Hi, 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.
I set out on my mission to provide Ridiculously Relevant™ Professional Development to Art Educators. What started as a blog, quickly morphed into a catalog of 10+ online classes for Art Teachers, and an online magazine with daily articles, tips, tricks, videos, and discussions about the hottest issues in art education.
As art educators, we 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.
Welcome to the Art of Education,
What AOE Has to Offer
Whether you just want to read some of our great articles, watch our videos, or visit our classes page and enroll for credits to renew your license, there are tons of great ways to interact and utilize the services AOE offers. If you enjoy AOE, don’t forget to recommend Jessica to speak at your next Art Ed conference so you can meet her in person!
Ridiculously Relevant™ online classes just for Art Teachers. With 10 amazing (fully accredited and transferable) classes to choose from, why take classes anywhere else?
It started as just a blog; now AOE brings you incredible tips, tricks, and videos every single day. Art Teachers deserve great content, and The AOE Team is here to deliver.
Get your entire team on the same page with District-wide professional development. Group activities, eBooks, and personalized consulting, all in a downloadable box.
Bring passion and excitement to your next event. Presentations, keynotes, and workshops. Recommend Jessica to speak at your next state Art Ed Conference.
The AOE Team
It takes more than Jessica alone to make this site work! We’re proud to have an incredible team of writers and class instructors working every day to make The Art of Education a success. Without these people, AOE as you know it today truly would not be possible.
I am a certified K-12 Art Instructor with 10+ years of teaching experience. My background includes teaching in Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. My primary focus is elementary art, but I have taught grades K-12 and at both private and public schools. I have also instructed graduate level courses through VSA Arts of Iowa, a non-profit organization that promotes cross-curricular integration with the fine arts and supports artists with disabilities, and Viterbo University.
My hobbies include spending time with my family, including my husband, Kevin, my 1 year old son, and our rather large cat, Maceo. I enjoy working out, painting, cooking, knitting and just recently, sewing, although I am still a novice! I have about ten projects going on at any given time and work at them sporadically. I love to try new things and enjoy a busy lifestyle.
I am excited to have the opportunity to teach for The Art of Education!
Hi, my name is Cassidy Reinken and I am a middle school art specialist. I am passionate about teaching art history and the art elements and principles of design in my curriculum. My interactive whiteboard is used on a daily basis. Graduate classes and art curriculum writing fascinate and inspire me.
When I’m not in the art studio at school, I am spending time with my family, traveling, cooking, exercising, and consignment shopping for deals. I am interested in fiber reactive dyes and bookmaking. I am honored and excited to be a part of The Art of Education writing team. I look forward to learning right along with you!
Hi there! My name is Amanda Heyn, and I teach art at a wonderful K-4 school in southern Wisconsin. I love to help students develop their creative problem solving skills and self-esteem each and every day. I strive to create a dynamic curriculum for my students, focusing heavily on cross-curricular projects, student interests and technology integration. I also run a blog for my students and their families, if you’re interested!
My husband and I love living in Madison, WI where there is always something to do. On any given day, you might find me practicing yoga at the neighborhood studio, exploring the miles upon miles of bike trails, or cooking up a delicious dinner with fresh, local food.
I am beyond thrilled to be a part of the AOE writing team and look forward to delving into some great topics with you!
My name is Sarah Dougherty, and I teach elementary art in a large urban district in central Iowa. I love working with our diverse population of K-5 students to bring art to their homes, communities, and everyday lives. Developing standards-based curriculum and creating meaningful assessment tools for the visual arts are particular interests of mine.
Outside of the art room, I spend my time with my husband, Brian, and our toddler, Alice. We enjoy living in a tiny town where we keep a small flock of heritage breed chickens. When I’m not teaching, you can find me in the kitchen, in the garden, at the sewing machine or behind the camera lens. I’m delighted to be a member of The Art of Education writing team, where I hope to be a part of some truly meaningful conversations about the important work we do every day.
Hey! my name is Ian Sands and I teach art at Apex High School in North Carolina. I’m originally from NYC where I received my BFA from the School of Visual Arts. I have an extensive background with computer graphics, having worked as a web designer before my current students were even born. Needless to say, I enjoy teaching computer art but also have a passion for teaching with non traditional materials such as Post it Notes, balloons and even mud.
When I’m not teaching art, I like to go on vacation with my wife and three kids.. someplace warm where the fishing is good.
I’m excited to be part of the AOE writing team.
Behind the Scenes
Do you like the site? How about the branding, the business model, or the back-end email system? Well, thank my husband – the best partner a girl could ask for! Just about everything we do here at AOE is the result of us daydreaming, working, or planning together. He’s the half of AOE that you don’t see or hear from on a daily basis.
Derek Balsley is the Manager of Marketing and Online Sales at Fox River Mills in Osage, IA. His expertise lies in brand strategy, integrated marketing, social media, & customer experience management… but clearly has more than a fleeting interest in WordPress, graphic design, videography, and more.