Meet the KFEC Teacher Fellows (2011–2014)

Laurie Stone Adams

Born and raised in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, Laurie Stone Adams has taught since 1985 in New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Texas. She now teaches art at McCullough Junior High School in Conroe ISD.

Adams believes that the arts are about celebrating the differences and similarities of the human expression and experience. "The arts connect people across the globe, bridge cultural differences, capture something of what it means to be distinctively human, and provide spiritual nourishment for the soul. A strong arts program fosters creative problem solving, hones skills, encourages self-expression, and reveals the world around us in a deeper and more meaningful way. The MFAH plays a critical role in achieving this goal, and that commitment to the arts is essential to developing a well-rounded, productive citizen."

Chandel Bonner-Hancock

Chandel Bonner-Hancock has been an art educator since 1998. She teaches at Marshall Middle School's Academy of Fine Arts in Houston ISD.

Promoting a quality fine-arts education for all students is at the center of her career. She has educated not only children but also parents, classroom teachers, and administrators in the benefits of the arts for students. As both visual-arts teacher and magnet coordinator at Marshall, Bonner-Hancock strives to make sure every student meets the highest expectations and has the opportunity to live creatively. The MFAH has been a part of her instruction beginning with the elementary-level Learning Through Art at the MFAH curriculum. Her students are involved with the museum and Glassell Junior School. She says she is honored to be a KFEC teacher fellow, as the experience will bring out the best in her as a teacher and encourage her students to grow artistically.

Sandra Burkhalter

Sandra Burkhalter teaches 8th grade at League City Intermediate School. She has been an English language arts teacher with Clear Creek ISD since 2003 at WAVE (Webster Academy Visions in Education), a magnet program for the gifted and talented at Westbrook Intermediate School.

Burkhalter finds joy in working with the gifted and talented students who challenge her every day. Her classroom is student-focused and student-driven. Being able to write her own curriculum allows her to expand upon basic CCISD concepts to meet the unique needs of her students. Since adding a few fine-art lessons to her curriculum, she has witnessed the advantages and seen new possibilities. Burkhalter says that the KFEC teacher fellows program enables her to discover new avenues to enliven her students' learning environment. "For the gifted student, art can be a passion, a way of making connections, a new way of looking at an old idea, or even its own language."

Erin Forbes

Erin Forbes, an art educator and administrative intern at Mayde Creek Junior High School in Katy ISD, has been teaching since 2006. She is always looking for new ways to engage her students in critical thinking.

Through art, her students learn not only critical thinking but also project-development skills, teamwork, creativity, self-critique, and self-confidence. Her goal is to prepare students to embrace change and adapt creatively. Forbes says that working with the museum keeps her on the cutting edge of art education, and she shares information with her colleagues about the opportunities the MFAH provides. Bringing museum resources into her classroom and bringing her students into the museum exposes them to different cultures; encourages them to question the world; and pushes them to think outside the box. Forbes believes that being a KFEC teacher fellow challenges her to be a better educator and a better school leader.

Lashara Hoelscher

Lashara Hoelscher teaches science at Hogg Middle School in Houston ISD. After completing her first year of teaching, she knew the field would be a very rewarding endeavor.

Hoelscher considers herself a life learner and enjoys inspiring the minds of her students. She seeks to develop the whole person: intellect, emotion, spirit, and body. She is most excited about being an MFAH teacher fellow because the experience will allow her to help her students develop dynamically. Learning to think using their whole person to solve problems and work through higher-level discussions will open them up to an array of perspectives. She feels that incorporating the arts into math and science can stretch students to question the world in ways that they may otherwise have overlooked. Hoelscher sees the teacher fellow program as an opportunity to embark on a journey with the other fellows in hopes of growing and leaving a lasting impression.

Catherine Holliday

Catherine Holliday has been a language arts teacher since 1999 at WAVE, Webster Academy Visions in Education, a gifted and talented magnet school located at Westbrook Intermediate School in Clear Creek ISD. In the fall of 2012, WAVE is expanding and Catherine will assume an administrative position as the magnet’s liaison. She will coordinate the opening and management of WAVE’s second location at League City Intermediate.

