Award-winning arts educator Kristin Vanderlip Taylor teaches students in Grades K-8 at the Sylmar Leadership Academy.

An award-winning visual arts teacher at Sylmar Leadership Academy has been named by the National Art Education Association (NAEA) as the Pacific Region’s top elementary arts educator for 2017.

The award is just the latest for Kristin Vanderlip Taylor, who has twice been honored by the California Art Education Association for her achievement and exemplary service.

“Kristin is a stellar teacher whose talents and accomplishments are reflected in the classrooms,” said Rory Pullens, executive director of Arts Education. “She proudly represents the L.A. Unified’s commitment, creativity and dedication to the arts.”

Vanderlip Taylor is a National Board Certified Teacher who has worked for L.A. Unified since 2003. She brings her talents as artist, designer and photographer to her classroom at Sylmar Leadership Academy, a span school where she has taught the last five years.

“I am inspired daily by my amazingly imaginative students and their willingness to share their unique perspectives through art,” she said. “I work with students in grades K-8 and am so fortunate to have seen many of the same students for five years now, which has really helped me understand their artistic needs and interests.”

This prestigious NAEA honor is awarded through a peer review of nominations, and recognizes exemplary contributions, service and achievements. Vanderlip Taylor has helped to develop the District’s arts curriculum and also served on teacher panels for the California Department of Education. Her work has appeared in numerous exhibitions, and she is earning her doctorate in Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy from Pepperdine University.

She believes that building relationships in schools is critical as an arts teacher in order to help students develop their own artistic voices.

“Teaching is a never-ending job, yet seeing my students come to their own ‘Aha’ moment’ during an art lesson always reminds me why I love it,” Vanderlip Taylor said.

The NAEA’s Pacific Region stretches from Alaska to Arizona, Colorado to Hawaii, and also includes Guam, and Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon Territory.

“Belonging to professional organizations like the National Art Education Association and the California Art Education Associations allows me to connect with other art educators, too, and to continue my own professional learning,” said Vanderlip Taylor.