Rachel Somerville headshot

Rachel Somerville

Program Chair of Art Education, Assistant Professor

Dept. : MAT

“I believe the Art classroom should provide a learning environment that values cultural and social differences, recognizes multiple learning styles, and encourages critical thinking. Visual Arts education is much more than making things. In the Art classroom, students learn to develop and creatively express their ideas, solve problems, and make meaning. In studying a subject that is fluid and open to interpretation, students are challenged to examine their own perspectives, to question ideas, and to successfully respond to the visual culture in which they live”

Dr. Somerville’s approach to teaching emphasizes collaboration, creativity, and student voice. Through her experience as a teacher and administrator in K-12 settings, she believes that quality art programming in the visual arts should be provided by art specialists and supported by school leaders, classroom teachers, with arts organizations and community programs. She feels that this partnered instruction serves to enhance a collaborative and an authentic approach to learning.

Rachel Somerville holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of California, Davis. Her doctoral work centered on research that bridges the divide among innovation, community, and education, studying makerspaces within formal education and examining teachers as early implementers of this movement and the academic conditions that foster creativity.


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership
University of California, Davis, CA

Master of Arts in Art Education
Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Bachelor of Fine Arts,
Scripps College For Women, Claremont, CA


Power of Ten Scholarship – UC Davis
Golden Bell Award – Marin County Schools
Maestra/Maestro Resident Artist Program – City of Phoenix Arts & Culture
Teaching Fellowship – Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State University
Power of Ten Scholarship – UC Davis