The Texas Art Education Association (TAEA) announced that Abilene ISD is among the winners of the 2022 District of Distinction Award, which recognizes school districts that are leading the way in visual arts education. According to the TAEA, AISD received the honor for providing a well-rounded education that integrates visual arts curriculum to inspire creativity, build social emotional learning, and connect learners to their community and beyond.

Additionally, the TAEA presented Cooper High School art teacher Shelby Meier with the 2022 National Art Honor Society Sponsor Award. This award is given in recognition of sponsoring an exemplary National Art Honor Society Chapter as evidenced by outstanding student achievement in an NAHS program.

“AISD is thrilled to provide our students and schools with visual arts programming that ranks among the finest in Texas,” said Superintendent Dr. David Young. “Congratulations to our community of art educators for earning this well-deserved recognition by bringing their very best effort to our classrooms every day.”

More than 1,200 Texas school districts were eligible to apply for the 2022 award. Each district submitted documentation according to a 14-point rubric showing their work in visual arts education during the 2021-2022 school year. Only 59 districts met the TAEA’s high standard and will receive the outstanding District of Distinction honor, indicating they are in the top 4 percent of Texas districts with art education programs.

“We are incredibly proud of our art students and teachers in Abilene ISD,” said Jay Lester, AISD Executive Director of Fine Arts. “Their tireless efforts in representing themselves and the district in both local and statewide art shows and competitions has once again placed us amongst the best school districts in the state.”

TAEA is the largest state professional organization for art educators in the United States and the leading advocate for the visual arts in Texas. The TAEA’s mission is to promote quality visual arts education through leadership, advocacy, service, and professional development. This is the fourth year that the TAEA is honoring Districts of Distinction for meeting rigorous educational criteria as evidenced from data.

“The District of Distinction program offers a platform to showcase the amazing work of our very own Abilene ISD art teachers and their students,” said AISD Fine Arts Coordinator Brady Sloane. “Our art teachers are not only talented and dedicated, they change the lives of students, peers, and our community for the better by sharing their gifts. We are thrilled to celebrate with them.”

“Abilene ISD has set a high standard for visual arts advocacy, integrated visual arts curriculum, encouraged creativity, community participation and student growth,” said Sandra Newton, Chair of the Administration and Supervision Division of TAEA. “It is a true testament to AISD’s visual art educators’ skill, dedication, and flexibility that the quality of their programs continued to provide strong and comprehensive visual art educational experiences to students.”

AISD will be honored for earning this recognition at the TAEA Administration & Supervision Division meeting and General Session during the TAEA Fall Conference General Assembly on Friday, November 10, 2022. Visit to learn more about the TAEA.