Arlene Shelton believes a creative world is a better world.
Because of that mindset, the art and media communications teacher at Aledo's Daniel Ninth Grade Center is part of an elite group gathering in Hilton Head, South Carolina this week. She is one of only 50 educators from across the United States selected for the honor of Entrepreneurship Fellow at the International Entrepreneur Institute (IEI).
"My goal is to advocate for arts education through entrepreneurship education," Shelton said. "We live in a visual society where art and design are at the forefront of everyday life, yet many fail to realize the vast number of art and design career opportunities available.
"Many students are dissuaded from pursuing a future in the creative industry, and it Is my hope that entrepreneurship education will help to engage our students and our community in order to build support for our students who are interested in arts education and the creative industry."
Shelton, who is in her third year teaching in Aledo and 13th overall, was nominated for the fellowship by Travis Allen, founder of the ISchools Initiative, with whom the Aledo School District has been working. She was among several AISD teachers selected for preperation to lead mobile integration in the district.
"He and I have similar mindsets regarding education, and I suppose that led to my nomination for IEI," she said.
"She did an excellent job presenting and being a part of the group," Allen said. "Afterwards, she invited us to host an Art Challenge on twitter. We found this to be very unique and embody the Entrepreneurial spirit.
"I nominated her because I felt she was taking her profession to the next level and going out of her way to take risks and try new things."
To further put in prospective the honor, the IEI said in a statement that it prides itself on honoring and championing "the best educators in the world from kindergarten to post-secondary who are committed to infusing an entrepreneurial mindset in their students."
"It is an honor having been chosen to attend the International Entrepreneurship Institute," Shelton said. "I am intrigued and excited to see how this training will affect my incoming ninth-graders."
The definition of entrepreneur is a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, often taking on greater than normal risks.
At the institute, Shelton said she and the other educators will We will create, outline, and present a new entrepreneurship education idea, or "best practice," which they will pitch in a setting much like the "Shark Tank" TV show. The team voted best practice will then be spotlighted by the IEI.
The documentation is then collected to create and innovate the newest best practices/ideas in entrepreneurship education.
"I am very happy for the recognition Arlene is receiving," Aledo Superintendent Dr. Derek Citty said. "She is an important part of the tradition of excellent instruction our students enjoy in Aledo ISD.
"The relationships she has developed with her students and the need she fills is a wonderful thing."
Along with her work at the IEI, Shelton said she hopes to get in a little sightseeing.
"I have never been to Hilton Head. I plan to enjoy the sights and sounds and explore whatever opportunities that arise," she said.
And when she returns, more opportunities may be arising for her students.