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Star teacher: Relieving stress through art

Art teacher Theresa West-Taylo is navigating new challenges this school year in her classroom at North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts, but she’s keeping a positive attitude.

“It’s a very steep learning curve for the teachers of Lee County, and they have risen to it,” West-Taylo said.

A winning attitude and dedication to the art program is why her colleagues nominated her for the Florida Alliance for Arts Education Leadership Award, which she won for 2020.

“I’ve worked with this state organization, the Florida Alliance for Arts Education, on and off over the last 11, 12 years,” West-Taylo said. “This award, it means a lot to me because it’s from a group that I greatly admire.”

And with all her experience, she really believes in art’s importance to mental health during these tough times.

“This is their down time, this is their relax time when they get to take an art class,” West-Taylo said. “I tell them, ‘Do your other academic assignments, and when you need a brain break come back and do a little bit of my work, and that gives your brain time to reconnect.'”

West-Taylo puts her heart and soul into what she does, and her students admire her for it.

“She’s really good at helping,” one student said. “She’s very enthusiastic; she likes to jump around and talk loud, it’s just awesome.”

“She introduced a lot of things to me that I never would have thought of if I didn’t go to this school,” said another.

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