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Bemidji State professor captures two awards

Barbara Bridges, professor of professional education at Bemidji State University, has captured two Educator of the Year honors.

Bridges 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.

Bridges has been with BSU for 11 years. She is currently involved with BSU's Distributed Learning in Teacher Education program, a hybrid online 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, Minnesota Online High School, Perpich Center, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Weisman Museum and 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.