Jess-Three-HeadshotsHi, I’m Jessica Balsley, founder of The Art of Education.

A few years ago, I was working towards my masters degree, and discovered it was nearly impossible to find relevant professional development opportunities out there for art teachers.  Through this personal experience, the idea for The Art of Education was born.

After that, my husband Derek and I set out on a mission to provide Ridiculously Relevant™ Professional Development to Art Educators around the world.  What started as a blog, quickly morphed into a catalog of 15+ online classes for Art Teachers, and an online magazine with daily articles, tips, tricks, videos, and the first ever online conference just for art teachers.

As art educators, we all speak the same language… We just “get” each other! AOE is your place to feel at home – to interact with and learn from Art Teachers just like you from all around the world. AOE is a place where we can address the issues that matter to us all.

As a former K-5 Art Teacher, current higher-ed instructor, wife, mother, and entrepreneur, I understand what you are going through every day. AOE exists to help empower you to thrive in your profession, to reignite your passion for teaching, and help you discover that one small tweak you can make in your teaching to change your life and career for the better.

Read Articles by Jessica  |  Contact Jessica  |  Book Jessica


Welcome to the Art of Education,





Contact AOE


  • 515.650.3198
  • 8-6 Monday-Friday


[email protected] We usually respond within 8 hours.


The Art of Education   518 Main Street, Suite A Osage, IA 50461



AOE = Art Teachers

AOE is proud to serve Art Teachers exclusively. We live and breathe art ed, and leverage the internet so wherever you teach… in the big city, in the suburbs, or in the middle of nowhere… you can access AOE professional development opportunities equally. We offer fully accredited online classes for license renewal, online conferences which you can attend from the comfort of home, not to mention daily articles, tips, tricks, videos, and more to help inspire you to career success!


Classes Round IconOnline Classes

Ridiculously Relevant™ online classes, just for Art Teachers. 16 fully-accredited and transferrable degree-level courses.

Classes Round IconOnline Events

Live events covering the most controversial & trending topics in Art Ed. Interact live with AOE Leaders and teachers from around the world.

Classes Round IconOnline Magazine

Daily articles, tips, tricks, and classroom strategies just for art teachers. 100% relevant to art ed, and 100% free – hard to beat that!

Classes Round IconLessons

Simple 1-page downloadable lesson plans designed and tested by real art teachers. Creative based outcomes – guaranteed.

Speaking Round IconSpeaking

Book Jessica or another AOE team member to speak at your next art ed event! Large events only please, including conference keynotes.

Classes Round IconVideos

Follow along with the AOE Team as they share tips, tricks, and practical ideas you can put to use in your art room, tomorrow!


Work With Us

Would you like to work with The Art of Education? Maybe you’d like to be a writer, or an instructor – maybe you’d like to present at the next upcoming AOE Online Conference? Whatever it is – we’d love to hear more about you! Please fill out this short application form.




Do you read AOE every day? All AOE articles, lesson plans, tips, and tricks are written by some of the most innovative Art Teachers in the country – inspiring educators, and truly deserving members of the ‘AOE Team’. Read more about each writer below, and don’t forget to drop your favorite writer an email to let them know what you thought of their most recent article!

TracyTracy Hare

Content Director

Hi! My name is Tracy Hare and I am in my 11th year of teaching middle school art for a small district in central Minnesota. I received my B.S. in Art Education from St. Cloud State University and my M.Ed. from the University of Minnesota.

In my classroom, I strive for deepening 21st century skills by encouraging my students to practice critical thinking, solve open-ended problems creatively and work together to produce, connect and share their artwork.

When I am not answering to “Ms. Hare” at school, I am answering to “Mom” at home. My husband and I have three little people that provide us endless energy, motivation and inspiration.

I am thrilled to be contributing a middle school perspective as a member of The Art of Education writing team.

Email Tracy

AmandaAmanda Heyn

Senior Editor

Hi, my name is Amanda Heyn, and I’m an art educator from Madison, Wisconsin. I really enjoy working with the AOE Writing Team to curate all of the fantastic content in the AOE Online Magazine. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I taught elementary art for 5 years. I love how the art room is a place where students can develop creative problem-solving skills, increase their self-esteem, and become part of a meaningful community. When I’m not busy writing, editing, or scouting new stories, I love to bake, spend time with my husband and son, and practice yoga. I look forward to growing with and learning from you and all of our readers!

