years of experience in art education, Yang is passionate about social justice in art education and believes that the arts are a method of creating a more just and equitable society, providing an outlet for students to advocate for themselves, educate others, and express their experiences in the world. They are also a comic book nerd and Ultimate Frisbee play.

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