DCSD art teacher named Middle School Teacher of the Year by Colorado Art Education Association
Ideas and creative juices flow throughout Kim Chlumsky’s art class. Students spread out at various tables and work on everything from painting with recycled items, comic book art drawings, logo design, drawing with pencil and paper, and so much more.
“She is not like most teachers. Very different. When you walk in she always has a smile on and she gives us time to just free draw or she provides a topic and we create something that comes to mind. She gives us all these varieties and options of what we want to do and try. Always, on Friday we get to create whatever we want with our art project. And the projects in here are always so fun. They are easily my favorite. I love her classes so much I am going to try to take all of them before I leave Rocky heights,” says Remy Arnold, a seventh-grader.
Recently, Kim was named the 2017 Colorado Art Education Association Middle School Art Teacher of the Year. The honor didn’t seem to surprise anyone, except Kim.
“It was a no-brainer. Kim is amazing. There is so much artwork throughout the building and it’s all been inspired because of Kim. Kim is also an artist herself, so she brings that love and passion for it into the classroom," says Celine Wicks, Rocky Heights Principal.
“I wasn’t really surprised. I had her last year. I love all the different drawings, paintings, and we do all hands on activities. She allows us to explore and try new things and gives us a really wide variety of options,” says Remy Arnold.
“It is a really big honor and a complete surprise. The Colorado Art Education Association is really just so awesome. They give teachers a lot of opportunities and also provide a lot of information on the art advocacy piece in keeping arts in school and giving students the best opportunities to keep them going,” says Kim Chlumsky.
Kim made Rocky Heights her home 13 years ago when she started her teacher career. She was a student teacher for a semester and was then hired on as a fulltime art teacher. She now serves as a department chair and has several different art classes offered to students throughout the day. Art classes became so popular that Rocky Heights hired two more art teachers to help keep up with the demand.
“There are tons of kids in here. We actually had to add another art teacher to our program because of all the work Kim has done and how she has increased the program over the years,” says Celine.
Kim’s passion for art and creativity exudes throughout her teaching. As an artist herself, she is able to connect with her students in ways her students say other teachers can’t.
“I think it really helps and makes an impact that she is also an artist. I almost have like an artist bond with her, since I am an artist too. It’s easier to understand each other because we both just know what it’s like being an artist," says Lindsey Bucsh, an eighth-grader.
One of many reasons why Kim was chosen as the Art Teacher of the Year, is her ability to think outside the box and challenge what many kids think about creating traditional art. Instead, she utilizes new technology. Her classroom is filled with state-of-the-art technology, printing programs and 3D printers.
“I like to push the boundaries of drawing. For so long we have always associated it with paper and pencil, but it doesn’t have to be. So we look for other ways to use those same ideas but make them different,” says Kim.
The innovation and creativity Kim uses inside her classrooms are all reasons why she is standing out, not only as a teacher at Rocky Heights but across the state.