041019_MNS_Munson_award Dana Munson Jessica Booth Joan Weatherford

From left, Riverwood International Charter School art teacher Dana Munson, who won the National Art Education Association's Outstanding National Art Honor Society Sponsor Award; Georgia Coordinator of Fine Arts Jessica Booth and Joan Weatherford, an art teacher at Dodgen Middle School in Cobb County who won the Outstanding Junior National Art Honor Society Sponsor Award; gather at the association's conference in Boston. / Special Photo

Local art teacher Dana Munson said the national honor she won last month should actually not go to her.

Munson, who teaches drawing and painting at Riverwood International Charter School in Sandy Springs, won the Outstanding National Art Honor Society Sponsor Award from the National Art Education Association at its conference in Boston last month.

“This award should have gone to my students," she said. “We guide them in running their national art organization, and we are always there for the kids. But they are the ones who benefit from this honor society, and it is for them that we do it. So this is not my award but the kids' award."

Awards are becoming old hat for Munson, a Midtown resident who has taught at Riverwood for a decade. She won the 2018 Dr. Helen Fleming Stone Distinguished Teacher of the Year award at the society’s Georgia conference last year in Columbus.

Munson, who also serves as Riverwood’s visual and performing arts department chair, was named the 2013 and 2011 Southeastern Art Educator of the Year, according to an email from the Fulton County Schools district.

On its website, the National Art Education Foundation, a division of the association, stated it “invests in innovative initiatives to support instructional practice, research and leadership in visual arts education.”

Betsy Eppes, the Fulton district’s visual and performing arts coordinator, nominated Munson for the foundation’s state award, and her winning that honor qualified her for the national one. Eppes said Munson definitely deserved to receive the national accolade.

“I nominated Dana for this award because what she does is an extracurricular activity, and because it is a national honor society, it requires a great deal of commitment from both the students and teachers,” she said.

Eppes said Munson earned the national award due to how she has helped guide the Riverwood club to a standout position as a national honor society at the high school level.

"The Riverwood club competes in national competitions and not only wins awards but also scholarships," she said. "Dana not only has a passion for teaching art, as she is an artist herself, but this passion and the commitment she has for her students is very evident in everything she does."

Riverwood has had an arts honor society for seven years, and Munson said it is nice for the honor society and her students to get the national recognition.

Munson credits her love of art to her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Fuller, who told her she would be an artist when she grew up "because I could draw people's eyes so well."

"Since then, I have always loved art and I just can't get away from it," she said.

As to the future, she is very excited about the honor society moving into a new building on the Riverwood campus in the next school year.


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