Dianne Jutton Knapp '73 (right) receives
the New York State Art Teacher of the
Year 2007 award
For Dianne Jutton Knapp '73 the idea to become a teacher started at Oswego. The elementary education major had always enjoyed the creative process, but it was after taking a class "Creativity in the Classroom," that she decided she wanted to do more. Knapp chose art as her minor and began the process of learning to become an art teacher.
"I think I was born to be a teacher,” Knapp wrote in an e-mail. “I am happiest when I am helping someone (any age) learn something that is new to them."
Knapp recently received a New York State Art Teacher of the Year 2007 award for her contributions to the field of art education and service to the New York State Art Teachers Association.
NYSATA is a professional organization comprised of art teachers and administrators who hold art education as a high priority. According to Knapp, the organization works closely with the State Education Department to assure that students have opportunities to participate in the arts.
Since starting her teaching career in 1975, Knapp has always enjoyed creativity and working with children. Her first jobs included art and children: working at day camps, summer camps, scouts and nursery schools.
Her current "home" school is Ralph R. Smith Elementary School teaching grades K to 5 in the Hyde Park School District. However, Knapp does travel to other buildings to teach, determined by need. This year, she is teaching between 500 and 700 seventh graders for the first time.
Dianne Jutton Knapp ’73 (right) in her art classroom
"Watching the students discover and grow is probably the best reward of teaching," Knapp wrote.
Getting her students interested in the project is easy.
"I choose things that interest me, so when I present it, my enthusiasm is authentic," she wrote. "I also try to make the outcome open-ended enough that students can make individual choices and decisions."
When teaching art, Knapp focuses on master artwork, using art prints from different periods in history and different cultures. The artworks, as well as the curriculum, lead the students to certain art mediums that they are interested in using.
"I think paint and clay are on the top of many students' ‘favorites’ list," Knapp wrote.
On Knapp’s list of favorite art mediums is working with leaded glass, earthen clay and other "craft" materials. Most recently, landscape design and gardening has taken first place.
Knapp often blends work with play by attending art workshops, going to lectures, galleries and museums, practicing her own art when she has the time.
Knapp has also received the Region Seven Art Educator of the Year Award for 2006, as well as several grants for projects and programs that she has initiated with her students.
"I was very flattered and touched to have been given this honor," Knapp wrote about receiving the New York State Art Teacher of the Year Award. "I acknowledge that there are many deserving teachers who work very hard to reach students and help them to grow."
—Emily King ’05