Karen Brady Popovich was named the 2012 Illinois Art Educator of the Year by the Illinois Art Education Association (IAEA) and received the award at the IAEA conference in November. The annual award recognizes the exemplary contributions, service and achievements of an outstanding IAEA member. Popovich has taught at Metea Valley High School in Aurora, IL, since 2009. After majoring in studio art, she began her career 17 years ago at the elementary school level and then moved to the middle school level. A National Board Certified Teacher, Popovich uses art in her curriculum to inspire and help children around the world. Examples include the design and painting of a tent to be used as a classroom for refugees in Darfur, Sudan, and “The Memory Project,” an art experience where students in the United States create portraits as gifts for children in Nambia, Africa.