Brianna graduated from Northern Michigan University in December 2015 and was offered the K-12 position she still holds at Randolph School District in May of 2016.
When you have 5 year olds in the morning and 18 year olds in the afternoon, it's hard to have a boring day! The general chaos of the art room is part of what makes her love her job.
She is constantly using her background in psychology to help her students navigate social-emotional issues, often through their art-making. Students know her classroom is a safe space for all, and it's not uncommon for art class to double as group therapy.
Salena graduated in 2005 from UW-River Falls with a Bachelor of Science in Art Education. Her teaching career started in 2006 in Eagle River at the Northland Pines School District as a long term substitute teaching K-5 art at three elementary schools. “My first teaching experience taught me to be super organized and to plan ahead. Traveling to three different schools was a challenging experience, but it also allowed me to feel connected to so many students and staff members.” Salena would stay the following year at Northland Pines as a paraprofessional for Title 1, and continue subbing in neighboring school districts.
In 2011, she was hired at the Minocqua J1 School District as the K-8 art teacher, teaching over 650
students a week. In addition to teaching, she was the costume director for the drama department, taught community education classes after school, and coached middle school track and field. Every spring she would showcase 1,200 works of art in conjunction with the school's STEAM night. “I loved working at MJ1! It was wonderful to teach in the community where my family was. Teaching middle school was a new experience for me, but taught me to embrace their goofy, awkwardness. Transitioning between kindergarten one hour, to 8th grade the next, definitely makes you flexible and appreciate each age!”
In 2016, after a big move across the state, Salena is currently teaching at the RIver Falls School District at Westside Elementary School. Salena says, “It is wonderful being back in the Western region of the state. I am blessed to be a part of the River Falls School District. The school district and community have a love of the arts that is reflected throughout this beautiful little town. Teaching at Westside has been a wonderful experience; it is where I belong. When I am teaching, I feel in my element. My hope is that I can create relationships with students that will last a lifetime.”
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