11th Annual Arts in Education Awards

Young Audiences of Northeast Texas has honored 40 exceptional Fine Arts Teachers over the last 10 years!
Do you know an exceptional teacher of the arts? Nominate them TODAY!


Submissions will close on January 21, 2022

Arts in Education Award Categories

Rising StarPresented to an arts educator demonstrating excellence in his or her first 3 years of teaching.
Distinguished Service to the Profession – Presented to an educator who has not only provided outstanding service to his or her students but also to his or her colleagues and the field of arts education.
Arts Teaching Excellence Awards – Presented to an elementary, middle and high school arts teacher who has gone above and beyond in their field.
The Kay Arms Lifetime Achievement Award –  Presented to an educator who has dedicated his or her life to arts education.
In 2019, we renamed our most prestigious award. Founding board member and supporter, Kay Arms has dedicated her life to Young Audiences and the success of the students in Northeast Texas; she has been diligent in making sure the arts were, and remain a part of the core curriculum.


Nomination Requirements: Principal Recommendation Letter, Curriculum Vitae, Headshot, Work Sample, 300 Word Narrative

Nominate Here

2020 Arts in Education Awards Honorees

Jamie Reason, a 1976 music education graduate from Holy Names University in Oakland, California, has taught violin for fifty years and began her private and school teaching experience while still in high school as an instrumental music teacher aide for Castro Valley schools. Jamie taught for four years as a certified band and instrumental music director for San Lorenzo schools before moving to Texas in 1981 where she served as instrumental music teacher at St. Mary’s School in Longview, established a private music studio and began playing violin with the Longview and East Texas Symphony Orchestras. This is Jamie’s 35th season with the ETSO!
Moving to Tyler in 1988 with her husband, Stephen and their children, Jamie established a thriving Suzuki string studio that would get to “open” for the ETSO park concerts. Jamie returned to teaching in the schools in 2000 as orchestra director at The Brook Hill School. While there, Jamie led her orchestra to two state championships, consistent sweepstakes and superior ratings, and students qualifying for All-Region and All-State. She was also deeply honored to be selected as the recipient of the 2010 Noted Circle award by the Tyler Youth Orchestra (now ETYO) for her “service to the youth and community of Tyler as musician and instructor”, and in 2016 was named the TAPPS Fine Arts Teacher of the Year. In 2016, Jamie retired from her position at Brook Hill with the March birth of her first grandchild. In 2017, Jamie received the Who’s Who Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award in Music Education.
School retirement was short lived with Jamie’s eldest daughter, Sarah taking an orchestra position in 2016 with TISD. Since then, Jamie has been a Tyler ISD string specialist, sectional coach, orchestra assistant, at Robert E Lee High School with her daughter, Sarah. Jamie‘s love for two of God’s amazing creations, children and music, continue to motivate her to educate, equip, challenge and nurture children in music and life.
Read Jamie's Bio

Jamie Reason
Kay Arms Lifetime Achievement 
Strings Specialist/Orchestra Assistant (TISD)
The Brook Hill School, Retired

Regi Fowler is currently the Music Specialist at Douglas Elementary in Tyler. He is originally from Odessa, Texas and holds a Bachelor of Science in Education degree with a Music Emphasis from West Texas A&M University.  From 1982 to 1990, he taught in the Canyon Texas Independent School District, teaching elementary music at Sundown Elementary and Valleyview Junior High as the Choir Director.  While at the junior high, his choirs continuously won Superior and Excellent ratings at UIL, winning Best Junior High Treble Choir at the Greater Southwest Music Festival in 1989.

For 25 years in Amarillo, Mr. Fowler was in full-time music ministry, first at Paramount Terrace Christian Church, and then at First Christian Church. He also continued his work in schools, judging UIL competitions in Odessa, Amarillo and Dallas, as well as a clinician to local school choirs and All District Choirs.  He was also Vice President of Church and Community Choirs for Texas Choral Directors Association in the nineties. He retired from ministry in 2016 and moved to Tyler to be closer to family and to get back to his first love, teaching children about music. He loves his school and his profession.

Read Regi's Bio
Regi Fowler

Regi Fowler
Distinguished Service to the Profession 
Douglas Elementary (TISD)

Angela Rogers Jennings is an art teacher at Caldwell Arts Academy in Tyler.  Angela grew up in the East Texas area and received her Associates Degree in Art from Tyler Junior College and her Bachelors in Art and Education from the University of Texas at Tyler.  She has been teaching for fifteen years, twelve years in the art room, and three years at the T.A.R.G.E.T. pull out school for gifted students in Tyler ISD, using arts integration to teach the core subjects there.

Angela currently serves as the team lead for the visual and performing arts team at her school and is deeply involved in Caldwell’s arts integration team.  In the community, Angela serves as the Chair of the City of Tyler’s Downtown Arts Coalition. In 2019, she was a featured speaker at UT Tyler’s first Professional Practices Art Symposium to encourage art majors to pursue the fulfilling and needed field of art educators.

Her personal work includes the mural under the Gentry bridge “Forgiveness”, mixed media pieces, and in her most recent work she welded a passion flower out of steel to contrast nature and man- made materials.  She led her students in painting a mural downtown that showcases the joys of childhood on a wall that had historically been subject to vandalism.

Her passions include exposing young people to art and art experiences in the studio and in the community, helping core teachers integrate visual arts into their subjects, and adding positivity through art.  Jennings believes that art is an integral tool in a student’s success academically, emotionally, and socially.

