We asked you to tell us about inspiring women in your life. We went through hundreds of nominations in our Remarkable Women contest. Now, we’re sharing our finalists’ stories.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Former art teacher and fifth generation Austinite Emma Lea Mayton has dedicated her life to faith, family, her students and the less fortunate. She is one of KXAN’s Remarkable Women finalists because of her passion for helping people.

Emma’s connection to this land began decades ago when she was a child playing with her siblings and cousins and often running around. Today, Mayton volunteers at the nonprofit Pioneer Farms, helping preserve the Central Texas gem located northeast of Austin.

“This is my latest volunteer passion,” Mayton said, whose most recent project there had her painting feet of fence that lines the parameter of this snapshot of our Central Texas history. Pioneer Farms’ mission is to help people understand what Texas was like in the 19th Century through a “living history” experience.

The extent of her helping others stretches beyond Pioneer Farms. She influenced hundreds of children throughout the 35 years she spent teaching art and art history.

two women paint a fence white
Emma Lea Mayton paints a fence surrounding Pioneer Farms (KXAN Photo)

“In 3rd grade, I decided at 8 I want to be an art teacher,” she said. She went on to do just that, including helping children with special needs.

“Elementary was my favorite because they are so creative and unrestricted. You see other people doing things they never thought they could do,” she said.

Mayton incorporated her love of traveling into her teaching and often reflected on her experiences in other countries across the globe to inspire an art lesson.  

Beyond teaching, Mayton worked for social justice causes and dedicated her life to caring for underprivileged children as well as women in need and the homeless.

“I am just an ordinary person doing ordinary things,” she said.

She most recently finished working on murals with two youth groups and helped raise thousands of dollars for “Empowering Women out of Prison” and “Hope Food Pantry,” to name just a couple. She continues to raise funds for students in need.   

Emma Lea Mayton shows KXAN Anchor Britt Moreno around Pioneer Farms (KXAN Photo)
Emma Lea Mayton shows KXAN Anchor Britt Moreno around Pioneer Farms (KXAN Photo)

As for Pioneer Farms, Mayton says she will soon start cleaning flower beds and cutting shrubs soon.

woman waling through a building
Emma Lea Mayton walks through Pioneer Farms (KXAN Photo)

“I’m just going to keep going doing the things that I love” Mayton said.