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Elm Grove, Bethlehem Elementary Art Teacher Earns State Award

Photo provided Ellen Culler, center, teaches art to students at both Elm Grove and Bethlehem elementary schools. She recently was named the 2021 WVAEA Elementary Art Educator.

An art teacher at both Elm Grove and Bethlehem elementary schools has been honored as the top of her field by the West Virginia Art Education Association.

Ellen Culler, who has been part of Ohio County Schools since 1987, was named the WVAEA’s 2021 winner of the Elementary Art Educator award.

“It’s an exciting honor for me,” Culler said. “It means even more because the nominations are made by members of the WVAEA, and those members are educators throughout West Virginia. That truly makes it special.”

Before serving as the art teacher at Bethlehem and Elm Grove, Culler previously served as art teacher at Woodsdale and Steenrod elementary schools. She also has served as an adjunct art professor at Wheeling University.

Culler started her teaching career in Broward County, Florida, but relocated to “give back” to her home state of West Virginia.

WVAEA President-Elect Jeffrey B. Grubbs — an associate professor of art education and art history at West Liberty University — said Culler submitted extensive documentation explaining how she has worked hard to be the best art education teacher she can be for her students, schools and the school system.

Principals at both Bethlehem and Elm Grove lauded Culler for her work and dedication.

Bethlehem Elementary Principal Stacy Dietz has known Culler for years in different roles. Along with being her colleague as an educator, Culler also was Dietz’s son’s art teacher.

“Ellen exemplifies a true visionary and an innovative educator,” Dietz said. “She draws out hidden creativity within her students and motivates them to use this new found expression to build their self-esteem.

“She educates them in the history and style of different forms of artistic expression, and she heightens their senses to the world around them,” Dietz added.

Elm Grove Elementary Principal Rick Dunlevy echoed Dietz’s praise for Culler’s devotion to her students.

“Ellen Culler is a dedicated art teacher who works long hours to perfect her teaching,” Elm Grove Elementary Principal Rick Dunlevy added.

“She is always going the extra mile to help her students and volunteers her time at many afterschool activities.”

Culler will be recognized for her achievement at 6 p.m. Oct. 22 during the WVAEA Conference Award Banquet at Wilson Lodge at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling.


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