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Lifetime Achievement Award

John Michael Gray – Newton Public Schools, Newton MA

John Michael started his career in 1975 as a Fine Arts Consultant for the New Hampshire Department of Education working with school districts across the state on Arts Education programming.  He then became Fine Arts Coordinator for the Newton Public Schools retiring in 2008.

During this time, he also managed a visual arts and writing awards program for Massachusetts students, affiliated with a national program conducted by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, on which he also served as a Member of the Board of Directors. In addition he was Program Co-director of the Boston Globe’s Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, along with his life partner and husband, Tim O’Connor and together they created a program that was national acknowledge for its excellence!

Serving on numerous state and national boards and committees over the years, John Michael’s impact on  Massachusetts Art Educators Association began in 1972 when it was just a small state group and he was one of the founding board members when we transitioned to an affiliate of the then newly organized NAEA in the 1980s.    

Serving  as president of MAEA, from 1991 through 1994,  he became treasurer in 1995, a role in which he served for the next 30 years! Together Tim and John Michael also organized the MAEA conferences for most of those  years and also ran the New England Art Ed Conferences which were attended by teacher from across the six states.

Over the years, John Michael has received countless awards and honors, among them the 2009 Kennedy Center Excellence in School Administration Award, the National Art Education Association’s 2000 Educator of the Year, the New Hampshire State Art Educator Award in 1983, and Massachusetts Art Educator of the Year in 2011 to name just a few.

His bio would not be complete, however without the inclusion of one of his greatest achievement which he shared with his husband Tim.  The duo was known as the Hat Sisters,  an  idea that started in 1984 as John Michael was preparing for the second ever Provincetown Carnival celebration.  He made costumes for himself and Tim, which included identical dresses and huge hats. The popularity of that effort mushroomed into a significant number of charitable events over the next  32 years, raising significant amounts of money for a variety of causes and cementing friendships all over the world.

We take our hats off to this duo and are proud to honor John Michael Gray,  posthumously, with the first ever, Massachusetts Art Education Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

The MAEA Board of Directors are looking forward to honoring and celebrating the 2019 MAEA Art Educators of the Year at the 2019 NAEA Convention in Boston and we hope you will join us!

The awards ceremony has been scheduled for March 16, 2019 at 11:00 – 11:50 a.m. in Meeting Room 310/Center at the Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston Street, Boston, MA. Registration for the NAEA Convention is NOT required to attend the MAEA Awards Ceremony.

The awards ceremony has been scheduled for March 16, 2019 at 11:00 – 11:50 a.m. in Meeting Room 310/Center at the Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston Street, Boston, MA. Registration for the NAEA Convention is NOT required to attend the MAEA Awards Ceremony.