Articles by Amanda | Email

Abby HeadshotAbby Schukei

My name is Abby Schukei, and I teach 7th and 8th grade Art at Ralston Middle School in Omaha, Nebraska. I graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2012 and have been teaching since. In my classroom, I focus on creating meaningful experiences for my students by constructing from the world around us.  Technology integration, STEAM education, and computational thinking skills play a huge role in the way I shape my classroom. Each day I strive to create, explore, and discover significant experiences that will go beyond the art room walls.

My time outside of school is spent creating and exploring the world around me. Between tie dying, running, and the occasional snowman building, most days you’ll find me enjoying the great outdoors. I’m thrilled to be part of the AOE team and look forward to exploring and discovering with you!

Articles by Abby | Email

Melissa-PurteeMelissa Purtee

Hi! I’m Melissa Purtee and I teach visual art at Apex High School outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. I’m passionate about student choice, supporting diversity and creating pathways for authentic self-expression. I’m originally from West Michigan, where I earned my BFA at Kendall College of Art and Design before moving to the south to accept my first teaching job.

I love to cook and garden when I’m not teaching or busy chasing my toddler around the yard. I’m excited about joining the AOE team!

Articles by Melissa | Email | Blog

AleciaAlecia Eggers

Hello! My name is Alecia Eggers and I teach K-6 elementary art in a large district in central Iowa.  I am passionate about teaching and reaching my students. I see myself as a facilitator of artistic experiences, creative skill building, and assisting students in the development of their artistic identities.  It is my philosophy and mission to provide my students with a well rounded, innovative, fun, and meaningful arts education.

When I am not in the art room, I am spending time with family and friends, crafting, practicing yoga, baking, and endlessly organizing.  I love finding inspiration and being inspired by the arts and fellow art educators.  I am so excited to be a part of the AOE team and embark on this continuous journey of learning, sharing, and innovation!

Articles by Alecia | Email

TimTim Bogatz

My name is Tim Bogatz, and I teach art at Bellevue East High School, a 9-12 school of 1,500 students just south of Omaha, Nebraska. As a teacher, I want my students to learn creativity, problem solving, higher order thinking skills; to do this, we use Drawing, Painting, Photography, Sculpture, Ceramics and whatever else might make its way into my classroom! I was honored to receive the title of 2015 Nebraska Secondary Art Educator of the Year.

Outside of school, most of my energy is focused on my wife, my kids, and my new puppy. I draw, I read, I write, and I run when I’m able to find the time.

I really look forward to contributing to AOE, and I hope the lessons, thoughts, ideas, and work I share will be worthwhile. Please feel free to contact me with questions, concerns, critiques, or conversation!

Articles by Tim | Email

JenJennifer Borel

Hey everyone, I’m Jennifer Borel and I am an elementary art teacher for a large school district in northeast Kansas. I received my Bachelor of Art Education and minor in Art History from the University of Kansas. A few years later I followed that up with a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction. I love helping my kindergarten through fifth graders deepen their understanding of the art world while inspiring them to harness their creative skills. There is nothing better as a teacher to see your students understand and utilize the concepts they’ve learned even long after they leave the classroom.

When I’m not with my students, I enjoy spending time with my husband John and our wonderful families. I also love to snap photos from behind my camera, cook up recipes from the excessive amount of food network I watch, and travel the world whenever I get the chance. I’m flattered to be a member of the AOE team.

Articles by Jennifer | Email

JenniferJennifer Carlisle

Hi, my name is Jennifer Carlisle but I go by just Jen. I am a 5th and 6th grade art teacher in Norfolk, Nebraska; the world famous home of Johnny Carson. I graduated from Wayne State College with a B.S. in Art Education and a Masters Degree in Counseling. I continue to take classes and constantly work to improve my teaching because I have the best job in the world.

When I’m not teaching, I am busy being mom to three amazingly wonderful kids and wife to one crazy house painter. We recently bought a house that works great for my husbands business but will be a “life long” project. When I am not working on house projects, I feed my soul with craft nights, great books, bible study and gardening. I have been a long time follower of the Art of Education and am humbled to be writing for this amazing online magazine.

