North Star Art Teacher Receives Award

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By: Kyler Johnson/ GG Editor-in-Chief

The Nebraska Art Teachers Association (NATA) recently held a statewide award conference in McCook on Sept. 30. Ten different awards were handed out recognizing teachers from all across Nebraska for their contributions in the world of art education.

North Star’s own Ms. Jocelyn Reiss was one of the recipients of this year’s awards. She won The Secondary Art Educator of The Year Award. Reiss said, “ I was very honored to get that recognition,” and in her acceptance speech she quoted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artist Carlos Santana from an NPR interview back in 2014 when he said, “I’m only a reflection of your light.”

That Santana quote has stuck with Reiss. Reiss said, “I’m only as good as I can be because I have this community and support network,” which include her friends, family, and colleagues.

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Ms. Reiss teaches her Beginning Photography students during eighth period. Photo by Kyler Johnson/GG Editor-in-chief

Reiss has done a lot of work over the past couple of years. She is currently the NATA Exhibition co-chair and travels around the state talking to other art educators telling them how exhibits can be used and she also stresses the importance of state standards. 

Last summer, she went to an international writing conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she did a presentation. She also recently spoke at an art conference in Chicago. Reiss said, “I’ve been busy at the district level, state level, and even the international level.”

Reiss said, “I feel the art department is strong and we’ve come a long way.” She gives props to Mrs. Lynette Fast who has “built the culture” of the department. Last year, many North Star students took home Silver Keys and earned Honorable Mentions in the Scholastic Arts Awards. One student was even awarded a Gold Key. North Star’s Art Department is a “special place with a special combination of people,” said Reiss.

Reiss teaches Beginning Photography, Advanced Photography and Beginning Jewelry. Reiss said photography has “so many voices and stories that should be told and that’s imperative for these stories to be told.” She also said, “The more we hear these stories, we can become more pluralistic as a society and I feel that is very important and very powerful.”

At the end of the day, Reiss said her goal is to teach “visual literacy and critical thinking.” She doesn’t know if it’ll change the world, but it may change people’s lives.