Weekly Feature

2018-02-07 / Front Page

Educator to be honored by national association

by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor

Knab Knab Creating art has been a passion in Thom Knab’s life since he was a child.

“I always had art supplies around me when I was a kid, and I learned I could do these beautiful things with them,” Knab said. “I then realized I loved teaching kids, too.”

As a 28-year art teacher in the Williamsville Central School District, the dedication Knab has shown to his craft and career was recently recognized with two honors from the National Art Education Association.

The organization named the Dodge Elementary School art teacher the winner of the Eastern Region Elementary Art Educator Award and the National Elementary Art Educator Award.

Knab will receive the awards at NAEA’s national convention on March 22 in Seattle. Additionally, he is currently president-elect of the national association and will serve as its president from 2019 through 2021.

The Elma native earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Buffalo State College.

After a little more than a decade as a teacher in the Williamsville schools, Knab became involved in associations and organizations that promoted teaching the arts.

Following being named president of a state art educators’ association, Knab said colleagues then encouraged him to “get even more involved and do it on the national level.” He said that after receiving the praise from fellow educators, moving up to the next level was a logical step for him.

Knab said he works hard in furthering the NAEA’s mission of advocating for art education in public schools. Some of the responsibilities of members and the organization’s goals include meeting with federal representatives to discuss legislative matters and funding, as well as attending seminars and providing professional development for teachers.

“We help develop leaders in art education,” Knab said. “We help them advance and become better leaders.”

The national award he will receive next month was initiated by Bob Reeker, an art education colleague who teaches in Nebraska.

“I met Bob through [the NAEA], and it’s an honor that he nominated me for the award,” Knab said. “It’s been a fantastic few months for me. I know I’m the one being honored, but it’s really been a team effort.”

While he enjoys his work with the arts organizations, Knab said he is a devoted teacher of the arts.

Several years ago, Knab started an art gallery at Dodge called BRAG. The gallery is an acronym for Brick Room Art Gallery. Knab said the room provides a space for students to brag about their work.

“It’s important that we try to allow students to discover something they are good at,” he said. “There are so many aspects to the arts, and I really enjoy opening up all of the areas of the arts to them.”

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