Fine Arts Educators of the Year

Monica Kridler, DANCE

Ohio-Dance-educator.jpgThe granddaughter of the first ballet instructor in Akron, Ohio, and the daughter of an avid ballet devotee, Akron native Monica Kridler was moved to dance at an early age. Monica studied classical ballet with Nan Klinger in Cuyahoga Falls and Heinz Poll at the Ohio Ballet and received a scholarship for summer study at the School of American Ballet. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in art history from Wheaton College, Massachusetts, followed by work at Blossom Music Center near her hometown of Akron. Monica has held numerous volunteer leadership positions and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Ohio Arts Council.

More than fifteen years ago, Monica was inspired to start Momentum, an in-school program that uses movement, live music, and performance to teach children the necessary life skills of self-discipline, teamwork, and striving for excellence. In its inaugural year, Momentum formed a partnership with BalletMet, and the program launched with a month-long residency for 50 children at one school. The program grew rapidly, and today Momentum is a free-standing organization affiliated with the Association of National Dance Institutes. Since its founding, Momentum has reached over 8,000 central Ohio boys and girls, and hundreds of educators in dozens of schools.

Ohio Dance Educator of the year is selected by OhioDance


lozano-music-educator.jpgUnder the direction of Omar Lozano, the Miami East High School Symphonic Choir has grown from 10 women to a 72-member mixed choir, a remarkable accomplishment for a school of 375 students. 

His nominator for the Music Educator of the Year award, Frank Fahrer wrote, “He has dedicated himself in developing extremely high levels of commitment by students in both solo and choral levels of musical excellence.”

This year, the Miami East High School Symphonic Choir received Straight Superior ratings in the Ohio Music Education Association Class AA. This is the first time in the school’s history for a group to advance to the state level in AA.

The school’s principal, Todd Gentis, wrote, “Mr. Lozano has a true passion for music education and is a caring, driven and very talented vocal music instructor.”

“He opens doors for students that they could not dream of or even hope for. He is what every parent wants in an educator for their child. He is simply amazing and his students love him,” wrote Linda Carpenter, a parent of two Miami East students.

Mr. Lozano holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education from the University of Akron. He taught choir and band for Fairlawn Local Schools in Sidney, Ohio for nine years before moving to his current position at Miami East Local Schools in 2009. He has played bassoon for the Lima Symphony since 2008 and served as a staff sergeant and bassoonist for the 338th Army Band in Whitehall since 2006. He taught bassoon for Ohio Northern University and has been very active in the Ohio Music Education Association. Mr. Lozano and his wife, Melissa, are the music ministers at their church.

Ohio Music Educator of the Year selected by Ohio Music Education Association


grubbs-theatre-educator.jpgJoy Grubbs, a music educator and choir director in the Hilliard City School District, has a passion for theater and the arts. Each year, she introduces the art of making a musical to a new group of theater students in her all sixth-grade building.  Many of these students have never auditioned for a musical before, and Ms. Grubbs exposes them to the process, terminologies, techniques and basics of stage performance. 

She holds an undergraduate degree from Capital University in music education and received a master’s degree in the same field from The Ohio State University.

Ohio Theatre Educator of the Year selected by Ohio Chapter of the Educational Theatre Association

DR. linda hoeptner poling, visual art

art-teacher.jpg“I have found purpose in helping others find their voice and tell their stories through art, whether they are 3 years old or 102 years old (my youngest and most seasoned students). Art is vital to survival; to dive deep into visual ways of self-expression and creative thinking is one
facet of what makes life worth living.”– Linda Hoeptner Poling

Linda is a life-long learner. She is constantly learning both through her life experiences and her educational advancement. She is constantly seeking out quality continuing education experiences; she regularly attends both State and National Art Educator Conferences and challenges herself by presenting at both State and National level conferences regularly. As a result, she is constantly reflecting and integrating current education positions and technological advances to keep herself and her students on the cutting edge of education. Her goal is to continually take her students beyond where they even imagine they are able to go. I have no doubts or hesitations that Linda is the one to successfully guide and coach her students to achieve their personal success. 

Ohio Visual Art Educator of the Year selected by Ohio Art Education Association

Last Modified: 4/12/2019 11:33:34 AM