Mindy Duncan

Ashland University art education graduate Mindy Duncan earns award at Mansfield Senior

Published on May 01, 2023
Art + Design

Mindy Duncan has never forgotten how much Ashland University helped her career as an art teacher.

“It helped immensely,” said Duncan, who has been teaching art for 29 years at Mansfield Senior High School. “I feel the close relationships with the very caring and excellent staff at AU helped foster my artistic and educational pursuits. Even after I graduated, there was continued support from art professors and colleagues.”

Duncan was recognized recently for her dedication to students with an Every Student, Every Day Champion award during a Mansfield school board meeting in April.

“I honestly wasn’t expecting it,” she said. “I thought it was an award to honor four of my art students. It was an incredible surprise and I felt very honored to receive such a distinguished award.”

Some of her former students have gone on to careers as fashion designers, art directors and art teachers, and many others have won local, regional and state art shows. Several have graduated from AU, which she said she highly recommends to her students.

“I enjoy the students,” she said. “They are so creative and insightful. I feel we have a lot to value with our young people, fresh ideas and interesting perspectives. They are so genuine and love to be engaged in appreciating and learning about the artistic process.”

Learning about the artistic process began at Ashland for Duncan in the late 1980s as a non-traditional student. The 1976 graduate of Black River High School in Ashland County was living in the area with four young children when she enrolled at Ashland College, which changed its name to Ashland University by the time she graduated magna cum laude in 1992.

After graduating, Duncan taught as a long-term sub in Ashland City Schools before landing her job at Mansfield Senior.

In addition to teaching, Duncan has worked as a professional artist, showing and selling her artwork across the country. She also has 10 works in AU’s permanent art collection.

Up until the last several years, Duncan, who is still in contact with several of her college instructors, has had student-teachers from AU in her classroom.

“Ashland University’s art education program was fortunate to have Mindy work with art education students as they navigated the route between their college classes and the real world of teaching,” said Priscilla Roggenkamp, who retired in 2022 as an associate professor of art at AU. “One of the qualities that most impressed my students was the love that Mindy had for her students and their obvious love and respect for her.

“Mindy’s classes were creative, productive, student-centered and effective,” Roggenkamp added. “Her students learned a lot.”

Roggenkamp said Duncan’s own artworks impressed both her students and AU students and, as a role model, reminded them to continue on their creative paths.

Teaching at Mansfield Senior has been one of the most rewarding careers she could’ve hoped for, Duncan said.

“I feel all of my experiences helped shape me into the person I am,” she said. “My experiences at AU, Ashland City Schools and the Mansfield Art Center prepared me for the incredible career at Mansfield Senior High.

“Most importantly, I have always had love and support from my children, husband and family,” she added.