SA: Why did you choose to work at Sewickley Academy?
MK: Sewickley Academy stood out to me because of its value of the arts. When I saw the art room with its huge windows with natural light I knew that it would be a wonderful environment to teach. I also was excited to know that the lower school follows the Responsive Classroom model, which I have used in a previous school.
SA: What motivated you to become a teacher or to work in education?
MK: When I was trying to figure out which direction to go in my life I wrote down the core areas I was passionate about: art, children, social justice, and storytelling. I felt that art education was the direction that tied all of those together. Every year that I've taught art I have expanded my understanding and care for each one of those four areas. I remain in this field because I'm constantly learning.
SA: What do you enjoy most about teaching or working in education?
MK: I love seeing into the mind of a child through their artwork and ideas. When they excitedly tell me they want to draw a dinosaur riding a skateboard I'm taken into their world and it keeps me energized in the work of encouraging their creativity. My favorite thing about being an art teacher are the joyful drawings made by Kindergartners.
SA: What is the most important life lesson you want your students to learn in your class(es)?
MK: I view every student as an artist and want to help them uncover that part of themselves, too. I run a Teaching for Artistic Behavior or "TAB" art room where students work on their own ideas using the medium of their choice. My goal of teaching this way is for students to find what they are passionate about and practice behaviors that they can use for the rest of their lives: experimentation, persistence through mistakes, reflection, and observation. I want every student to know that there is a place for them in the art world by seeing themselves represented in my curriculum and classroom values.
SA: How do you keep current with the subject areas you cover?
MK: I am currently taking graduate classes in art education, which keeps me current in my field, and helps me connect to art teachers across the country because my classes are online. I work as an art educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art over the summer and try to stay connected as I can to the local art scene. There are so many amazing local artists in the Pittsburgh area!
SA: Favorite book as a child?
MK: "Where the sidewalk Ends"
SA: Favorite book as an adult?
MK: Any poetry written by Mary Oliver, young adult literature from Jayson Reynolds, and work of Robin Wall Kimmerer.
SA: What are some of your interests/hobbies?
MK: Of course art–collage, watercolor, metal-smithing. My main outlet is photography and I have a small photography business. I'm also an avid reader and baker. I'm always happy outdoors and this summer I did lots of hiking, yoga, and reading in our hammock. My boyfriend and I did an overnight bike trip on the Great Allegheny Passage.
SA: What are you most looking forward to this school year?
MK: This will be an unusual school year, but I'm most excited to meet the Sewickley community and spend time getting to know the Lower School artists.