Articles by Jennifer | Email

AndrewAndrew McCormick

Hey everybody, my name is Andrew McCormick. I’m Jr. High Art Teacher in Cedar Falls, IA where I currently teach 8th and 9th graders (I know it’s kind of an unusual gig to teach middle school and high school students at the same time). I graduated with my B.A. in Art Education from the University of Northern Iowa, also in Cedar Falls. Before landing my first teaching job in 2005, I attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio where I received an M.F.A. in Sculpture. I taught for four years as a part time elementary/ part time high school teacher, followed by a brief stint as an Art Education Instructor at my alma mater. I like to tell people I’ve taught art at all levels, from elementary to adults. My own pedagogy focuses on STEAM Education and Choice Based Education, technology integration in the art room, Standards Based Grading, and Project Based Learning.

When not teaching, I’m busy with my wonderful family. My three kids keep me busy with volunteer opportunities; sports, LEGO League, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. I’m a super nerdy gardener, occasional runner, and unapologetic podcastphile… it that’s really a word?! I’ve known Jessica for a number of years through my involvement with art education at the state level and I’m thrilled to writing for AOE!

Articles by Andrew | Email



Class Instructors

AOE Online Classes are the most ‘ridiculously relevant’ way for Art Teachers around the world to earn PD points or Master’s Degree level credits, from the comfort of home. All of our online classes were designed by art teachers, for art teachers, and carry full HLC accreditation from Morningside College. Currently, we offer over 15 amazing classes; there’s at least one to fit every art teacher’s interests.

AOE Class Instructors are hand-selected to provide you with a top notch and engaging class experience. They’ll guide you step-by-step as you discover new class management techniques, develop your own curriculum, discover how the common core affects you, test new assessment techniques, and a whole lot more!




Heather Crockett

Educational Director

Heather Crockett is a veteran teacher with more than 10 years of experience in the classroom and 7 years experience teaching at the graduate level.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art Education from the University of Iowa (2002) and her Masters degree from Viterbo University (2006).  Her expertise includes working with a wide range of learners (including acceleration and differientation), curriculum planning, assessment, cross-curricular integration, technology, and arts advocacy.

Articles by HeatherEmail


Trish Christiansen

Patricia Christiansen is a high school teacher from central Iowa.  She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in Drawing from the University of Iowa (2000) and a Master’s of Art degree in Art Education from Iowa State University (2005).  Patricia enjoys teaching all media particularly Ceramics, Sculpture, Photography, and Drawing.  Her passion in education lies in instructional development, assessment, and technology in the arts.  Patricia strives to create fun and highly productive environments within her classroom that promote a sense of community.

Email Patricia


Theresa Gillespie

Theresa Gillespie has been teaching Art for over 18 years in a very diverse school district. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art Education from Augstana College in 1992 and her Masters degree in Education and Technology from Western Governor’s University in 2010. She is well versed in teaching to a very diverse student population which includes English language learners, accelerated learners, and those needing differentiated instruction. She also has expertise in curriculum development, behavior interventions, arts integration, and technology integration.

Email Theresa | Blog


Nic Hahn

Hello- My name is Nic Hahn and I am currently working for District 728 in Rogers, Minnesota. I have spent most of my life in the midwest attending college at The University of Wisconsin- Stout, work for a short time in Wisconsin, and moving back to my home state of Minnesota 12 years ago. I have worked with all levels of students, Pre School through adults and have discovered in myself that I adore teaching… in anyway, for any level. I like teaching one on one, or as a flipped classroom. I love teaching through my students, children, and online. I maintain a blog (link below) that’s a conversation of how to teach our mini’s and share ideas and creative attitudes.

Email Nic | Blog


Sarah Dougherty

Sarah Dougherty has been involved in art education for the last eight years, including teaching in both the elementary and high school art classroom. She currently serves as the Visual Arts Curriculum Coordinator and as the Local Program Director of the federal Turnaround Arts initiative in the Des Moines Public Schools. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Bio-Medical Illustration from Iowa State University in 2005, her certification in K-12 Art Education from the University of Iowa in 2007, and her Master of Arts in Teaching from Morningside College in 2014. Her expertise includes curriculum development, urban school improvement, and arts integration.

