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Ginna Cullen (center) works with students (Photo courtesy VCU Office of Continuing and Professional Education)
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Photo courtesy VCU Office of Continuing and Professional Education
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Cullen with National Art Education Association President Pat Franklin (Photo courtesy VCU Office of Continuing and Professional Education)
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Cullen received her award at the Virginia Art Education Association conference in Norfolk.(Photo courtesy VCU Office of Continuing and Professional Education)
Virginia Commonwealth University alumna and staff member Ginna Cullen has been named Art Educator of the Year for the state of Virginia. The Virginia Art Education Association presented Cullen with the award at the group's recent annual conference in Norfolk.
“It was kind of overwhelming and flattering,” Cullen says about receiving the award. “It is a humbling experience to sit in a room and [hear] someone read about what you’ve done and say wonderful things about you.”
Cullen, an art educator for more than 50 years, was nominated by VAEA President Linda Conti, who serves as art department chair at the Hill School in Middleburg. “She is a quiet warrior for art education," says Conti, "working constantly in the trenches on her own work, guiding others, and setting a gold standard for how to teach art and art education to teachers, who then pass this knowledge on to their students.”
Cullen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Mary Washington and a Master of Interdisciplinary Studies from VCU. She is a retired teacher with Louisa County schools and currently serves as the Central Virginia coordinator for the M.I.S. in Interdisciplinary Art program with the VCU Office of Continuing and Professional Education.
Cullen supervises student teachers and teaches a book-arts class for art professional development to K-12 teachers. Michael Gettings, art specialist with Chesterfield County Public Schools, says her class is “legendary” for its depth and creativity.
Cullen inspires her students to be creative with unique teaching methods, including peer critiques of classmates' work. Cullen said it is important for each student to be heard: “The goal is to have everybody in the classroom have their own voice.”