Lilian Gonzalez named Teacher of the Year at Lawton Chiles Middle School

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 0 Comments

Lilian Gonzalez named Teacher of the Year at Lawton Chiles Middle School


Just before she earned her Bachelor’s degree at Florida International University, Lilian Gonzalez discovered her true calling while working alongside her trusted adviser as an intern – teaching art.

“I had the opportunity to intern at Dr. Carlos J. Finlay Elementary under the guidance of one of the best art educators in the county, Mabel Morales,” Gonzalez said. “My mentor was inspiring and made me realize that art is a very important part of a child’s development. I was my mentor’s last intern and she now is my visual arts district supervisor.”

Gonzalez has inspired her students through art and her colleagues painted her with a creative brush, awarding her Lawton Charles Middle School Teacher of the Year for 2017-2018. 

Gonzalez said she was elated when she learned about the honor and thanked her students and faculty staff for sharing her vision of making art a part of her students’ lives.

“I am very excited and happy to be able to facilitate an outlet of creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication for my students,” she said. “My goal is for my students to be able to experience different mediums and creative avenues and that they find the artistic path they truly enjoy the most.”

Gonzalez has been teaching at Lawton Chiles Middle School for two years but left her mark at Eugenia B. Thomas K-8 Center where she taught art for 10 years.

She said her Kindergarten through fifth-grade students learned how to express themselves through drawings and paintings by using their creative skills and imagination, typically in a visual form to reflect their beauty and emotional power of their lives.

For example, through Two-Dimensional Studio Art 1 course, Gonzalez’s students explore media and techniques used to create a variety of 2-D artworks by developing skills in drawing, painting, printmaking and collage.

She said her students also practice sketch and manipulate the structural elements of art, and investigation of artworks from Western and non-Western cultures provide a means for students to expand their understanding and appreciation of the role of art in global culture. 

“Student artists use an art criticism process to evaluate, explain and measure artistic growth in personal or group works,” she said. “This course incorporates hand-on activities and consumption of art materials.”

Some of her students’ art works won school awards and local art competitions

Following college graduation, Gonzalez was so excited to start teaching art on her own after the dress rehearsal at Dr. Carlos J. Finlay Elementary.

With an open spot for an art teacher at Eugenia B. Thomas K-8 Center, Gonzalez was awarded the job and she never looked back.

Winning the Teacher of the Year honors left her mentor even prouder.

Besides sponsoring Art Club activities, Gonzalez is also involved in assisting in improving her school’s academics programs for students.

She has been part of various committees that worked to organize and plan for the school’s improvement, and she’s a part of the leadership team that led the special areas and electives groups.   

Gonzalez treats each school year as getting the best out of her students.

“Together with cooperation of all, it will be another great artistic year,” she said.


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