Articles by SarahEmail | Pinterest


Tim Bogatz

Tim Bogatz is a 9-12th grade art teacher in Omaha, Nebraska, teaching Intro to Art, AP Studio Art, and everything in between. He uses a huge variety of media to help his students learn creativity, problem solving, and higher order thinking skills. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art Education from the University of Iowa (2002) and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from the University of Nebraska-Omaha (2007). His strengths in the teaching include instructional strategies, program and curricular development, and building classroom communities. Tim also was named the 2015 Nebraska Secondary Art Educator of the Year.

Email Tim


Molly Wiste

Molly has taught art at the elementary level, and currently teaches 5-12th grade art in North Central, Minnesota. She has a B.S. from Winona State University in Art Education, and her Masters in Educational Leadership from Southwest Minnesota State University. Molly is currently serving as the Curriculum Lead for Visual Arts at her school, and serves on her Building Leadership Team. She is passionate about building creative thinkers, and artists who have studio habits of mind. She strives to have students be able to make educated decisions about their art, so they can utilize their art skills after they leave the classroom. Her classroom is very collaborative, and students share their stories outside of the classroom through art shows, and using technology. Molly has started a blog to tell about her journey as a teacher, here.  During the summer Molly practices her own art through chainsaw carving.

Email Molly


Carrie Russoniello

Carrie Russoniello has been teaching elementary art for 15 years in Roselle Park, NJ.  She received her Bachelors of Science degree in Elementary Education from Seton Hall University in 1998 while double majoring in Elementary Education and Fine Arts.  She is dually certified as a K-12 Art Educator and a K-5 Elementary Educator.    In 2005, Carrie received her Masters degree in Fine Arts Education from Kean University.  She is currently pursuing her +30 credits from Morningside College.  Carrie has been actively involved in her state art association as the AENJ Advocacy Chairwoman (2006-2011), the NJ State Youth Art Month Chairwoman (2006-2011) and the Union County YAM Chairwoman (2004- present.)  Her expertise includes curriculum writing, arts advocacy and cross-curricular activities.

Email Carrie


Johanna Russell

Hi, I’m Johanna Russell and I love teaching art to 8th and 9th graders in Ankeny, Iowa. I have been teaching in Ankeny since graduating from the University of Iowa with Honors in Art Education (2003). I earned a master’s from Viterbo University (2006). After teaching art, my next greatest joy in education is working with other art teachers. I find the curiosity of art teachers addictive. I have experience with flipped teaching, differentiated instruction/ multi-tiered Instruction, curriculum writing k-12 (including for the new art standards), and standards-based grading and assessment. I am honored to have an opportunity to learn and growth with you through the Art of Education!

Email Johanna


Andrew McCormick

Hey everybody, my name is Andrew McCormick. I’m Jr. High Art Teacher in Cedar Falls, IA where I currently teach 8th and 9th graders (I know it’s kind of an unusual gig to teach middle school and high school students at the same time). I graduated with my B.A. in Art Education from the University of Northern Iowa, also in Cedar Falls. Before landing my first teaching job in 2005, I attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio where I received an M.F.A. in Sculpture. I taught for four years as a part time elementary/ part time high school teacher, followed by a brief stint as an Art Education Instructor at my alma mater. I like to tell people I’ve taught art at all levels, from elementary to adults. My own pedagogy focuses on STEAM Education and Choice Based Education, technology integration in the art room, Standards Based Grading, and Project Based Learning.

Email Andrew


Anna Nuttall

Anna has enjoyed working in the art education field as a teacher and administrator on the Seacoast of New Hampshire and Massachusetts for the last 17 years. She enjoys working with all ages, mediums, and themes in her full-time middle school position, as well as with K-8 and high school-aged artists through various community partnership programs. Anna believes that the arts provide a unique opportunity to enhance and deepen our knowledge in myriad subjects; develop our skills in creativity, innovation, communication, and problem-solving; all while exploring ourselves, our environment and our personal passions. Confidence, curiosity, and collaboration are hallmarks of her classroom. She is passionate about youth and families having access to quality arts experiences, and works hard to ensure that the arts play an active role in education and her community. Anna received her B.S. in Art Education and M.Ed. in Integrated Arts from Plymouth State University. She has served on the boards of the City of Portsmouth Cultural Commission and Seacoast African American Cultural Center; as Director of Visual Arts Education for a community arts school, and Chair of the Department of Visual Arts for the Portsmouth Public Schools.

