Research critical to graphic design, says award winning teacher


Jann Gartner, graphic design teacher at the Warwick Career and Technical Center, has been awarded the Starr Teacher Award from the Holocaust Education & Resource Center of RI. Joyce and Bob Starr present this award to a teacher who shows outstanding teaching ability in regards to the Holocaust.

“They thought I was a history teacher,” said Gartner.

In order to do a complete job on projects like the Holocaust poster contest, background information of some history of the Holocaust must be taught, said Gartner. This gives students a better understanding of their objective of creating a well thought out poster on a historical event such as the Holocaust.

“She made the Holocaust come alive for the students” said William McCaffrey, director of the Warwick Career and Technical Center.

Gartner incorporates whatever is necessary for a project. She teaches English, science, math or whatever subject is involved in what her students are designing. This award included a prize of $250 for the class.

Paula Olivieri from the Holocaust Center said that Gartner was honored this year because “there were submissions [to the poster contest] from her students that were incredible and outstanding depicting the Holocaust.”

Jacob St. Germain from Toll Gate and Jessabella Baez from West Warwick won first place for their art and sculpture work. Jessica Pietros (Toll Gate), Sarah Stone (Pilgrim) and Austin Williams (Toll Gate) won second place honors while Joel Dunn (Pilgrim) and Tom Plante (Toll Gate) placed third.

The winning poster was a collage of different Holocaust pictures done in pencil. Gartner and her students were honored at an ice cream party hosted by the Holocaust Center on June 9.

Gartner has been teaching for 27 years. Her interest in graphic design dates back to the days when she was a student at the center. She went on to earn her undergraduate degree in graphic design and photography from Southern Mass University and her masters in instructional technology from Rhode Island College.

Before returning to the classroom as a teacher, Gartner worked as a designer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Foxon Packaging and Hasbro. Her classroom is equipped with Apple computers and is decorated with artwork done by the students.

McCaffrey describes Gartner as “an excellent teacher who knows how to reach students and is good at personalizing instruction to meet the students’ needs.”

Jann Gartner’s students also competed in the Lindsay Ann Burke poster contest about abusive relationships. Student Jacob St. Germain won first place. The Lindsay Ann Burke Memorial Fund is dedicated to Anna Burke’s daughter, a graduate from North Kingstown High School and Rhode Island College who was murdered at age 23 by her boyfriend. The fund sponsors the contest and a scholarship every year to spread awareness on abusive relationships.

Gartner said her students have won the award for the past five or six consecutive years.


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