Alumna named ‘Rookie Teacher of the Year’

Alumna named ‘Rookie Teacher of the Year’
Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Alumna Ali Petrauskas '16 has been named “Rookie Teacher of the Year” by the North Carolina Art Educators Association, the state's largest advocacy group dedicated to supporting visual arts education.

Petrauskas is a third-year art teacher at Harold E. Winkler Middle School in Concord, North Carolina. A double major at UNC Charlotte, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art with a concentration in painting in 2016. After graduating, she returned to UNC Charlotte to earn a Graduate Certificate in Art Education and gained her teaching license in 2018.

“UNC Charlotte prepared me for teaching in multiple ways,” Petrauskas said. “The Art Department, where I received both bachelor’s degrees, taught me a lot about taking risks and problem-solving in art-making. This is very much the process of a beginning teacher (in or out of a pandemic).”

Additionally, since Winkler Middle School is an International Baccalaureate school, she has relied on her art history education to provide global context to her lesson plans, and she brings her knowledge of Social Emotional Learning — a focus of her art education training — into the classroom to encourage self-reflection and self-discovery.

The North Carolina Art Educators Association honors one beginning teacher each year who has made “an exemplary initial contribution” and “demonstrates the potential for development.” Petrauskas was nominated for the award by a colleague and subsequently completed an application with portfolio.

Read the entire story on the College of Art + Architecture website.