Dillingham Elementary teacher is Alaska’s “Arts Advocate of the Year”

Jun 3, 2019

Sharon Clavette was recognized in May for reinventing the arts program at the school. "It’s less about the program and more about the students," Clavette said.

Principal Nick Schollmeier hands Sharon Clavette the "Champions of the Arts Advocate" award.
Credit Dillingham Elementary School

When Sharon Clavette stepped up to head the Dillingham Elementary School art program eight years ago, she reimagined it.

Now, the Alaska Arts Education Consortium has named Clavette the 2019 Arts Advocate Champion of Arts in Education for Arts Advocate. The award recognizes her dedication to teaching. Clavette said it’s really about her students.

Credit Dillingham Elementary

“It’s about the kids. That is what my life as a teacher is about, it’s about showing and promoting student talent,” she said. 

The AAEC aims to highlight the positive impact of the arts on the lives of children and youth.

As the elementary school art teacher, Clavette implemented the Meet the Masters curriculum. Through the program, she has helped other teachers incorporate art education into their classrooms.

Clavette said this approach allowed students to explore a variety of creative outlets.

“It’s stuff that I enjoy doing too," she said. "I like building, I like creating, I like experimenting with things and that’s what those kind of kids like to do, they like to just get in and build and draw and color and paint and weave and bead and you name it, they just wanna be creative.”

Clavette has also staged major theatrical productions during her time with the Dillingham drama department. This spring’s “Alice in Wonderland” was one of her largest to date – around 100 students auditioned. She said school theater is about giving students an opportunity to perform.

“This may be your only theater experience, this is kind of like your one chance to enjoy." Clavette said.

"Have a good time on stage, be the one everybody is watching right now, be the inspiration for the community right now, because next year you might be in the audience clapping for someone else.”

This fall, Clavette will teach art in the Dillingham Middle/High School, bringing back a program that ended three years ago. She will continue directing plays next spring.

Contact the author at tyler@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200.