Introduction: Language Arts is, at its core, about teaching students to effectively express themselves and to accurately interpret the communication of others, so I’ve always thought that divisions between English and Art were arbitrary and counterintuitive. Both use the same tools – connotation/denotation, critical thinking, inferences from context clues, cultural influences, creative elements of “craft”, etc. – they just seem to speaking different dialects. English primarily concerns itself with written and oral language, and Art primarily with visual language (if you don’t consider visual iconography a language, no further remedy is necessary than “reading” Shaun Tan’s The Arrival…but more on that to come!). As a beginning teacher, I thought there was no better way to cross the bridge between these two disciplines with my students than through the medium of the graphic novel, a literary form whose merit has long been unduly denied.
Nick works full-time for Columbia Public Schools as the district Coordinator of Language Arts and Social Studies (6-12), after spending his earlier career teaching a 9th Grade English/Government linked course, Reading Enrichment, and Creative Writing in a Digital World, and coordinating Oakland Junior High School's Success Center, a program for at-risk 9th graders.
In his other life, Nick is a doctoral student in English Education at the University of Missouri-Columbia and an online instructor for MU Online, where he teaches Reading/Writing/Teaching Creative Nonfiction, Reading/Writing/Teaching the Graphic Novel, and Visual Literacy/Visual Culture. He is an executive board member and frequent facilitator for the Missouri Writing Project. He also serves as the current Dean of Education for the American Legion Missouri Boys State program.
In his other other life, Nick lives in Columbia with his wife, Ashley, his children Liam (3) and Ellison (1), and his Katrina refugee (dog), Tara. If he had free time anymore, he would enjoy music, basketball, film, and most things nerdy.