Email Anna


Shelly Hardin

Shelly currently lives and teaches in Arkansas, The Natural State, and is an advocate for the visual arts. She first became interested in art as a first grader when she won first place of all statewide first graders with her dragon art. This piece serves as the cornerstone piece in her personal collection of art. She has been working in schools around the United States and internationally for over eight years. She currently teaches elementary art, grades 1-5 with one of the largest and fastest growing districts in The Natural state. The coming school year will be her third year with this district. Before that she taught for one year in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, before that she taught for three years in Conway, Arkansas and before that she taught for three years in Honduras. She has experience teaching high school, junior high, middle school and now elementary. She earned her BFA from the University of Arkansas and MAT from Central Arkansas and just completed 12 graduate credit hours in ESL. She has presented at the Arkansas Art Educators conference and at the NAEA national conference. Shelly is passionate about art but also about teaching students soft skills such as communication, respect and how to be a positive attribute to the community. She is married, but doesn’t have kiddos yet! In her free time, she enjoys riding her bike, walking, serving at her church and practicing yoga. Her favorite food is Mexican, mainly because of the queso and if you ask her about her favorite color, she will say “all colors!”

Email Shelly


Jennifer Borel

Jennifer Borel is an elementary art teacher from northeast Kansas. She graduated from The University of Kansas with her Bachelor of Art Education, a minor in Art History, and an emphasis in Architecture. She continued her education at Emporia State University and received her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis as an Effective Practitioner. Effective Practitioners focus on improving classroom skills and maximizing student achievement. Jennifer has taught art in middle school, high school, art museums, and summer enrichment programs. She has also had experiences working with students with Autism and being a traveling teacher. Her strengths include creating classrooms that have effective classroom management and organization, where students feel comfortable to learn and explore. She is also passionate about photography and pursues that through her own photography business.

Email Jennifer

Customer Happiness

Have a question or comment for AOE? The AOE Customer Support Team is here to help. Whether you want to find out whether your school will accept AOE Class credits, or you no longer want to receive AOE emails, whatever it is… we’re available. You can reach AOE Customer Support by emailing [email protected] or calling/texting 515.650.3198.


Sarah-WSarah Welch

Customer Happiness Guru

Hello!  I’m Sarah, and I am a studio artist living in Minneapolis, MN.  I specialize in printmaking and sell my work through various outlets through my business, Wooden Spoon Editions. I earned my BA from Luther College, and studied further at SACI in Florence, Italy. In my free time I enjoy traveling, being outdoors, and spending time with my husband and our pup. I am thrilled to be working with such talented people at AOE!

Email | Sarah’s Art





Founders: Derek and Jessica Balsley

“Unique perspectives, shared values, and complementary strengths.”  That’s what makes the partnership work.

As you can tell from all the faces on this about page, it takes a team to make AOE  successful on a daily basis. The truth is, that it also took a team to dream it up! In 2012 Derek and Jessica Balsley transformed Jessica’s popular Art Ed blog into the first-ever online magazine for art education, and a blossoming online professional development platform for art educators everywhere.

Since that time, AOE has expanded to offer a tremendous breadth and depth of ‘Ridiculously Relevant Professional Development’ opportunities for art teachers around the world, including online classes, online conferences, ebooks, lesson plans, consulting, and more…. Today, AOE is being read and reviewed by tens of thousands of art teachers every month.

Thank you for visiting, and thank you for your passion for Art Ed – we’ve got to stick together!

Derek’s background is in business management, branding, integrated marketing, customer experience (CX), technology, and social media. He’s the ‘business half’ of the company.

LinkedIn | Twitter

Jessica’s background is in Art Education, higher education, graduate instruction, leadership, public speaking, and motivation. She’s the ‘art ed half’ of the company.

LinkedIn | Twitter