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 Arts Educator of the Year*
  2. CAEA’s Outstanding Elementary Visual Arts Educator 
  3. CAEA’s Outstanding Middle Level Visual Arts Educator
  4. CAEA’s Outstanding Secondary Visual Arts Educator
  5. CAEA’s Outstanding Higher Education Visual Arts Educator
  6. CAEA’s Outstanding Visual Arts Supervisor/Administrator 
  7. CAEA’s Outstanding Museum Visual Arts Educator
  8. CAEA’s Outstanding Active Retired Visual Arts Educator
  9. Special Needs Visual Arts Educator
  10. Rookie of the Year Award

*The recipient of the Outstanding Visual Arts 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 Living Artist Award
  2. 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:

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


2018 Professional Award Recipients

Outstanding Visual Art Educator of the Year

 Barbara Hughes

Dr. Barbara Hughes

Outstanding Elementary Visual Art Educator


 Outstanding Higher Education Visual Art Educator

Donald Masse

Donald J. Masse


Penelope Venola

Penelope Venola


Rookie of the Year



Emily Reichenstein

Emily Reichenstein




 Ruth Jansen Distinguished Art Educators

Michele Mazzei

Michele Mazzei

Central Region


Dru Maurer

Dru Maurer

Southern Region



Douc Langur Award Recipient


Jacqueline Truong

Jacqueline Truong

Southern Region



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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]