2022 Winner

Kara Aquino

Valley View Boys' Leadership Academy

PreK–8th Grade Art

“Kara has a unique and wonderful rapport with her students. … In my 20+ years teaching in Cleveland I have never found an art teacher who was so good at visual artistic projects. Her projects are aligned with the standards but in the most colorful, creative, and bold ways.”

Kara Aquino’s mother and grandmother were both art teachers, and her love for art began when she was a child. Kara graduated from Kent State University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts in visual art education with over 50 hours of graduate work from various universities. She began her teaching career in 1996 in the CMSD and currently teaches at Valley View Boys’ Leadership Academy.

Believing that art is all around, Kara has created an art curriculum that integrates art into all major subjects. Collaborating with teachers is an important part of her teaching pedagogy. In addition to her collaborative work with teachers at Valley View, Kara is one of four founding teachers of the Community Youth Art Show, which showcases eight different CMSD and Cleveland parochial schools. Now in its 12th year, the event showcases over 300 pieces of student art from the community.

Kara is also a fellow teacher with the CMSD Fab Lab, and spearheaded a partnership grant with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Goodyear for a “STEAM” room makeover at her school. As a fellow, Kara will be able to train staff and students on how to create interdisciplinary, rigorous projects where students can learn while they create, invent, manufacture, build, and explore using digital fabrication machines, tools, and materials in the school’s new, state of the art makerspace.

Contact Ms. Aquino