I started teaching in the fall of 2000 at Laidlaw School - and taught Art, Media Literacy, Social Studies, English, and the Gifted Education Program. I was 21 years old.
I ran an improv club at Laidlaw School that was home to some of the most talented youth improvisers in the city (a few of them are still performing in theatre, improvising, acting on television, writing for film, etc.)!
In 2003 I transferred to Arthur A. Leach School and taught Art and Digital Filmmaking, and my students made a full-length feature film called School Spirit. (I have a few DVD copies in my basement... you know... in case anyone wants one.)
In 2004, I arrived at Fort Richmond Collegiate and they still haven't been able to get rid of me! Although my teaching focus has always been Visual Art, over the past 12 years at FRC I have also taught courses in Creative Writing, Digital Filmmaking, Theatre, Public Speaking, English Language Arts, and Graphic Design.
In the fall of 2012 I started a one-year term position as the Visual Arts Consultant for Pembina Trails School Division. I was excited to have the chance to work for a year as a resource for an innovative bunch of elementary teachers who wanted to develop awesome art projects at their schools.
At FRC, I have been the Creative Arts Department Head, the Professional Development Program Leader, and the Student Engagement Program Leader. I started a GSA (Gender & Sexuality Alliance), I have been the Slam Club coach. I hosted the Underground Art Club, and have been a supervisor for The Scribbler (a published anthology of student art, photography and writing). This year, I supervise the Women's Empowerment Group, Portfolio Development Club and the GSA.
I've been actively involved on a number of divisional and provincial committees, including the Grades 9-12 Visual Arts Curriculum Development Pilot Committee with Manitoba Education Citizenship and Youth, the Manitoba Association of Art Education (I was their President, Treasurer and Website Manager). I have spent a lot of time on school-based committees researching best practices in mental health, literacy, assessment, and creativity development.
Outside of school, I was part of a team that organized and ran Artstravaganza,from 2001-2005. It was a series of 18 artist workshops held on one day every year! I have also been on the organizing committee for Pembina Trails School Division's Sight Unseen Student Art Show (over 1000 student works on exhibit every April at Polo Park Mall) for the past 12 years.
I am a part of a Christmas-themed band called Festivus, along with a few other staff members at FRC. Each year we perform a few songs at the Staff Holiday Concert, on the last day of school before Holiday Break!
In my personal life, I am a major creative arts geek and word nerd. I love art, theatre, music and performance poetry. From 2011-2013, I was on the board of directors of SpoCan (Spoken Word Canada). In 2014-15, I was the Vice President of Youth and Education for the Winnipeg Poetry Project. I was lucky enough to be the feature poet at the Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry Series in December, 2011. You can find an interview I did with UMFM about the slam poetry scene in Winnipeg here, and read an Uptown Magazine article about the WPS shows here.
I was the Co-Director of the Winnipeg Poetry Slam and the Co-creator and Creative Director of Winnipeg's Youth Poetry Slam (for youth aged 14-22), Voices, Ink. In 2010, I travelled to the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Ottawa as the manager of the Winnipeg Poetry Slam Team, and shoved my way into the Steve Sauve Memorial Nerd Showcase. In the fall of 2011, I was honoured to represent our city on the Winnipeg Poetry Slam Team at the CFSW in Toronto along with three other spoken word poets from Winnipeg - and in 2012 and 2014, my students got a chance to compete in the Canadian Youth Poetry Slam.
In the spring of 2016, I was Manitoba's nominee for the Canadian Society for Education Through Art's Canadian Art Educator of the Year Award (Grades 9 - 12). (I didn't win the award - an exceptional man from Vancouver, BC did - but still... what an honour!) In March of 2018 I received the Canadian Society for Education Through Art's Manitoba Affiliate Award, recognizing "proven excellence in teaching and/or research, and proven leadership in art education" in our province.
After years of intense and rigorous karaoke training (and membership in the Ukulele Club of Winnipeg), I finally made it into show business: I made up one half (and approximately 20% of the talent) of A For Effort, Winnipeg's only slam-poetry-folk-rock-educational-parody duo. My good friend Steve and I performed poems and songs about teacher assessment practices, literacy, our love of librarians, and awkward moments between educators that need to be filled with professional banter. We lowered musical standards and ruined teacher professional development days for everyone from 2007 - 2012!
In December, 2017 I got to perform with my ukulele at the Burton Cummings Theatre as a part of a Ukulele Choir, in the amazing JP Hoe Hoe Hoe Holiday Show.
Right now I try to focus most of my "spare time" (haha) on my own art, and on hosting the Artist-Teacher Group at Mentoring Artists for Women's Art. It is a group of visual artists who are also instructors or teachers - sort of a 'self-help' group for professionals who spend so much time helping others express themselves that they find it challenging to make time for their own art making! Each fall we have had an exhibitions of our work.
I live in Winnipeg with my anxious (but perfect) dog, Stella, and my cats, (the friendly one) Fidel Catstro and (the crabby one) Ruth Bader Kittensburg.