NAEA Town Hall | What I Wish I Knew Before I Started Teaching: Advice For Preservice & Early Career Teachers

NAEA Town Hall: What I Wish I Knew Before I Started Teaching: Advice For Preservice & Early Career Teachers 
Thursday, May 9, 2024
Cost: FREE!

Join us for a Town Hall conversation with educators as they share invaluable insights and advice for preservice and early career art educators, offering candid reflections on what they wish they knew before embarking on their teaching journey. Discover practical tips and strategies to navigate the joys and challenges of the classroom, empowering you to thrive as an art educator.

Please note that participation in this Town Hall does not include NAEA professional development credit.

Vernon Fains

Secondary Art Educator, Baltimore County Public Schools

Vernon Fains attended the Maryland Institute College of Art where he earned his BFA in Visual Communications. He earned a BS in Art History and K12 Certification at Towson University, where he also received his MA in Art Education. He currently teaches Grades 68 and students in the Communication and Learning Supports for Students With Autism (CALS) Program. He is the department chair, as well as a cross country and track and field coach, at Pine Grove Middle. Vernon also serves as a mentor to emerging and aspiring educators in the middle school classroom and as an adjunct professor with Towson University 

Vernon has recently taken on the role with his state association as Vice President of Advocacy. His work in advocacy began as a Teachers Association of Baltimore County board member and a board liaison for the Minority Affairs Committee. He is part of the advisory team with the Anti-Racist Art Teachers. He also serves on the leadership team with National Education Association Leaders for Just Schools, which focuses on developing just and equitable learning environments for students and educators. 

Vernon believes art education is an essential part of a holistic learning journey for students of all ages. 

Abby Birhanu

Secondary Art Educator, School District of Clayton

Abby Birhanu (she/her) is an artist and educator with a passion for fostering creativity and confidence in her students. With experience teaching middle and high school, she believes deeply in the transformative power of art education. Abby embraces choice-based art and Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) pedagogies. 

Her involvement in the Fulbright Teachers Exchange Program, where she served as an exchange teacher to the United Kingdom, was a pivotal experience that reinforced her dedication to cross-cultural learning and teaching. Abby loves traveling and actively takes opportunities to engage in educational and cultural exchange opportunities. 

As an advocate for equity and inclusivity in education, Abby is committed to antiracist, antibias, and culturally responsive teaching. She strives to cultivate global citizens who appreciate and contribute to our diverse interconnected world community. 

Devon Calvert

K-3 Art Educator, School District of Milton; NAEA Elementary Division Director

Devon Calvert is an art educator who has shared his love of all art historyrelated with his K3 students in Milton, Wisconsin, for the past 9 years. He is involved in the National Art Education Association, where he is Elementary Division Director. Devon has presented at the state and national levels on digital and contemporary art in the elementary classroom. 

When he is not busy teaching, Devon enjoys hiking; painting; watching movies; remodeling his home; and hanging out with his wife, Julia, and puppy, Birdie. 

Jesse Todero

K-3 Art Teacher, Muhlenberg School District; NAEA Preservice Division Director

Jesse Todero is a K–3 art teacher currently finishing her 3rd year. Jesse completed her undergraduate degree from the Kutztown University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Art Education, Bachelor of Art in Art History, and a minor in crafts. She is serving on the National Art Education Association Board of Directors as the Preservice Division Director. Jesse is also working toward her masters degree in art education through The Art of Education University. At the core of her teaching philosophy is student-centered learning and building a strong classroom community. 

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