Jamaican is ‘2000 Teacher of the Year’
Jamaican art educator, Normadelle Whittle, is the 2000 Teacher of the Year for Flat Shoals Elementary School in Decatur. She was among the teachers honoured by the DeKalb County school system at a “salute to excellence in education” banquet in Atlanta recently.
The programme was dedicated to the 2000 Teachers of the Year of DeKalb County, “in recognition of their positive influence on the lives of our children, and ultimately on the future of us all,” according to the citation. James R Hallford, superintendent of Dekalb County School system, presented the award.
Ms Whittle relocated to Atlanta in July 1994 and, in August of that year, began teaching art education to K through 6th grades, including special education, at Flats Shoals Elementary. In 1998 she received the “Outstanding Teacher of the Year” award from among 30 other faculty members.
A graduate of the Edna Manley School for the Visual Arts in 1980, Normadelle has largely been involved with art education. She instructed and prepared high school students for the CXC examination and worked in the Education Department of the National Gallery of Jamaica where she implemented educational and support programs. Asked by All Woman to comment on her success, Ms Whittle said: “My experience with the National Gallery of Jamaica has impacted my creativity and exposure in terms of bringing art history to life in the classroom at Flat Shoals Elementary.”
Jamaica prepared this art specialist well for her success in Atlanta. After completing a distance learning program in Museum Studies, sponsored by the National Gallery of Jamaican 1989 Ms Whittle received a UNESCO award as the Jamaican representative to a Regional workshop for the Training of Museum Personnel in the Caribbean.
Between 1990 and 1994, she worked as the Gallery Director for Galerie 14 and Frame Centre Gallery, commercial galleries in Kingston. Recounting some of her other creative works in Jamaica Ms Whittle said: “My most memorable publication is a children’s workbook which I designed and created to accompany the major Edna Manley Retrospective at the National Gallery of Jamaica.
For four years she produced and presented a local radio magazine programme related to Jamaican art. She has exhibited mixed media work at the National Gallery and other local galleries in Jamaica, as well as, in the USA.
Ms Whittle became involved in community activities in Atlanta right from the start.
As a member of the CARILANTA Players, (a drama group in Atlanta) she have been responsible for the set and costume designs as well as performing roles. During the summer of 1996, she created and implemented a multi-cultural visual arts programme based on the participating countries in the Olympics.
She served as a presenter for DeKalb County School system for a Child Care Symposium, which included a hands on program for Directors and Teachers of Day Care Centres in DeKalb County.
But Normadelle always has her mind on Jamaica. “Although residing in Georgia, I am committed to the continuity of Summer Art on the Waterfront at the National Gallery,” she told All Woman. This is a program she initiated while in Jamaica to expose students to all aspects of art during the long summer holidays.
Normadelle is currently enrolled as a graduate student in Art Therapy at Vermont College and intends to graduate in Fall of 2001.