Ouellette earns arts education distinction

The Awards Committee of the New Hampshire Art Educators Association recently announced that Hollis-Brookline Middle School Art educator Lynne Ouellette has been named New Hampshire Art Educator of the Year for 2020-2021.

Ouellette has been on the faculty at Hollis-Brookline since 2011, after having spent two years teaching art at Nashua Catholic Jr. High School. Her credentials as an art educator are clearly reflected in her creativity and enthusiasm working with students, colleagues and community members both inside and outside of the classroom.

As an educator, Ms. Ouellette brings best teaching practices to her classroom by incorporating current state arts competencies and STEAM integration ideas into her program. As she says in her Philosophy Statement: ‘Art is a representative of the constantly evolving human experience. As a visual arts teacher I question my students to inspire the creative and insightful critical thinking skills they will need for this ever- changing world.” Whether involved with creating ceiling tile murals or kinetic sound sculptures, students are encouraged to be independent thinkers and problem-solvers. Colleague Jenn MacLeod summarizes her recommendation for Ms. Ouellette this way: “Lynne is deeply passionate about her subject, has the ability to convey instruction clearly, and she has the perfect personality to bestow equal doses of encouragement and constructive feedback. I sincerely feel there is no other art teacher more deserving of this honor.”

Ouellette’s energy brings students outside the classroom as well, to museums such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Currier Museum, and Andres Institute Sculpture Garden. Reflective writing is a large part of her students’ experience as they learn about artists, art styles and processes as it relates to their own work. “My teaching approach includes a combination of methods to accommodate the different learning styles of each student. Visual art lessons should be delivered utilizing demonstrations, discussions, collaborative learning, multi-media instruction, and of course, hands-on project -based learning.”

A deep belief in the importance of community has inspired Ms. Ouellette to involve her students in a number of enrichments outside the classroom, including the Empty Bowls Project, Mural Project to beautify the school, and the UKA (U-Knighted for All) an anti-bullying club that sponsors many events within the school. These involvements speak to her own kindness and belief that civic values can be taught, role modeled, and encouraged in young people, and that teachers have a unique opportunity to reach many of their students profoundly.

In addition to all that she does for her school community, Ms. Ouellette has been active in her professional organization, the New Hampshire Art Educators Association. As Secretary she has taken a leadership role, both at the State and National level. She has also presented at the State Conference for NHAEA, exhibited student work at the Youth Art Month and NH. Scholastic Art exhibitions, and participated in a number of national conferences and leadership meetings sponsored by the National Art Education Association. One of her students has received the Youth Art Month Governor’s Choice award for 2020.

Lynne Ouellette is an inspiration to all who see the role of teaching as a way to truly bring out the best in her students, and profoundly enriches art education in our state.

“Children and teens need nurturing and guidance. I am a teacher because I want to be a positive force in students’ lives. I am an artist because of my mother. Her enthusiasm as an artist led her to experiment in many mediums. She found inspiration with each new endeavor and never hesitated to share her excitement with me. I bring both worlds together as an art teacher, to inspire and guide students in the creative pursuit of becoming all that they can be.”