Arts & Entertainment, Higher Education, and Human Resources

Association names professor Art Educator of the Year

November 7, 2014
Text Size:
Association names professor Art Educator of the Year
Cindy Todd, left, a professor at Kendall College of Art and Design, helps out KCAD students at a benefit event. Courtesy KCAD

A local professor has been named the Art Educator of the Year by a statewide art association.

Kendall College of Art and Design, or KCAD, in Grand Rapids said last week that the Michigan Art Education Association recently recognized Cindy Todd, professor and chair of the Art Education program, with the 2015 award — as well as the Higher Education Art Educator of the Year award.

The association annually recognizes a group of members for their work in the field of art education and for the organization.

The nomination

After a nomination and an evaluation process, winners are selected for a number of awards based on several categories: teaching, publications, exhibitions, leadership roles and local and national activities.

Todd said that she was speechless when she learned she was nominated for the honors.

“In the day-to-day life of an educator, you’re not thinking about an award or some other recognition for your work. You’re really just doing the work, because it needs to be done,” Todd said. “You can’t expect something like this will happen. I tell my students all the time if you’re not teaching because you want to make a difference in your students’ lives every day, then you need to go into something else.”

Todd was nominated for the awards by Kim Cairy, the association’s middle-level director and past president.

Having worked together over the past 10 years, Cairy said Todd is truly deserving of the recognition.

“Cindy Todd is the model of what an art educator should be,” Cairy said. “I have continually been impressed with the professionalism she brings to any organization she belongs to, the passion she has for the arts, the enthusiasm she demonstrates for her work and the relationships she is able to build with both her peers and her students.”

Teaching and leadership

With an extensive background in both academic and leadership positions, Todd joined KCAD in 2004 after teaching at Cornerstone University, Oakland University and at the high school and junior high levels.

As a current member of the association and KCAD’s faculty sponsor for the student chapter of the association, Todd joined the association in 2007.

As a member of the association’s advocacy committee, Todd went on to serve in a number of positions, including co-chair of its annual conference in 2013 and on the conference steering committee. Todd was also the president-elect from 2007 to 2009 and served as president from 2009 to 2011.

Her leadership experience also extends to her involvement with the National Art Education Association, where she currently serves as vice president-elect of the Western Region and will assume the role of vice president in 2017.

Student chapter

In 2013, Todd was recognized by the NAEA with the Student Chapter Sponsor Award of Excellence. Under her leadership, the NAEA Student Chapter at KCAD was named the organization’s Outstanding Student Chapter.

“These things are important not only to the kids in our schools, but also to move the profession forward, and they’re exciting,” Todd said. “I love being involved in education at the organizational level. Educators spend the vast majority of our time doing work that’s internally fulfilling. You get to live every day with the immense satisfaction of knowing you made an impact.”


Todd received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wayne State University, before going on to earn her education specialist degree from Oakland University and doctorate from Western Michigan University. 

Recent Articles by Rachel Weick

Editor's Picks

Comments powered by Disqus