CAEA Professional Educator Awards

CAEA annually accepts nominations from its membership for active and current CAEA members who have demonstrated exemplary instruction in their schools and who have made an impact on those around and to our organization. Furthermore, CAEA selects one of its members to receive the Outstanding Visual Art Educator of the Year Award for the State of California who is also honored each year at the National Art Education Association national convention.

The purpose of CAEA Professional Educators Awards is to:

  • Recognize those individuals within the membership who have achieved the highest level of professionalism in the field of art education.

  • Show our appreciation to those individuals or organizations that have contributed their services in an exemplary way to our association and to the goals we espouse in our profession. 

  • Increase public awareness of the importance of a quality art program for all of California’s children 

  • Set the standards for quality art education and demonstrate how those standards can be achieved

  • Encourage membership in CAEA and active participation in CAEA at the local and/or state level

Statewide Awards

  1. CAEA’s Outstanding Visual Art Educator of the Year*
  2. CAEA’s Outstanding Elementary Visual Art Educator 
  3. CAEA’s Outstanding Middle/Junior High Visual Art Educator
  4. CAEA’s Outstanding Secondary Visual Art Educator
  5. CAEA’s Outstanding Higher Education Visual Art Educator
  6. CAEA’s Outstanding Visual Art Administrator/Supervisor
  7. CAEA’s Outstanding Museum Visual Art Educator
  8. CAEA’s Outstanding Active Emeritus Visual Art Educator
  9. Special Needs Visual Art Educator
  10. Rookie of the Year Award (three years or less teaching experience)

*The recipient of the Outstanding Visual Art Educator of the Year award will represent the State of California as the recipient of that award at the subsequent year's National Art Education Association Convention. Transportation and lodging for the Convention will be reimbursed by CAEA for up to $500 as approved by the State Council.

Area Awards

  1. Award of Merit
  2. Douc Langur Award
  3. The CAEA Ruth Jansen Distinguished Art Educator Award 
  4. Certificate of Appreciation

CAEA Special Awards

  1. CAEA’s Lifetime Achievement Award


CAEA Awards Criteria

Click here to view the Awards Criteria for each award.

CAEA Awards Nomination Process

Click here to review the Nomination Process.

To nominate someone for an award:

CAEA Awards Nomination Submission Deadline
All award nominations must be received by January 31.

Please send the completed form to: [email protected]


The Ruth Jansen Distinguished Art Educator Award

Every year CAEA gives out one to three Ruth Jansen Distinguished Art Educator Awards who receive a cash award. The funding for this award is provided by the Community Foundation of the Verdugos through a special memorial trust fund established in memory of Ruth Jansen by her family, friends and the community. We are grateful for the support and recognition this has provided for professional educators since 1983.  There is also a special award given to one senior high school YAM winner from each Area.

Who was Ruth Jansen?  Read about this tremendous supporter of arts education: Ruth Jansen 

For additional information or questions, contact [email protected], CAEA Professional Awards Chair


2020 Professional Award Recipients

Patrice Cooley
Outstanding Visual Art Educator of the Year
Johanna Mauro
Outstanding Secondary Visual Art Educator
Cheryl Conder
Outstanding Middle/Junior High Visual Art Educator


Alyssa Navapanich
Outstanding Elementary Visual Art Educator
James Woglom
Outstanding Higher Education Visual Art Educator
Robyn MacNair
Outstanding Visual Art Administrator/Supervisor


Sue Conner
Outstanding Retired Visual Art Educator
  Veronica Hicks
Special Needs Visual Art Educator


NAEA logo

NAEA Awards Program

The NAEA Awards program is open to all NAEA members. Growing in scope since its inception, the program features awards ranging from state, regional, and national levels. Information for 2018 nominations will be posted late spring/early summer and can be found at NAEA Awards. The submission deadline for most awards is October 1.

Have a question about NAEA Awards? E-mail [email protected]

NAEA Pacific Region Art Educator Award Recipients 

The NAEA Regional Division Art Educator Awards honor one outstanding NAEA member from each of the seven divisions within each of the four geographic regions. The award recognizes exemplary service and achievement of regional significance within each division.

Alyssa Navapanich
CAEA San Diego Area Member

2021 NAEA Pacific Region Elementary Art Educator Award

Cynthia White Anderson
CAEA Southern Area Member

2021 NAEA Pacific Region Preservice Art Educator Award

NAEA National Award Recipient

Veronica Hicks
CAEA Northern Area Member

2021 NAEA, The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), VSA Peter J. Geisser Special Needs Art Educator of the Year Award