As a language arts teacher in a G/T magnet school, cross-curricular connections are at the core of Catherine’s teaching philosophy and the incorporation of fine arts has always been an integral component in her classroom. She believes that illustrating the relationships between topics broadens students’ minds and adds relevance to their learning and, as a result, she has witnessed how art can be the catalyst for a rigorous and stimulating curriculum. There is no greater joy than witnessing a student as he/she takes newly acquired knowledge and then creatively expresses what was learned. Over the past years, it has been her honor to participate in the growth of the G/T magnet school and to watch the students reach their high potential. As part of WAVE’s curriculum writing team, Catherine aspires to incorporate creative productive thinking skills, interdisciplinary lessons, and a global approach to learning into the curriculum. She is excited about this opportunity with MFAH and looks forward to using her curriculum writing expertise to help generate curriculum that will inspire learning through the arts, reach a broad and diverse audience, and benefit many students for years to come.

Jessica Jasper

Jessica Jasper has been an English language arts educator for eight years at Marshall Middle School, Academy of Fine Arts in Houston ISD.

Creating engaging lessons that support a curriculum that addresses the whole child has been an integral part of Jessica’s educational career. As a fine arts integration manager for Project GRAD, she has created, developed, and presented arts integrated language arts lessons and units for the past years. As an educator in an inner-city school, Jessica has seen firsthand the power that bringing art into the English classroom can have on a child’s learning. It empowers students (and her) to take risks and think critically and creatively. The focus of her masters is centering on the positive impact arts integration in a Language Arts curriculum has on students and their educational success.

Janice Kemp

Janice Kemp currently teaches literacy (reading and writing) to sixth-graders in Houston ISD’s Lanier Middle School Vanguard program, an International Baccalaureate campus. Throughout her years of experience teaching middle and high school students, Janice has used art to explain language arts concepts. Because many reading and writing ideas are fairly abstract, she has found that beginning with visual art helps the abstract become concrete for young learners. The art maintains students’ interest, moreover. “Whenever I use art as a model for higher level thinking, my students come alive. I hear from students who ordinarily do not feel comfortable talking in class,” she maintains. “Art is the medium for my teacher’s canvas—it engages students in ways a mere lecture cannot,” she adds.

She also taught middle and high school students in Michigan. She holds a Masters in Education from Eastern Michigan University and a Bachelor of Arts (English, social studies, fine arts and journalism) from the University of Michigan. Kemp also is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Houston Law School (J.D.). She practiced law for more than 14 years before returning to her first love, teaching. The legal experience in critical analysis and persuasive writing works well in the classroom. As she often tells her students, “After practicing law for 14 years, you can’t win an argument with me!”

Stephanie Moncrieff

Stephanie Moncrieff teaches World Cultures at The Rice School/La Escuela Rice in the Houston ISD.

As a Social Studies Teacher and Social Studies Department Chair, Stephanie works hard to integrate art analysis into the curriculum. With experience teaching sixth through eighth grade, she works to vertically align her teaching so that all students learn the skills needed for higher education. She is honored to be a Teacher Fellow and looks forward to discovering new artworks and questioning strategies to further develop her students' critical thinking skills. 

Stephanie is a University of Houston Honors College Graduate with a BS in Education. She holds a minor in history and enjoys further investigation of history through reading and participation in professional communities such as Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute and the Texas Teacher Teaching American History grant. 

Cindy Moss

Cindy Moss has been an art educator for 32 years with experience at every grade level; 10 years in high school, 16 years at the elementary level and the last six years at McCullough Junior High in Conroe ISD. She is currently serving as the visual-art facilitator for Conroe ISD.

Cindy believes that a quality art-education program should relate the wonders and joys of art to learning, not just about fine art, but learning about the world. Lessons should be designed to incorporate techniques and methods used in the visual arts with the concepts and knowledge needed to succeed in life. As a teacher, she feels extremely fortunate to have a great deal of support for the arts from Conroe ISD. The community, faculty, and administration all understand the value and importance of art in their student’s lives. Cindy believes that a quality visual arts program fosters creative thinking and problem solving skills that can connect to every subject in the school’s curriculum. Her hope is that her students will develop a lifelong love of learning about art and consider art a channel for learning as well as a source of joy for the rest of their lives.

