Working with Students Dealing with Trauma and Crisis: Stories from Art Teacher Survivors


Working with Students Dealing with Trauma and Crisis: Stories from Art Teacher Survivors
Wednesday, March 11, 2020 | 7-8 pm ET

FREE for NAEA Members; $49 for non-members

Research tells us that traumatic events are external, but they quickly become incorporated into the mind (Terr, 1990) and the body (Van der Kolk, 1991). In recent years, students have been affected by a variety of traumatic events—from high-profile school shootings to weather-related events, including fires, hurricanes, and tornadoes, to the opiate crisis and personal traumas. As art instructors, we are faced daily with students experiencing what might be the biggest fight of their lives. Two educators will relate stories of their own recent traumatic experiences and their efforts to help their students and families.

Debra Pylypiw

Debra Pylypiw, BFA, MAEd, MS, EdD
Retired Art Educator; Adjunct Professor, Fayetteville Technical Community College,
Fayetteville, North Carolina 

Debra Pylypiw recently retired after a 28-year career in art education, having taught all levels from pre-K-20. She served as the North Carolina Art Education Association President and the NAEA Southeastern Region Vice President. Debra was recently selected to be the National Convention Program Coordinator for the 2021 NAEA National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. Recognition for her work includes being named the 2008 North Carolina Art Educator of the Year, the 2010 NAEA National Art Honor Society Sponsor of the Year, the recipient of the 2010 Coastal Carolina Community College Adjunct Excellence in Teaching Award as well as the 2009 NAEA Marion Quin Dix Leadership Award.

In September 2018, eastern North Carolina was hit by Hurricane Florence which caused catastrophic damage mostly due to freshwater flooding and lasted for four days. Debra’s school sustained major damage and was closed for eight weeks. Students and faculty lost their homes, businesses, and livelihood. Creative efforts were developed to help meet the needs of those impacted.

Cris Guenter

Cris Guenter, EdD
Professor Emeritus, California State University, Chico

Cris Guenter has been a K-20 educator for 43 years. She has served as the California Art Education Association President and NAEA Pacific Region Vice President, and is currently on the Board of Trustees for the National Art Education Foundation. She has received many accolades, including Outstanding Teacher at Chico State, California Outstanding Art Educator, and NAEA 2008 National Art Educator of the Year.

In November 2019, the Camp Fire, California’s deadliest and most destructive fire, devastated Butte County, CA. The towns of Paradise (8 miles east of Chico), Magalia, and Concow were decimated. Chico’s population grew by 20.7% overnight. Thousands of people were displaced. It is one thing to read about trauma and another to directly experience it. Cris and her colleagues continue to help students and educators with trauma recovery efforts in Butte County.

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