2023 Arts Educator of the Year Rachel Therres

Rachel Therres believes in the immense power of creativity in the lives of young people and has shown that throughout her sixteen-year career as an artist educator. She works to create curriculum which is relevant to young people through which they can create personal meaning. Ms. Therres also values interdisciplinary projects and works to tie art to other subjects as well as the lives of her students. She has been sponsoring chapters of the National Junior Art Honor Society since 2010 and has used this organization to help teens pass on their skills to their younger peers. Mural projects are also near and dear to her heart and she has guided students to create these both in and outside of their schools. She is a proud member of Hillside Innovation Academy, a grades 7 and 8 school, where she has worked since its inception as a part of the Hillside Public School District. In addition to her dedication to art education in her classroom, she is a practicing artist and has shown and published her work across New Jersey and New York. When not in her classroom or her home studio, you can find her at local gallery openings or at the latest exhibit at her favorite art museums. She stands by the statement made by Louise Nevelson, "Art is the essence of awareness."