Why did you decide to become a teacher?
I thought, for a long time, that I would go into the field of commercial art, but then I realized I wanted to support ideas, build skills, and let people discover for themselves what was important, what was beautiful, and how they wanted to construct their lives. The teachers I respected most in high school also told me they thought I was a natural teacher. I applied as an art education major to the one school I thought was a match for me and never wavered after that, not for a second.
Who was your mentor growing up?
I am lucky enough to have had three strong mentors throughout my school years. All of them were art teachers. I was different ages and at different schools with each of these mentors but there were common threads that resulted in my confidently moving forward and always finding safe and enlivening communities. Each mentor, Mr. Lesysko, Mr. Bryson, and Dr. Stewart, saw me as a whole person. They each capitalized on my strengths. They pointed out, with kindness, the areas in which I needed to grow. They trusted I would get the job done without supervision. And most importantly, they asked me to share my perspectives and ideas and then took them into consideration.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I can still remember sitting down to write my official philosophy of teaching at the start of my senior year in college, as I prepared my interview portfolio. I can still look back on that philosophy today, after 25 years, and honestly say it has not changed. I have always believed that education needs to be an active exchange between students and teachers. The overall goal of this exchange is to elevate, in some way, the student's academic, technical, and social understanding. Art education for me, specifically, illuminates the fact that human habits, customs, dwellings, and objects directly relate to circumstances and resources. My goal as an art teacher it to help students understand that humans are innately similar, that the many diverse processes and products we exhibit have common goals. It is innate for humans to make things, and when those items have meaning then life feels good!
Strong, hard cheeses paired with soppressata and/or olives.
Fame was a seminal movie for me as a teenager. I found I could relate to all of the characters. They seemed to represent the divergent perspectives through which I perceived the world. As diverse as the characters were, they all made sense to me. As I get older, each time I watch this movie I see parts of the story in new ways and relate to the characters with deeper empathy.
Favorite thing to do in the summer time?
My absolute favorite thing to do in the summer time is camping at Echo Lake with my husband, Kevin, and two daughters, Maia and Zoe. We stay at an Appalachian Mountain Club facility, so I get to experience all the wonderful aspects of being outdoors without having to cook a single meal or plan a single outing