During a recent visit to Nicole Hevener’s classroom at DeChaumes Elementary School, it’s clear she embodies creativity head to toe – from her shock of multi-colored hair and teal cat-eye glasses to her cheeseburger tights and Bob’s Burger-themed shoes.
It’s a look that she hopes inspires her fine arts students to embrace what makes them unique and to express their artistic side.
“I tell people I’m Wednesday Adams and Louise Belcher on the inside and Lisa Frank on the outside,” Hevener said, laughing. “It’s to show my kids that you can work, be successful and still be very fun with your look.
“A school nurse once told me that she had a student who had experienced some bullying, and the student said to her, ‘Ms. Hevener doesn’t care what people think. I’m going to be like Ms. Hevener.’ I hope I’m showing (my students) that you can have that confidence and dress the way you want to.”
Hevener, who formerly taught at DeZavala Elementary School for 12 years, is one of 37 certified fine arts teachers added this year to HISD elementary schools, giving all elementary-level students access to fine arts instruction. It’s a move that Hevener says is vital to growing and educating the whole child.
DeChaumes Principal Enedith Silerio echoed that commitment to the whole child at her campus. Up until this year, roughly 20,000 elementary students across the district had little to no access to fine arts instruction. Now those students can participate in arts programs ranging from music, theater, or visual arts on a daily basis.
“We are so grateful for the addition of a dedicated fine arts teacher for our students here at DeChaumes Elementary School,” Silerio said. “Fine arts is essential to critical-thinking skills and the development of the whole child, and we are extremely fortunate to have this additional layer of instructional support for our students.”
You can follow Ms. Hevener’s class on Instagram: @HevenersArtClassHappenings