Kerry Shadbolt

a women with blonde hair with purple and pink streaks

Location: East Lansing, MI
Position, Organization: High School Art Teacher, Williamston High School, MI
Department: Art, Art History, and Design
Major/Graduation:BFA Art Education; MA Educational TechnologyStart building a network now.

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Recent Awards:

Kerry was recently named the 2016 Michigan Art Teacher of the Year and the Secondary Level Art Educator of the Year. She received the honors from the Michigan Art Education Association on Oct. 17 at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

“It was quite an honor because the people who have won in the past are incredible mentors,” says Shadbolt. “It’s pretty exciting and great to be considered none of them.”

Why I came to MSU:

“Growing up, I was surrounded by Spartans. My parents met in dorm government at Michigan State University, and many of my relatives are alumni. When searching for programs, I was actually looking to be pre-med, so naturally MSU had great options. Eventually I came to my senses and realized that art education was a much better fit for me. Art Education professor Dr. Charles Steele helped me realize that Kresge Art Center was where I belonged.”

What I currently do:

“Being a high school art teacher at Williamston High School is wonderful. I am about to start my fifteenth year teaching art in public schools. At WHS, I get to teach students of all abilities to love art, to embrace their creativity, to (I hope) help them see art in the world around them, and to experiment with new materials and processes. My school is very technology savvy, and this aids my practice by allowing me to teach digital photography and graphic design. In my free time, I am art department chair; teach an all-ages extracurricular Figure Study Class; create my own art; and exhibit both my work and student work in various art shows.

This year I was awarded the Michigan Art Education Association Teacher of the Year. I also volunteer as co-chair for Michigan Youth Arts and Michigan Art Education Association as visual arts director, coordinating the top-in-state art show for high school students. Somehow through this all, I try to balance having a marriage with my husband, Ryan Shadbolt, who instructs at Central Michigan University.”

What should new MSU students be prepared for?

“Michigan State students need to be flexible and have a strong work ethic. They need to know that the world is changing so fast (especially with technology), that the job they get hired in may change radically over the next ten years. Students should be willing to embrace change. When choosing a major, MSU students should consider career-oriented goals along with their degree path. When you get hired, remember that work is work…it is not easy. When you are beginning, be patient, pay your dues, and you will move up to having more job stability.”

What should current students take advantage of while at MSU?

“Everyone should study abroad! One of my favorite experiences at Michigan State University was my masters program through the GSEO (Graduate Studies in Education Overseas). The people (both faculty and students) you meet overseas are stellar. Your cohort will teach you so much about the world beyond Michigan. My classmates overseas were all over-achievers, and we pushed ourselves to get the most out of each lesson.”

How has/have your major(s) helped with your success?

“My major was necessary to get my job as a teacher. My certification from MSU helped me to be considered seriously as a candidate for my interviews. Having student taught for a full year, I had many more insights that prepared me for my first year in the classroom. By student teaching both elementary and secondary level, I was more prepared to teach K-12. Through my undergrad and graduate school, I am so glad I was surrounded by lots of technology-based classes. Computers and technology are continually morphing, and as an educator I need to understand them as tools for instruction and communication.”

Your advice to students?

“MSU students should get to know their instructors and take time to meet experts in their profession in the regional community.  Start building a network now. Start by getting to know your instructors – who are experts in their field. They will open doors for you (that you had no idea were even there). I realized at the end of my undergrad and into my masters that my teachers were amazing, and taking the time to go to office hours made my education and work richer. My Profs taught me way more than what was in a textbook. They taught me how to be curious, how it looked to be a working professional, how to be a life-long learner, and they pushed me to keep creating. Staying active in my art teaching association (MAEA) has provided me with a wealth of professional development opportunities, advocacy tools, and a wide network of friends to educate and strengthen my practice through support, inspiration, and promotion.”