Students aren’t the only ones who value the efforts of art teacher Brian Sommersberger.
So do people like Frank Juarez, an art teacher at Sheboygan North High School who used to work with Sommersberger.
“I believe he is an effective educator and strong advocate for art education, and communicates the importance of living an art-centered life,” Juarez said, noting that when they worked together, Sommersberger “engaged his students in the world of art, exposed them to a variety of artworks and artists, and created a supportive community of learners within his classroom.”
Sommersberger, a 2008 graduate of Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, will be recognized Oct. 23 in Milwaukee by the Wisconsin Art Education Association when he receives the Outstanding Art Educator-Elementary Division Award. He was nominated by Juarez.
Sommersberger, a Sheboygan resident, is in his first year as an art teacher at Wilson Elementary School in Sheboygan. For the previous five years, he taught art to kindergarteners through eighth graders in Random Lake.
“The way I like to teach is, you have to get kids interested in what’s being taught,” Sommersberger said. “What are ways I can get them hooked in a certain form of art? … I’m one to always explore new ideas, go out and do different things they haven’t seen before.”
Sommersberger said he’s also a big supporter of collaborating with other artists and art teachers.
He noted that his education at Silver Lake College provided a strong foundation for becoming the teacher he is today.
“Silver Lake is known for its teaching program,” Sommersberger said. “It’s an in-depth program they gave me that can’t be beat by any other college. People know that the teaching is really good at Silver Lake. They go above and beyond.”
Among Sommersberger’s teachers at Silver Lake College were art professors Sister Mariella Erdmann and Dionne Landgraf.
“Brian Sommersberger impressed me from our first meeting,” Sister Mariella said. “He had a passion for art, along with a sensitivity for others. With all his talent, and he had a lot, he was a humble person who gave his time to help other students who may be struggling.”
Landgraf added that Sommersberger was a model of servant leadership during his time at Silver Lake College and worked actively in the community by providing classes and workshops in schools and at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan.
“He is gifted as an artist, communicator and art instructor,” Landgraf said, adding that he provides “a positive and exciting learning environment that is considerate and respectful of students and faculty.”
Sommersberger recently concluded his tenure as the Wisconsin Art Education Association North East Regional Vice President.