Staci Danford

Southwest Christian School

What she teaches: High school art. Art 1, Art 2, Art 3 Honors, AP Art

How long she’s taught: Since 1991, starting seventh year at Southwest Christian, where she’s nurtured and grown an award-winning art program.

Education: Bachelor of education and an All Level K-12 Art Certification from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene

Why she teaches: There are many jobs in the world that pay more than those of an educator, but NONE, in my opinion, more rewarding. This is one of the only careers in the world where you can say you have created a “family” of people who are of no blood relation. The countless hours we spend together before, during and after school become a place where lifelong bonds are born.  Our lives mesh together in ways that go way beyond painting a beautiful picture. As I watch my students create, I see their eyes fill with sparkle and their minds fill with wonder. It is at that moment that I know there is no place I would rather be… than in the classroom. It is my daily privilege to plant the seeds of artistic passion into the lives of my students. I treasure each and every moment in which I am allowed the opportunity not only plant those seeds, but also to watch them grow. It is my sincere desire to create tiny, artistic footprints upon their life, while they simultaneously leave tracks upon mine. After 25 years, I can say without question, that my greatest teachers have been the children in my classroom. They have taught me to dream bigger than I ever imagined possible, to face my fears in order to achieve greatness, and most of all, to be forever reminded of the ability within us ALL to create. May we all experience the thrill of creation- where our hearts, minds, and hands unite.

Why she’s a Top Teacher: “Staci embodies what a passionate teacher looks like. Literally. She is art in its purest form. Crazy, fun, and never puts limitations on a student. She encourages and pursues students in a life giving way and it is truly fun to watch her bring out the best in her students.” – Colleague, in nominating Danford