Ellis Faculty Member Wins Art Educator Award

Lower School Visual Arts Teacher Sarah Ceurvorst has been recognized for her stellar work in the studio with the 2017 Pennsylvania Art Education Association (PAEA) Early Career Art Educator Award. Distributed annually to increase awareness of quality teachers and programs within the state, the PAEA Early Career Art Educator Award is awarded to an exemplary art educator with up to five years experience.
In her third year at Ellis, Ms. Ceurvorst teaches art to students in pre-kindergarten through grade 4. An alumna of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Ms. Ceurvorst is passionate about the intersection of art and social justice issues and looks at making art as a powerful tool of communication and confidence for Ellis’ youngest learners.

Ms. Ceurvorst also serves as an assistant art teacher for Social Change 101 at CMU and as a volunteer for the Son-Rise Program where she helps autistic children build social and developmental skills. This past summer, she traveled to Israel with Classrooms Without Borders to explore Israeli art and culture and plans to incorporate her experience into programming for the 2017–2018 school year.

During her time at Ellis, Ms. Ceurvorst has not only earned the admiration of Ellis girls but the respect and regard of the Ellis Visual Arts Faculty who nominated her for the PAEA award. A truly enthusiastic and vibrant member of the community, Ms. Ceurvorst teaches students with compassion, challenge, and commitment. It’s no surprise that tiny hands reach to her for hugs while she’s walking around campus.

As a way to applaud Ms. Ceurvorst for her PAEA recognition, Ellis asked her arts colleagues Linda Tonetti Dugan (LTD), Belle Moldovan (BM), Ceil Sturdevant (CS), and Sara Sturdevant (SS), to share a few words about her.

Why do you think Ms. Ceurvorst is deserving of the Early Career Art Educator Award?

LTD: Sarah earned this award because of her dedication to her students and to the field of art education. Her commitment to integrating art and social justice is visionary, and she is a natural born educator who is wise beyond her years. Sarah is a teacher who makes a difference inside and outside of the Ellis community.

BM: Sarah's talent, professionalism, and ability to connect with her students set her above the bar as a young educator.

CS: The first time I saw Sarah with Lower School students, she had them excited and energized about exploring their ideas and voices through art. Sarah doesn’t just sit back and fire off assignments, she interacts with the students on their level so they can understand different concepts, methods, and artist techniques. It’s always a pleasure for me to hear her students running excitedly to the art studio in anticipation of her class.

SS: Sarah is an exceptional teacher, a vibrant and central member of the visual arts faculty, and a young professional with remarkable potential to shape students through art education. She is an educator with enormous potential and one that will continue to highlight the studio as the center of empathy, innovation, and creativity.

What does Ms. Ceurvorst bring to the Ellis classroom that is so valuable to young learners? What does she bring to the visual arts department?

LTD: Sarah’s educational background, international teaching experience, and activism bring an intelligent, innovative, and fresh approach to her students in the studio. Her positive attitude and enthusiasm for the arts make her an absolute delight to work with on a daily basis. She may be the youngest in our department, but she's a wise, old soul on so many levels!

BM: Whenever I encounter Sarah with her students, I see a teacher who seeks to know each individual girl on a personal level. She consistently encourages them to engage and grow through their art experience.

CS: Sarah’s enthusiasm in the classroom gets her students excited, engaged, and eager to use their imagination and creative powers in their art. She is a positive team player who is always ready to lend a hand when needed.

SS: Art is alive, meaningful, and a touchstone for conversation, questions, and great confidence in the Lower School Studio under Sarah’s direction. Her studio is a safe and supportive place to take a risk and reflect on how to try again. As a colleague, she is a source of inspiration as well as expertise. She has real facility in a wide range of media and her introduction of digital tools to Lower School artists has transformed the program.

What's one word you would use to describe Sarah?

LTD: Insightful.

BM: Heart-feeling.

CS: Energizing.

SS: Invested.
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