About the Author

Claire McWilliams

Greetings and salutations! My name is Dr. E. Claire McWilliams. I have over thirty years of experience teaching K-12 art and 6-12 special education. Currently retired, I previously worked in both Texas and Rhode Island in schools with as few as eight students and as large as 4,000, which was in a district where the student body spoke 53 different languages from all over the world.

My career began in special education. I have taught self-contained classes for students with behavioral disabilities, self-contained English classes for students with learning disabilities, co-taught inclusive courses in English and algebra, as well as a state-run group home for adolescent girls. Through these experiences, I connected with students in my art classes who struggled academically. I created a learning environment where they not only were successful but often became an admired peer artist. This confidence often transferred to other aspects of their school lives, reaffirming my belief that all students can learn and experience success and that the teacher is the key to making that happen.

I have a Doctorate of Education: Curriculum Leadership from Northeastern University. My dissertation is entitled: Self-efficacy, Implicit Theory of Intelligence, Goal  Orientation, and the Ninth Grade Experience. I earned my Master of Education from Lesley University and was in their integrated arts in learning program. I also obtained a Bachelor of Education from Stephen F. Austin State University with concentrations in art and special education.

Rhode Island has been my home for 27 years. I met my husband 27 ½ years ago at the National Education Association convention in San Francisco. Five years later, we had a daughter, Zoë, an oboist and the light of our lives. I also have a rescue dog, Petey, who spends every possible moment in my lap—all 50 pounds of him.

I am excited to be a part of the Art of Education University team to provide a well-rounded education for art teachers who come in as many shapes and sizes as their students. AOEU appealed to me because it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching art. I love that it allows art teachers to find the method that best suits their teaching style.

Professional Achievements:

Stephen F. Austin State University Bachelor’s Degree (1979)

Lesley University Master’s Degree (2003)

Northeastern University Doctorate Degree (2014)

Posts by Claire

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wall of artwork
Assessment Implementation

How to Teach Self-Reflection, Critiques, Artist Statements, and Curatorial Rationales Like a Pro

Art of Education Magazine & Media Article