Kim Keenan is in her ninth year as an art teacher at Janitell Junior High School, and she sees herself a “facilitator of the imagination” and feels that “art is for everyone.”
Keenan’s favorite part of her job is seeing students embrace new ideas. She also likes the humor.
“The kids are funny,” she said. “You can completely be humorous with them. You never know what to expect in junior high.”
Aaron Hoffman, principal at Janitell and the person who nominated Keenan for the Distinguished Arts Teacher Award, said students want to be in Keenan’s classes.
“They enjoy what they do in there and it is a good experience for them,” he said. “She does a good job of relating the historical significance to the students so they know the background of why they are doing it.”
Keenan also models what she teaches by showing the students what she wants to see.
“She brings in her work as examples and she does the projects with the kids to show them what it should look like,” Hoffman said.
As an advocate for the district’s special needs students, Keenan involves them in her classes and celebrates their achievements.
“Regardless of their artistic measures, she makes sure they have positive experiences,” Hoffman said.
Keenan imparts her love of art to her students and colleagues through her involvement as a member of the District Art Curriculum Articulation Team, a representative to the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration from 2002 to 2005 and continuing her education through college art classes and Colorado Arts Education Association conferences.
Keenan was Janitell’s building representative for Imagination Celebration’s three-year program. Through the program, she was able to encourage other teachers to learn how to incorporate art into their classes.
She received her bachelor’s degree in art education from Colorado State University and is considering getting a master’s degree in fine arts.
In her spare time, Keenan said she likes to play music, cook and garden — anything that is creative. She said her true addiction is reading.
Keenan is married and has a son who is 7 and a daughter who is 3, and is “proud to say they are both artistically talented.”