Erin Garrity-Duffey developed her passion for art as a student in Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211, and has spent 17 years — nearly all of them in District 211 — teaching it.

This year, the James B. Conant High School teacher was named 2021 Illinois Art Education Association Administrator of the Year — recognizing her for overall excellence and service to the field.

The awards and scholarship committee, who was alerted to Garrity-Duffey’s work by a colleague who nominated her, said they found her professional performance, service and leadership to be exemplary in every regard.

“It was very humbling to have one of your peers nominate you and to be recognized by the top individuals in the business,” she said. “This has been a complete surprise.”

Garrity-Duffey hopes all her students learn that the important part of anything — including art — is “the process.”

“The most important thing we teach students in the classroom is the process of making and developing an idea,” she said. “We don’t always enjoy the product of that effort, but the effort is worth something.”

The Illinois Art Education Association is the premier professional development provider for art, design and media educators in Illinois, serving thousands of teachers statewide.

To learn more about Garrity-Duffey, watch her interview with the D211 Post