Doing painting demos at a student exhibition, circa 1995.
I grew up in Mundelein IL, a small (at that time) suburb about 40 miles north of Chicago. As a high school senior, and with the support of some great teachers, I achieved recognition as a national scholastic portfolio competition winner and was presented the award in Washington DC.
One of the most vivid memories, and defining moments, from my high school years was the day I looked over at my painting instructor and thought to myself, "Man, what a cool job...there's good music playing...people are happy...nothing but art all day...I should be an art teacher!"
Of course I now know that's not exactly how the job works, but I'm glad I saw it that way then!
Pictured with some undergraduate co-collaborators/conspirators
I spent my undergraduate years at the College of Lake County, the University of Illinois-Chicago, and Barat College in Lake Forest, IL. I graduated in 2001 with a BFA in Studio Arts, holding a double concentration in painting and ceramics, with an Art History minor.
After graduating, I worked for two years as a teachers aide in a special education classroom. I also continued my education at North Park University where I completed certification coursework for a K-12 Art Education licensure, an LBS-1 licensure, and a Masters Degree in Teaching.
I have spent the last 13 years teaching art at the middle and high school levels. In that time, I have instructed and accommodated both high needs and high functioning students. My philosophy has always been student-centered and progressive.
My Goals as a Teacher:
Going over the game plan with student docents before the opening of our annual exhibition, "Exploring Europe".
1. To create a classroom environment where students feel safe and are encouraged to express their ideas and feelings through art.
2. To encourage students to appreciate the cultural and historic significance of the arts.
3. To expose students to a wide variety of art media, styles, techniques and processes.
4. To develop and fine tune the expressive and technical skills of each student.
5. To expand students' art vocabulary and facilitate growth in their ability to discuss art critically.
6. To improve students' ability to be effective communicators and active listeners.
7. To engage students in conversation and activities that help develop self and social awareness through arts education.
8. To engage students in conversation and activities that help develop self and social responsibility through arts education.
9. To promote an understanding and appreciation of art that includes the following ideas:
*All art occurs within a cultural context; discovering and discussing that context is an integral part of art appreciation and education.
*Art is a language and can be used to understand the perspectives of others as well as a means to illustrate our own ideas.
*Art does not always need to be public, or even shared for that matter; art can be a very private, introspective and a therapeutic experience.
*All individuals, regardless of age or ability, are viable artists; everyone is capable of creating art worthy of appreciation.
*Like anything in life, art gives what it gets. The more you put in, the more you will receive.
Visitors enjoying our student exhibition, "Exploring Europe"