Congratulations to Mary Silvestri Simmons, art teacher at The Learning Center for the Deaf, for being named Special Needs Educator of the Year by the Massachusetts Art Education Association (MAEA). She will be honored at a luncheon during the MAEA's Fall Conference, November 8-9, 2014.
Mary earned her BFA in Art Education in 2001 from Boston University. While at Boston University her favorite course was Teaching Art to Special Populations, which inspired her to do internships at Horace Mann, EDCO, and The Learning Center for the Deaf. She also spent one year at Gallaudet University taking several classes in Deaf Education. During her time at Gallaudet, Mary coordinated an Art Show/Social with renowned deaf artist Chuck Baird. Baird then invited Mary to be part of Deaf Way II. She became part of the International Art Festival Staff training gallery curators and planned artists' seminars and panel critiques.
Mary taught Art for two years at Escape to the Arts in Connecticut while providing ASL tours at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Mary finished her M.Ed. degree in art at Framingham State University. She has been a K-12 art teacher at The Learning Center for Deaf in Framingham, MA for the past 11 years teaching visual arts to Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students, students with multiple disabilities, and hearing students who need visual language access. Mary is a strong supporter of the NAEA SNAE Special Issues Group and has attended several of their workshops and presented trainings on teaching Deaf Students with Multiple Disabilities. She is a recent CAGS graduate at Plymouth State studying Educational Leadership with a concentration in Arts, Leadership and Learning.
Mary enjoys working with a wide variety of art mediums including watercolor, sculpture, welding, mixed media and painting. Her art has been on display in several Deaf art shows and juried art exhibits across the country including Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Michigan. Mary is also the Owner/Founder of ARTY PARTY by Mary, where she brings accessible creative entertainment to the Deaf Community in New England.