For the month of November, JCSD 509J is spotlighting Eliza Raines who is an art teacher at Jefferson County Middle School for the work she does every day in her role.

This is her first year with JCSD 509J. She has been teaching in schools for about four years now. She wanted to become a teacher because of her high school art teacher.

“His art classroom was really the first place where I found a community that I felt like I belonged,” Raines said. Art is such an expression of human nature that it was the first place where I felt valued for the things that I had to say and just showing up as who I was. Being able to give that power and that community to students and watch their creativity bloom and watch them find confidence in themselves in their own voice has been really fulfilling.”

Eliza said her biggest success as a teacher is when she sees the confidence her students get from their own creativity.

“When they come to me and they say things like, oh my gosh, I can’t believe I made this. Or you can just see how proud they are when they’re showing off their artwork. That’s really my success.”

Watch the video to learn more about her and the work she does in school!

Below were her two nominations for Employee Spotlight:

“Eliza has brought art to a new level at JCMS. In teaching students a variety of concepts and mediums they have learned that art is something that everyone can flourish at. Eliza is able to find a way for each student to connect with art while also teaching them skills that will help them be successful students school wide. Additionally, she is always finding a way to connect with students in the halls and around the school. Our students and staff are excited about the direction of our art program.”

“Eliza consistently delivers engaging and differentiated art lessons that ignite students’ passion for creativity. Her teaching methods cater to diverse interests and abilities, making art accessible and enjoyable for all. She prioritizes building strong student relationships and fostering a positive learning environment where students feel valued and empowered to express themselves through art. She has introduced a creative incentive program to encourage class participation by allowing the class with the most points at the end of the clay unit to choose a staff member to pie her in the face with clay slip. This initiative not only promotes active engagement but also nurtures a sense of community within the classroom. She provides students with the opportunity to work on personal art projects, which can be gifted to teachers, friends, family, and others. This practice reinforces the idea that art can be a powerful medium for practicing acts of kindness and making a positive impact on the world.”

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