BGSU Magazine Spring 2012

Teacher of the Year owes much to BGSU faculty

As Tennessee Elementary Art Teacher of the Year, Ted Edinger ’96 credits two BGSU faculty members for their important contributions to his success. Edinger was inspired by both Janet Ballweg, art professor and head of printmaking in the School of Art, and Dr. Rosalie Politsky, associate professor of art education. 

Ballweg made an impact as “a very serious instructor who knew when to be lighthearted,” Edinger recalled. He was enrolled in her drawing foundations and computer art classes, and two independent studies in watercolor and drawing. 

“Janet Ballweg was both an artist and a teacher,” Edinger said. “She knew how to encourage and challenge you, not allowing you to get away with anything but your personal best.” 

He said Politsky was “very passionate about art education and opened my eyes to knowing my craft and being able to articulate that to others.” 

Edinger was honored as the 2012 Elementary Art Teacher of the Year by the Tennessee Art Education Association. He previously represented the state of Tennessee on a committee to establish art-related scoring standards for The Praxis Series. In 2009, he wrote the Tennessee Elementary Art Standards, and in 2007 and 2011 he helped to write the new art curriculum for Metro Nashville Public Schools, which employs at least 90 elementary art teachers. 

Soon after he earned his bachelor’s degree in art education from BGSU, Edinger was one of 80 new art teachers hired by Metro Nashville Public Schools. His first teaching job was at an elementary school with more than 700 students — more than 10 times the population of his hometown of Brownsville in southeastern Ohio. 

“My dad was a coal miner, and he always encouraged my sister and me to leave the valley because there were so few opportunities,” Edinger said. “I believe with any specialty, you have to have a willingness to move where the jobs are.” 

Edinger’s community of colleagues has grown beyond the art teachers in his own school district. He shares inspiration and project ideas with more than 1,800 followers of Pinterest.com, a visually driven social media site; and others through his blog, Artwithmre.blogspot.com

Edinger emphasized that the Internet also helps him stay in contact with his BGSU mentors — who helped prepare him for his career in art education. “I can’t say enough about the education I received at BGSU,” Edinger said. “I had such an amazing experience.”