Art Educator and Artist
Welcome to my portfolio! I created this site as a snapshot of my work in the field of art education. Browse the tabs above to find information about my experience, example lesson plans, artwork from my amazing students throughout the years, and a gallery of my own artwork, and more.
Hopefully more interesting and informative to read than my simple resume
I am passionate about sharing my love for art, and feel it is of utmost importance that students of all ages are exposed to learning in the arts. The fundamental skills gained while engaged in the arts--motor skills, creative thinking, perserverance, planning for desired outcomes, problem solving, and teamwork, to name a few--are essential 21st century skills that can be applied to all areas of study and career fields, and contribute to balanced and positive growth for all students.
I am currently working as the art teacher at Century Middle School in Adams 12 Five Star School District. I have grown substantially as an educator while in this position, which I believe is a result of a number of factors. First, I am a mother now, and that has given me an entirely new perspective on life in general, my role as a teacher, and the needs of my students. Second, I have had a very large range of art education experiences since my first teaching job in 2006 which have led me to this position. All of them have provided me with insights, tools, ideas, and knowledge that I am now drawing from with a level of experience and maturity that maximizes my effectiveness as a teacher. And third, I have devoted my energy toward fine-tuning my craft by attending professional development opportunities and applying teaching strategies that really work to maximize the learning, engagement, and achievement of all of my students. I can honestly say that quality art learning experiences happen in my classroom every day, and it is very rewarding to know that my students are benefiting from this in countless ways. As I stated above, I passionately believe that learning in the arts does amazing things for development.
I have had a large range of experiences in this field, all of which have molded me into the quality teacher and advocate for the arts that I am today. I recieved my Bachelor's degree from Miami Univerisity and Master's degree from Columbia University. Both of these educational experiences provided me with important foundational building blocks, such as understanding the artistic development of children and planning lessons and curriculum in line with state standards, as well as practical experiences in the classroom. An important part of art education studies at both schools was also the development of oneself as an experienced artist, with the idea that if we are to teach children to be artists, we must understand what it means to be an artist ourselves. I participated in a study abroad program in Florence Italy for a summer with this goal in mind, and studied painting and photography while there.
My first full-time teaching experience was as a 5th and 6th grade art teacher at Willis Intermediate School in Delaware, Ohio. It was here that I first began to apply all of the knowledge I had gathered throughout my educational career. I learned quickly that understanding theories of teaching only go so far in preparing you to teach, and that nothing can replace the the actual on-your-own classroom experience--jumping in with trial and error, learning from mistakes and successes, and having the positive, persistent outlook that every experience makes us better at what we do. Teachers are also learners.
In addition to my work in public school classrooms, I have also worked in the recreation field in coordinator and director positions. While I was looking for a new teaching job after moving to a new city in Ohio, I began working for Washington Township Recreation Center. This opportunity opened up an entirely new world for me that I had not considered--teaching and working with youth outside of the traditional classroom setting. I worked as a summer camp director, led teen programing, taught art classes, coordinated art shows, and also assisted with the coordination of community events, such as Woodland Lights and the annual haunted house. When I moved to Colorado in 2011, I sought out a similar circumstance with South Suburban Parks and Recreation as an Arts and Enrichment Coordinator. In this position I had the pleasure of starting and managing the unique Creativity Lab program, which involved facilitating innovative arts experiences for community members of all ages. I also developed arts programming in visual art, music, dance, drama, and technology for the community across the recreation district, coordinated arts events such as an annual craft fair and holiday events, hosted art shows for local school districts, wrote grants for arts funding, and taught adult and youth arts classes. Although the positions with Washington Township and South Suburban Parks and Recreation took me out of the public school classroom for a while, I firmly believe they were vital to my development as an educator. The leadership and coordinating experience that these positions afforded has made a huge impact on my success and effectiveness today, and have given me a much broader view of the arts, community, and youth than I may have gotten had I only had classroom experiences.
And now here we are, full circle. I took a few years off to stay home with my children when they were born and then had the burning desire to get back into the classroom as an art teacher. I took a temporary position teaching Arts Appreciation at Victory Preparatory Academy, a charter high school in Commerce City, before settling in at Century Middle School in Thornton. My career goal is to be a coach for other arts educators and coordinate arts learning at the district level. I believe that the arts are fundamental to the curriculum and want to work as both a leader and team member to ensure that our youth are receiving the highest quality arts education possible.