“Currently I’m at Waterford Elementary School here in the Goshen Community Schools system, and I teach grades K through five.
We do pretty much everything that I can get my hands on: painting, drying, ceramics, watercolor. I try to do some fiber arts, mostly weaving, with some older grades. I’m always up for trying new things – if I see something that might work with wire, let’s try that. I want students to be able to look at something and not be afraid to try it for fear of failure. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. We’ll improve on it next time. I want them to take risks with their work.
I’m into a variety of different art media. My favorites are watercolor ceramics, and I recently started working with stained glass. I’m very fluid with what I like to do. I think that’s important for my students, also, to see that I do a variety of things. It gives them ideas of, ‘I don’t have to just paint. I can also sculpt. I can also do these other things.’ I think it’s important to model that to my students.
We have this thing called Related Arts Night here at Waterford. The music teacher has a concert, and I have two pieces of artwork for all 500 students in the building. I want them to see the pride of exhibiting their work and being proud of their work. I want them to be proud of having their work shown regardless of what they feel their abilities are. That student is an artist in their own right, and maybe their strength isn’t in painting, but they can make something three-dimensional. I want them to feel that success.
I was born and raised in Goshen. I met my husband at Bluffton College, and we lived in Ohio for quite a few years. We moved back here a number of years ago. Goshen is home, but it’s also where I choose to make home – it’s not just home by birth. I have been so impressed with the development of the arts community in Goshen over the past 20 years, and even more recently with having the Art Alley. With First Fridays we have the open art studios. We have the clay guild and the painters guild and the photography guild. If you’re an artist in Goshen, you have so many opportunities. I think it’s a rich cultural community with the arts and music and language and cultures.
We’ve got so much to offer. This is where I want my children to be raised because I feel they have more opportunities here to broaden their horizons. I hope that for every child who goes through my classroom, that they feel this is home for them and they can do what they set their mind to doing.”