Monday, June 10, 2013


Chris Cooper – 874 Words


My love of art is more about just creating something with everything you have in you and not letting this world take that feeling away from you.”
Evelyn Shoults

            Evelyn Shoults found out she was Alabama Teacher of the Year Award winner for 2012 and 2013 through letters that were sent to her headmaster, principals, and herself.
“I am very honored to have been able to receive the Alabama Teacher of the Year Award the past two years, but most of all honored to have such incredible students that touch my life daily.”
She received a plaque and gift certificate for art supplies.
Shoults inherited the love of art from her family, where she was exposed to the art form since she was a child.
 “I can not remember a time that it was not a part of me.  I enjoy many mediums of art and am always willing to learn something new.  I work with acrylic, watercolor, oils, drawing in graphite, sculpt in clay and found objects, and dabble in glass art.  I also have a hobby in photography.”
She always knew art would play a special role in her life, but she was adamant that she would never become a teacher.  
She attended Auburn Montgomery University with a major in Graphic Design and a minor in Marketing.   While in college, she discovered the art of photography.

“In graphic design we had to come up with many different project ideas and most projects just leaded themselves to having photography in them, so strong photography was important. With photography you can go down many avenues. For me it really boils down to an artistic photograph is the vision of that particular artist. Every person will have a different interpretation and way to capture an image. With strong composition and individual style artistic photography is in the making and who is to say it is not art?”

She worked as a graphic designer; and even though she enjoyed her job she felt that something wasn’t right. 
“I felt that there was something missing, something was not being fulfilled in my daily tasks.   I wanted to do more with my art.”
She learned that there was an art teacher position open at a Montgomery Public School.   She applied for the position and started her first year of teaching in September of 2007.  She realized this was the calling in her life. 
            “I did not realize how it would change my life so incredibly.”

She teaches visual art to 6th, 7th, and 8th grad middle students.  She also teaches Photography 1, Photography II, and Graphic Design to 10th, 11th, and 12 grade high school students. 
“Artwork is very subjective, so I list out my rubrics in attainable goals for each project that the student should have accomplished in their final piece.  I aim to enter student work in as many competitions as possible.  There are many local, district, regional, and national art competitions that I enter my students in each year.  I believe in building confidence in each child and these competitions definitely do the job. Even though I make a master plan, my plans change for each class for different students. I have to be flexible to the learning styles and varying talents of each student.”
The most difficult thing about being a teacher and an artist is that she has to literally force herself to make time to do her own artwork.

“It is hard to get inspired about my own artwork when I am a teacher of art.  The reason is I am so focused on pushing my students to be better artists that I let myself as an artist go.  I have to plan a day and time each week to devote to my artwork.  I paint every Tuesday night from 5 to 7 p.m. with a wonderful group of artists.  This has turned out to be a blessing in my life.”
Shoults considers her students her blessings as well.  She’s seen many artistic works from her students, but more than their art, it is the student her or his self that inspires Shoults the most.
“I have seen incredible talent in the children I have taught, but my favorite part about teaching is when a student is impressed by their own talent that they can’t stop smiling from there accomplishments.”

Many people may question the validity of art and the power it may or may not have in the classroom and in a student’s life – both in the present and in the future.  According to Shoults, there is no question that art is necessary and vital for a student’s well being.
I believe the arts, not just visual arts, are crucially important to the
development of a well-rounded child and adult. The arts have no cultural barriers, it is understood by all.  The arts help with attitudes, social skills, independence, critical and creative thinking.  The arts have proven to help with higher order thinking skills including analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and problem-solving. All these are important, but most of all the arts provide a means for every student to find a place, a niche, a joy in life.”

            Contact Shoults at for more information. 


Photo 1.  Evelyn Shoults standing next to two of her paintings:  boots, oil on canvas and tree lined path, oil on canvas.  Copyright by Evelyn Shoults

Photo 2.  Award winning self-potrait of Ben and Evelyn Shoults by Shoults, with Nikon DSLR.  Copyright by Evelyn Shoults.

Photo 3.  Award winning photograph of Shoults's daughter by Shoults.  Copyright by Evelyn Shoults.

Photo 4.  Award winning photograph of Shoults's daughter by Shoults.  Copyright by Evelyn Shoults.

Photo 5.  Image of a painting in progress by Shoults - oil on canvas.  Copyright by Evelyn Shoults.

Photo 6.  Award winning photograph of dog by Shoults.  Copyright by Evelyn Shoults.   

Photo 7.  Shoults standing next to her painting, red train, oil on canvas. 


  1. Art..huh...Is that what this is? Clearly the south has a different definition.

  2. This is the quality of work that "teacher of the year produces"?....interesting.