Middle Level Art Educator of the Year

Justin Williams – Miscoe Hill Middle School, Mendon

Justin Williams has been a middle school visual arts educator since 2020 at Miscoe Hill Middle School in Mendon. Justin believes in student centered learning that teaches foundational art skills, but also focuses on the individual needs and interests of each student. He emphasizes hands-on experiential learning where students actively create and build their understanding of art.

Justin encourages artists to use the skills and artistic styles they have learned and combine them with relevant subject matter to come up with individual works. Through this integration, he incorporates individualized perspectives and cultural elements into the art curriculum to make it relatable, inclusive, and accessible to students. Artists are encouraged to take ownership of their artistic journey and explore personal expression. Justin encourages creativity to foster a supportive open-minded environment that encourages students to take risks. He emphasizes the value of the artistic process rather than just the final product. He works hard to ensure that all students have a safe space to create art and one that promotes confidence and creativity. Justin emphasizes mental health and social-emotional wellness.

Artists in Justin’s class follow an inquiry-based approach helping them connect to the real world with the idea that learning is lifelong. Justin embeds growth-mindset ideology in his classroom and encourages students to ask questions and investigate artistic concepts independently. Each student truly is an artist and his class is the blank canvas for self-expression.