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Newton selected top of her craft among art instructors

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By Stephen Thomas

CLERMONT -- Kimberly Newton genuinely loves the two things she does for a living: art and teaching.

The Bernheim Middle art instructor was recognized for efforts in both, named as the 2009-10 Kentucky Art Education Association (KAEA) Middle School Teacher of the Year during a presentation at the University of Kentucky Art Museum.

“It’s a big honor,” said Newton. “It’s a very sought-after award.”

The KAEA is a professional organization of more than 250 art teachers. Members vote annually on nominations received for the award.

Newton’s nomination was presented by friend and fellow KAEA member Jennifer Fritsch, an instructor at Glasgow Middle School in Hart County.

The Art Teacher of the Year award is selected based upon visual arts including classroom performance and caliber of work, along with professional development at the state level.

In recent years Newton spearheaded art exhibits at Bernheim, allowing students to display artwork, perform music and present dance routines.

Newton admitted that Bernheim hosting last year’s KAEA conference helped with her nomination. The annual conference showcases teachers’ works alongside their students’ contributions.

"With the event at BMS they saw a lot of my art program,” she said. “That was a big help.”

Newton was also recognized as KAEA’s president-elect, previously serving as the group’s committee chair. That vacancy will be filled by Bullitt Lick Middle art instructor Amy Rucci.