Heather Fountain, Associate Professor
I have seen the power that art has to open doors to understanding and connection for those who have been bared that opportunity; whether due to limitation of access, understanding, or communication. The most significant moments of my life as a teacher, have been those when I have seen students arrive at that amazing ah-ha moment when their eyes light up with understanding. They have finally made the connection and they are as proud of themselves as you are of them. That is the power of art education.
Dr. Heather Leah Ryerson Fountain, associate professor at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, earned her Ph.D. in Art Education and Curriculum & Instruction from Purdue University, an M.Ed. in Education as a founding member of the Arts in Education Program at Harvard Graduate School of Education and a B.S. in Art Education with a concentration in Disabilities and a focus in Psychology from the University of Maine, Orono. She previously taught grades K-8 in the public schools, and worked with youth ages 6-21 in a psychiatric hospital day school program. She keeps her practice alive by working with youth in a local afterschool art program and teaching art classes in the summer for youth and adults with disabilities.
Currently at Kutztown University Dr. Fountain serves as the Curriculum Chair of the Undergraduate Art Education Program, as part of the Commission on Human Diversity, on the University and College of Visual and Performing Arts Curriculum Committees, as a board member of the Women's Center and teaches undergraduate and graduate, art education courses such as Teaching Art, Design and Visual Culture in grades 5-8, Designing for Disabilities and Differentiated Instruction: Meeting the Needs of ALL Learners.
She has served at the state level as a Member of the Pennsylvania Department of Education's, Task Force on Access to the Arts for Students with Disabilities and currently as a board member and the Higher Education Division Director for the Pennsylvania Art Education Association [PAEA].
Dr. Fountain consults with schools and regularly presents at state and national conferences on topics related to differentiated instruction, disability awareness and the use of art to teach literature instruction. She has served as an invited columnist on the use of art to differentiate literature instruction for the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development’s [ASCD] Spotlight on Language, Literacy and Literature. Her research on differentiated instruction is also highlighted in a chapter she wrote titled, The art of portraiture, in a recently released book titled: Practice theory: Seeing the power of teacher researchers. (Eds.). M. Buffington & S. Wilson McKay published by the National Art Education Association. Her latest book, Differentiated instruction in art was published this past year as part of the Art Education in Practice Series by Davis Publications. She also serves as an editor for a new series of art education best practice books related to differentiated instruction and teaching diverse learners. This series is expected to begin publication in 2014 through Davis Publications.
This year Dr. Fountain received the The John Schellenberg Award for Teaching Excellence from Kutztown University and the Sharadin Award for Exemplary Teaching from the College of Visual and Performing Arts. In 2013, she was recognized at the national level as the NAEA, Council for Exceptional Children, VSA Arts, Peter Geisser Special Needs Art Educator of the Year.
In 2012, she was also recognized by the Pennsylvania Art Education Association as the Special Needs Art Educator of the Year.
During the summer Dr. Fountain can usually be found in her favorite place, Ocean Park, Maine, where she trains camp counseling staff, leads an art camp for middle school aged youth, and works with adults with disabilities. She has worked or volunteered at the same summer camp, Camp Oceanwood, for over 20 years. When not at camp, Dr. Fountain can be seen kayaking in the salt marsh with her husband Matthew, working on her glass artwork or enjoying the beach.