Distinguished Service Within the Profession Award Winners

Black-Smith Photo

Lynda Black-Smith, retired art teacher and arts program facilitator from Cedar Rapids, is the 2015-2016 recipient of the Distinguished Service Inside the Profession award.  Lynda has served twice as AEI president.  She has received the Outstanding Elementary Art Teacher and the Art Educator of the Year awards.  Black-Smith was National Elementary Art Educator of the year in 1998.  She served as Elementary division director on the NAEA board in the 90’s.  Lynda Black-Smith has worked on curriculum and assessment committees on both the state and national levels.  She has been a presenter at conferences and workshops.

Inspiration, serendipity, and teaching out of the box!

“When I was 10 years old,  yes, in 5th grade, and growing up in Waverly, Iowa, I was given the gift of a very enlightened teacher, Mrs. Elsie Laird.  She knew innately that children needed to learn many things in a creative, explorative, and project oriented way.  She taught social studies, math, reading, science and pretty much everything through the use of art, music and whatever creative skills were necessary to learn, express and apply the concepts.  I always loved art, but in the amazing classroom of Mrs. Laird, I and many others learned about and experienced creativity, choice, and problem solving.  When things didn’t always go the way we first thought, we learned about serendipity and persistence. She was both inspiring and totally out of the box!  I loved it.

As I grew and became an artist and teacher, I never forgot those lessons and learned through my 30 years of teaching art, that thinking out of the box aids our ability to adapt to change, and even more, create change that improves and innovates.  I learned that it was an amazing feeling to create something extraordinary out of ordinary things.  I worked hard to give as many of those amazing experiences to students as I could.  Plus, I can’t even count how often we discussed that creativity is messy, not a straight line and to be ready to change, to morph into something even better that can be a serendipity.  How exciting is that!!!  

Now that I’m retired, I love to make art, to sing, write, take photography, solve creative problems and still experience serendipities.  This Art Educators of Iowa Distinguished service award feels like one as well.

Thank you, Mrs. Laird and the many art teachers in Iowa, AEI, and NAEA, who have influenced my work and whom were inspiring and out of the box themselves. “  Lynda Black-Smith


2013 Barb Reinke

2010 Dawn Marie Martinez Oropeza, Des Moines
2009 Nancy Sojka, Decorah
2008 David Pratt, Jefferson

2006 Laurie Olk, Ames
2005 Barbara Caldwell, Ames
2004 Ken Esveld, Des Moines
2003 Elizabeth Craw
2002 Joel Franken
2001 Dennis Dykena
Previous Years Judy Sweetman
John Hicks
Mary Jane Gill
Bob Glocke
Kimm Stastny
Laura McGee
Elizabeth Craw
Dennis Dake
John Bowitz
Susan Kropa
Vicki Summerson