The Florida State University (FSU) Department of Art Education would like to congratulate alumnus Dr. Zerric Clinton! Dr. Clinton was named the 2015 Secondary Art Educator of the Year by the Georgia Art Education Association. This award recognized Dr. Clinton as being the Best in State.
The Georgia Art Education Association (GAEA) is a professional organization of art educators affiliated with the National Art Education Association (NAEA). The mission of the GAEA is to advocate for the highest quality visual arts education and provide for the advancement of knowledge through service, leadership and research. Each year, the GAEA acknowledges and awards distinguished educators within the state. The FSU Department of Art Education is very proud to have a 2010 Art Education doctoral graduate recognized as the top secondary educator in the state of Georgia.
Prior to earning a PhD in Art Education at FSU, Dr. Clinton received his BFA in Art Education and his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Valdosta State University. Currently, Dr. Clinton teaches art education at Cairo High School and is an adjunct professor in the FSU Department of Art Education. His research focuses on the way that visual culture influences adolescents.
Did you ever imagine yourself receiving this honor?
Well, I hoped that I would make a difference in the lives of students that would be recognized, but you never know if you will actually be recognized. With so many other qualified and deserving educators it was definitely a surprise.
How did you become involved with GAEA? Why were you attracted to this organization?
As an undergraduate student my advisor, Dr. J. Stephen Lahr always pushed us to become involved in our state organization. So, I knew the importance of staying current on the trends of art education.
What opportunities did you pursue that led to your career or may have helped you along the way?
Along the career path, I have and continue to be fortunate to have superb mentors that are willing to share their wisdom. Prior to entering the PhD program at FSU I discussed the idea with Dr. Charles Magee and Dr. Ansu Mason who are both friends and mentors. They both encouraged me and demanded that I pursue my goals. They are both a large part of my success.
Who were your major professors during your time at FSU? How have those relationships helped you throughout your career?
Dr. Tom Anderson, who recently retired from Florida State University. He continues to serve as a mentor. My relationship with Dr. Tom Anderson has helped me tremendously as I continue along my career path.
Did any particular experience in the FSU program provide you with the tools you needed to lead you to this career path?
Yes. The progressive individuals who served on my dissertation committee have pushed me and they continue to advise me. They are all a major reason that I am successful. These individuals are very demanding, but they are also very supportive which is very important. I have similar relationships with the students that I teach.
What was the most important/influential thing that you learned while in school?
That art education can touch the lives of the world. There are so many ways that art education can be used to influence the lives of students.
Have you had any major setbacks in pursuit of your career path and how did you overcome them?
Not really. We all face difficulties in life, but my belief is that as long as I am working in an area that I am passionate about things will always work out.
Do you have any advice for students or professionals who might desire to follow in your footsteps?
Stay involved as much as you can with your professional organizations. Also, whatever you are passionate about should always be your focal point. Lastly, select great mentors because they can make life a lot easier for you.
Any future plans/goals?
At this point I plan to continue to learn about the ways that visual culture affects students in terms of identity development. Also, I enjoy teaching art. This has been my role for the past 21 years.
The department is extremely proud of Dr. Clinton’s achievement!