Alumna Receives National Art Educator Award

Ali Petrauskas at her art desk
Friday, March 31, 2023
Allison Petrauskas ’16 is the art teacher at Harold E. Winkler Middle School in Concord, N.C.

Alumna Allison Petrauskas ’16 has received the 2023 New Professional Art Educator Award from the National Art Education Association (NAEA), the leading professional membership organization for visual arts educators. This prestigious award, determined through a peer review of nominations, recognizes excellence and achievement by new art educators. The award will be presented during the NAEA 2023 National Convention in San Antonio.


Petrauskas is the art teacher at Harold E. Winkler Middle School in Concord, N.C., where she teaches students in 6th-8th grades. A double major at UNC Charlotte, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art with a concentration in painting in 2016. After graduating, she returned to UNC Charlotte to earn a Graduate Certificate in Art Education and gained her teaching license in 2018.

“I studied under professors who were teaching while being working artists,” she said. “Here I learned techniques, processes, when to let go of control, when to harness it, and that you can make a career as an artist.”

In 2021, Petrauskas was named “Rookie Teacher of the Year” by the North Carolina Art Educators Association and subsequently submitted her portfolio for the national award.

"This award is being given to recognize excellence in professional accomplishment and service by a dedicated art educator,” said NAEA President James Haywood Rolling, Jr. “Allison Petrauskas exemplifies the highly qualified art educators active in education today: leaders, teachers, students, scholars, and advocates who give their best to their students and the profession."

Petrauskas credits her students as her greatest inspiration and says making a difference in their lives is “the best part of the job.” 

“Students who smile at you in the hallway, come back to visit your class when their semester is over, send you emails years later to let you know what their lives are like. Relationships are why I teach, to be a person to advocate for another and celebrate their successes and help them navigate through challenges.”