Daniel Santos

Daniel Santos has been a Social Studies educator for seven years at Jackson Middle School in Houston ISD.

As a middle school educator, he feels privileged to teach students with a wide spectrum of learning styles. He feels that the integration of the fine arts in his classroom is absolutely necessary to help enrich the learning experience. With art, Daniel’s students have the opportunity to further fine tune higher order thinking skills such as making inferences and drawing conclusions when they analyze photographs or interpret artist’s perceptions of historical events and individuals. With the support of the MFAH, Daniel has been able to engage students who learn visually and internalize abstract ideas artistically. Daniel feels honored to be a Teacher Fellow at the MFAH as the Fellows and the museum seeks to chart new and exciting approaches to integrating art in the content areas.

As an honors graduate of the University of Houston, Daniel has continued his partnership with the university for the past six years in designing and field-testing original lessons through the Teaching American History grant. He has also partnered with the MFAH in 2011 to design and publish an original lesson that incorporates Frederic Remington’s The Mier Expedition: The Drawing of the Black Bean. He has collaborated with the Houston Ballet to introduce dance in the Social Studies classroom and is currently the facilitator for the HISD South Region History Fair. Beyond his work in the Houston area, Daniel feels very fortunate to have participated in historical research expeditions to Washington, D.C., Rapid City, South Dakota, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Frank Singer

Frank Singer has been an English teacher for 20 years. He has taught in Providence, Rhode Island and Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. Currently he is back home in Houston, Texas and teaches at Presbyterian School.

Most of his work experience has been in middle schools. Frank has found his home as a teacher with middle schoolers because he enjoys their openness to learning, their enthusiasm for new ideas, and the growth they experience while moving from childhood to adolescence. He builds his English curriculum on fiction, an art form which enhances students' skills as readers, writers, and thinkers. In the best circumstances, students also make sense of their lives and of the world around them through literature. When students read about fictional characters and settings, they may find correlations to their own lives and, as a result, know more about themselves. Frank is delighted to be a teacher fellow at the MFAH. He hopes to build strong curricular links between the museum and middle school students. He looks forward to working with colleagues from across greater Houston.

Nancy Stewart

Nancy Stewart is on a journey of classroom learning alongside some amazing junior high school students that so far has spanned 28 years. During that time, she has taught science, language arts and intra/interpersonal skills coupled with applied communication development, and creativity enhancement. For the past 13 years that journey has been in the WAVE magnet for gifted and talented students in Clear Creek ISD.

Nancy’s passion is excellence—encouraging her students to become the best individuals that they can be. The foundation of this excellence is quality thinking—creative thinking, productive thinking, self-reflective thinking, and compassionate thinking. She believes that whether in the science classroom or beyond—problem solving only happens when students are given the tools, the challenge, the time, and then the freedom to think for themselves. Students must then have the encouragement to put their thinking into action. All of this can occur only with the motivation to think. C. S. Lewis once said, “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.” Nancy sees her participation in this fellowship with the MFAH as a way to deepen and fill her motivation well.

Gaye Don Tyler

Gaye Don Tyler teaches 6th grade Math and G/T at Sablatura Middle School in Pearland ISD.

Kathy Webb

Kathy has been teaching 30 years, most recently at Presbyterian School in the middle school history department.

She has taught many grade levels at several different schools, both public and independent, but one thing remains steadfast: 7th graders are incapable of walking in straight lines! Children in middle school are indeed always in motion as they ramble their ways to classes and are distracted by conversation with friends, a million questions about everything, and curiosity about the way the world works, both in their immediate surroundings but also beyond the walls of the classroom. It's this very energy, this constant motion, this inability to stop that pulls her to the museums with her students. They savor connections of all kinds and in the quiet spaces of the museum world they view works of art they studied from their books and laptops. In doing so, they pause to consider the light, the intent, and the historical context, and this very act of just standing still for a moment opens a new world of thoughts, opinions, and conversations.

Catherine Wilson

Katy Wilson teaches Algebra at WAVE, Webster Academy Visions in Education, a gifted and talented magnet school in Westbrook Intermediate School in Clear Creek ISD.