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State PTA honors Newquist with ‘Outstanding Educator Award’

MADISON – Noel Newquist, known by students across Madison as ‘Mr. New,’ has received the “Outstanding Educator Award” from the Alabama State PTA.

“Over the last 15 years, I have taught visual arts at all of the elementary schools in Madison City: Heritage, Columbia, Madison, West Madison, Horizon, Rainbow, Mill Creek, Midtown and the Pre-Kindergarten Center,” Newquist said.

“My current position is split between Heritage and Midtown,” he said.

His time with Madison City Schools started in the 2008-2009 school year. “One of the reasons I wanted to work for Madison City Schools is because I grew up here, and I am a product of the district. It’s home for me,” Newquist said.

In working with his students, he “believes that learning is, and always should be, fun. If you’re not engaged and interested, you’re not truly learning.”

Newquist enjoys observing his fifth-graders compare portraits that they created in January to their March portraits. “They see how much they’ve grown in that time. Huge success, every time!” Newquist said.

This scenario reminds Newquist’s students “that, even though they won’t be Leonardo da Vinci tomorrow, they can still continue to grow and improve every day. One step at a time.”

“At the end of the day, love is what matters. Even if all my lessons flop, at least I end the day knowing that I’ve loved my students,” he said.

Newquist earned a bachelor’s degree in arts education from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla. in 2006 and a master’s degree in educational theory and practice from Arkansas State University – Jonesboro in 2011. He has been a National Board Certified Teacher or NBCT in Early-Middle Childhood Visual Arts since 2018.

His wife Laura is a stay-at-home mom. Their children are Scott, 12, who attends Liberty Middle School; John, 9, a student at Heritage; and Jackie, 4, who attends Trinity Baptist Church Pre-Kindergarten.

“I enjoy voice-acting all the different characters whenever I read books out loud,” Noel Newquist said. “In what spare time I have, I like to read, watch movies, play video games, hike and barbecue.”

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