Art teacher of the year has 'right amount of grit'

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BRATTLEBORO — Rachel Mangean found herself thinking about how lucky she is after Vermont Art Teachers Association named her Vermont Art Teacher of the Year.

"I was really proud of myself for achieving this title," the Green Street School art teacher said in an email. "I worked really hard throughout school and overcame many obstacles along the way. I quickly became grateful for being given the chance in Windham Southeast School District to achieve all the goals I set for myself."

Mangean said she hopes "to keep growing personally, keep the excitement within kids, and keep building friendships with local art outlets, and to keep reminding myself, anything is possible if you just have the right amount of grit."

Principal Mark Speno described Mangean as "a fabulous art teacher who is beloved by her students and colleagues alike."

"Since her arrival at Green Street School, student engagement in the arts is at its highest," he said in a statement on vtartteachers.org. "All GSS students love their art classes and this is due to the projects that Rachel chooses and the way she teaches. Rachel is always looking for new ideas to present and teach her students."

Mangean is known to make connections with local artists and studios to visit with students on field trips. She regularly brings the children to the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center to find inspiration and collaborate on projects.

The hallways of the school, Speno said, "are absolutely beautiful and always changing with different art displays that Rachel tends to."

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"Bottom line, she is an amazing art teacher in all that she does," he said.

This marks Mangean's fourth year teaching at Green Street School. Born and raised in New Jersey, she moved to Vermont after graduating high school, according to greenstreetschoolvt.com. She earned bachelor's degrees in studio art and elementary education from Keene, N.H., State College in 2012.

Her goal is to "energize" the Green Street School's art program "with exciting, innovative, hands on art projects," the school's website states. "She plans to incorporate local artists, Vermont's cultural art and globally cultural art into our curriculum."

All the schools in the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union value arts and education, Superintendent Lyle Holiday said, and Mangean "is one of our excellent teachers."

"The work that Rachel is able to help her students produce is an example of the high quality art education that we have in Windham Southeast," she said in an email.

Holiday encourages the public to attend "one of the many art exhibits that we have at our schools throughout the year to view the amazingly creative work of our students."

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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