BSU professor captures two Educator of the Year laurels

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Dr. Barbara Bridges, professor of professional education at Bemidji State University, has captured two Educator of the Year honors. She was named the Minnesota Higher Art Educator of the Year by the Art Educators of Minnesota in November and in April was named the Minnesota Art Educator of the Year by the National Art Educators Association.

The Art Educators of Minnesota award is the second for Bridges; she also was that organization’s Minnesota Higher Art Educator of the Year in 1998. She also received the 2004 Exceptional Program Award from the Higher Continuing Education Association.

The National Art Educators Association and Art Educators of Minnesota honor an outstanding member of their organizations from for service and contributions to art education meriting recognition and acclaim. Recipients of the national award are selected by their state or province association.

Bridges has been with Bemidji State for 11 years. She is currently involved with the University’s Distributed Learning in Teacher Education program, a hybrid on-line partnership program for the licensure of K-8 teachers, and its FasTrack secondary initiative designed for previously-degreed candidates interested in teaching high school. The combined programs serve 250 teacher licensure students who are employed with an average age of 35 and are place-bound with children. In addition, she teaches the courses Foundations of Education; Human Relations; and Critical and Creative Thinking.

Bridges began her teaching career in Maine as an art teacher in 1976, and has since taught in Mexico and the Carribbean in addition to Minnesota. She has partnered with a wide variety of organizations in Minnesota including the Minneapolis school district, the Minnesota online high school, the Perpich Center, the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Weisman Museum and the Minnesota Museum of Art.

She also offers student and professional retreats at her home in Maine each year.

Bridges earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art education from the University of Maine in 1975 and 1981, respectively, and holds a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Minnesota.

For more information, please contact the Department of Professional Education in Bemidji State University’s College of Arts and Sciences at (218) 755-3787, or visit the department on the Web at