For Immediate Release

Media Contact: John Cain
Luther Burbank Center for the Arts

SANTA ROSA, CA (March 14, 2024) — Luther Burbank Center for the Arts (LBC) and Creative Sonoma together have awarded Analy High School’s Jolene Johnson as Sonoma County’s first Arts Educator of the Year.

Ms. Johnson will be honored at two events: On March 27 at the Arts Education Alliance Mix and Mingle at Mitote Food Park, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm, and at the Sonoma County Office of Education’s “A Festive Thought” Art Open House, where she will officially be presented the award, on April 4 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. Both events are free and open to the public. Besides a plaque honoring her win, she also will receive $500 honoraria and a $500 gift card to a local arts store of her choice for classroom supplies.

A resident of Santa Rosa for 40 years and an educator in Sonoma County since 2009, Ms. Johnson is a dance teacher at Analy High School in West Sonoma County and at Santa Rosa Junior College. She also teaches dance at the Movement Lab in Santa Rosa and has taught at the elementary school level in the county.

“I’m honored to be recognized for sharing my passion with the community and excited to continue inspiring others,” said Ms. Johnson. “Often, in the arts, we’re always looking for positive ways to help kids get through their day, find their passion, and have confidence in themselves. Teaching dance allows me to stay connected with the community and create opportunities in the arts for the students of West Sonoma County.”

Sponsored by Daniels Chapel of the Roses, the award honors professional arts educators working with the K-12 population – in particular, arts and classroom instructors who teach visual art, music, drama, dance, or multimedia arts. It recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of arts education over an extended period.

Honorable mention awards also were given to Efraín Nava of Elsie Allen High School, Kyle Thompson from Cesar Chavez Language Academy, Yoshi Makino from Geyserville New Tech Academy, and Jessica Martin from West Side Elementary.

Other finalists included Sandra Novia, Art Quest High School; Nancy Riccardi, Gravenstein Union School District; Walter Williams, Creekside High School and Sonoma Valley Museum of Art; Sarah Friedman, Spring Lake Middle School; Amy Waud-Reiter, Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts; Bridget Palmer, A Theater for Children, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts; and Matthew Bringedahl, Maria Carillo High School.

About Creative Sonoma

Creative Sonoma is a division of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board and is dedicated to supporting and advancing the creative community of Sonoma County. Please visit for more.

About Luther Burbank Center for the Arts

A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts is home to world-class performances, nationally recognized education programs, contemporary visual art, and many popular events. The Arts Center is located in the heart of the Sonoma wine country and ranked among California’s top performing arts presenters. Together with its resident companies, the Center presents more than 230 performances in music, dance, theater, renowned speakers, and comedy; provides education programs serving more than 50,000 children and adults; and hosts more than 800 community events a year. Owned and operated by the Luther Burbank Memorial Foundation, the Center relies on charitable community donations to achieve its mission – to enrich, educate, and entertain. For more information, visit

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