Chillicothe High School Art teacher Susan Elson has been selected as Missouri Art Educator of the Year.

The announcement was made before the Chillicothe R-2 Board of Education last Tuesday (Jan. 15).

Elson has taught in the Chillicothe R-2 School District for 13 years, with a total of 28 years under her belt.

As a classroom teacher, Elson is known for engaging students in experiencing art in a deep and meaningful way, respecting and encouraging their creative growth and development. She displays her students' work around the community, and hosts a yearly Spring art show at Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center.

Elson's students participate in art shows and competitions both at the local and state levels. Her students also participate in the international humanitarian effort "The Memory Project."

Elson lives in Linneus with her husband Greg, who teaches at Kirksville Middle School. Having sent her two children, Michael and Rachel, off to college, she is dedicated to teaching and doing her own art.

She has been active in the Missouri Art Education Association, having served as a council member for several years before assuming the Presidency from 2006-2008.

Under Elson's leadership, the Association saw its student membership increase, communications become more streamlined and efficient, and volunteerism increase as she provided opportunities and encouraged members to become more involved.

Elson continued that passion onto the National level, having participated in Western Region activities and committees, presenting at national conventions, and running for office. She currently advocates Missouri Art educators as a past president and student and first year advisor.

Elson is also an accomplished practicing visual artist, actively participating in shows and juried exhibitions, most notably having recently had a painting exhibited at the Albright Kemper Museum of Art, winning an Honorable Mention for her work.

The Missouri Arts Education Association presents the Missouri Art Educator of the Year award at their spring conference, which, this year, will be in Springfield March 21-24, at the University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center. The award is presented by the MAEA awards chair and the MAEA president at the conference. Candidates are nominated by peers, and voted on by a committee of past award recipients.

Criteria for the award includes school/student involvement, community involvement, publications, art shows, state MAEA involvement, and National Art Education Association involvement. There are awards for elementary, middle school, high school, higher education, museum, curriculum/supervision, art educators of the year, and the Art Educator of the Year.