Read Angela's Bio
Angela Jennings

Angela Jennings
 Distinguished Service to the Profession
Caldwell Arts Academy (TISD)

Ricardo Rodriguez is currently the Music Teacher at Ramey Elementary in Tyler. He received his Bachelor of Music from The University of Texas at Tyler in 2017. He has served students from Headstart through twelfth grade. Before he began teaching at Ramey, he served as the assistant band director in Jacksonville, Texas. While there, he taught beginner trombone and tuba classes and directed the non-varsity high school band and sub non-varsity middle school band. During his time at Ramey, he has built strong relationships with students and teachers, established The Green Tones Choir, and composed the current arrangement of the school song. His dream of becoming a music educator began in the band hall in seventh grade. His band director handed him the baton and asked him to direct the band. He believes that through music, students will develop skills that they will carry throughout their lifetimes, such as teamwork, leadership, determination, responsibility, and become good citizens and contributors to society.
Read Ricardo's Bio
Ricardo Rodriguez

Ricardo Rodriguez
Rising Star 
Ramey Elementary (TISD)

Amanda Dunn Meelkop has been the Fine Arts teacher at Dixie Elementary in Tyler for the last three years.  She has taught art for five years and this year she became the new Texas Art Education Association: Region 7 Team Director. She is originally from Seven Points, Texas and her youth was spent learning new art styles, being active in church, embracing school and volunteering in many community organizations. In 2005, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (BSIS) with a minor in Education,  EC-4th (CUM LAUDE) and an EC-12th Texas Fine Arts certification. Her passion for learning and art was brought on at a young age by her parents. She was constantly encouraged to finish what she started and to embrace both victories and failures with respect and an open mind. Her mission as an educator is to give every student the same opportunities, she was given to find their own learning styles through exploration and creativity. Nurturing her students’ abilities to express their knowledge and emotions is her true passion as an arts educator.
Read Amanda's Bio
Amanda Dunn-Meelkop

Amanda Dunn-Meelkop
Arts Teaching Excellence: Elementary
Dixie Elementary (TISD)


Bobi Jo Friesen is the Choir Director at Moore MST Magnet Middle School in Tyler. This spring she begins her 20th year of teaching in the public-school system.

Bobi Jo began her degree at Grace College of the Bible in Omaha, Nebraska where she met her husband Don.  Once their boys were in school full-time, she decided to finish her Bachelor of Arts in Music Education at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa.  Bobi Jo is certified in Conversational Solfege, Orff Instrumentation and World Drumming.

During her 20 years of teaching, she has directed vocal jazz, show, choirs, choir and elementary choirs.  Her high school choirs have won multiple awards all over the upper Midwest.  Her show choir, Sound Sensation, performed in New York City shortly after 9/11.

While at Moore Middle School, Bobi Jo has grown the program to almost double the size in just three short years.  Every year she has students performing with the Region 21 All Region Honor Choir.  With the Tyler ISD Foundation Grant for Great Idea she received this past January, she will begin a show choir on the Moore Middle School campus. She looks forward to getting kids excited about singing and expressing their love for music through show choir.

Read Bobi Jo's Bio

Bobi Jo Friesen
Arts Teaching Excellence: Middle
Moore Middle School (TISD


Kelly Laminack is the Harmony High School Visual Art Teacher in Harmony Texas. She has been

teaching art in the public-school system for the past 26 years. She taught one year at Pittsburg

Junior High, and the following year started teaching at Gilmer High School where she taught for 14

years. She has always believed in instilling in her students a love for art and pride for one’s

community. While at Gilmer, she and her students worked closely with the City of Gilmer

creating two large scale murals for their downtown area. They also worked with local businesses

on inside mural projects. Her students recreated over 100 paintings by famous

artists that lined the hallways of the high school. In 1998 Kelly was named Teacher of the Year

for Gilmer Independent School District. She is currently in her 11th year teaching at Harmony High School and continues to encourage artistic expression and a love for the arts. Her students work can be seen all around the school through various murals and art projects. Kelly was born and raised in Upshur County and loves being able to work at the same school she attended growing up. She received her

Associates Degree in Art at Tyler Junior College and a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Art and

Education from the University of Texas, Tyler. Kelly considers herself extremely blessed to be able to introduce and encourage a love for art to each and every student who enters her classroom.



Read Kelly's Bio
Kelly Laminack

Kelly Laminack
Arts Teaching Excellence: High School
Harmony High School


The Kay Arms Lifetime Achievement Award 

Laura Swartz (Tyler ISD) 2019
Denny Whitley (Whitehouse ISD) 2018
Johnny Ray (All Saints Episcopal School) 2018

Distinguished Service to the Profession

Dana Sepko (Tyler ISD) 2019
Darren Richardson (Gladewater ISD) 2018

Rising Star

Adrienne Stine (Tyler ISD) 2019
Chauncy Williams (Winona ISD) 2019
Alison Adkins (Mineola ISD) 2018

Arts Teaching Excellence – Elementary 

Kristin Pool (Tyler ISD) 2019
Cynthia Dempsey (Tyler ISD) 2018

Arts Teaching Excellence – Middle School 

Amy Bailey (Lindale ISD) 2019
Glenn Ballard (Brook Hill) 2018

Arts Teaching Excellence – High School 

Amy Clemens (Tyler ISD) 2019