Stapp Inspires Educator Highlight- The Art of Teaching

Welcome back to Stapp Inspires Educator Highlight! This month we are taking a stop at Skyline High School to meet up with art educator, Sara Fadenrecht. Sara has welcomed students into her classroom for the past 17 years. She graduated from the University of Denver with a degree in Graphic Design. After graduation she started her career in the corporate world with the Boys and Girls Club in Laguna Beach, California. She eventually made her way back to Colorado and transitioned to a position at Longs Peak Communications. She knew this wasn’t a good fit for her, and when she received a call from her former high school basketball coach and assistant principal, Sherri Schumann, she jumped at the opportunity to join the school and never looked back. As she says, “Skyline is my home”.

Sara Fadenrecht

 

Sara’s main goal for any student who comes through her doors is to get them excited about art again. She said that somewhere between elementary school and high school, students lose the excitement of creating and instead fear starts to creep in. She encourages her students to explore mediums that spark their interest.  

 

I asked her what has been the biggest change she has seen in her classroom over the years. She said the shift to blended learning has been the biggest change and she is excited for it. She herself has been learning how to say “yes” to her students when they ask if they can work on a certain project or in a specific medium. In the past, she might have said “no” because the request of the student was outside the scope of what they were focusing on. Sara said now students are coming in outside of class time and figuring out things on their own. They are more engaged and exploring in ways they haven’t before. They are taking ownership of their projects and coming up with suggestions on what they want to focus on.

 

Sara stressed that art is a means to express yourself. It is a way to think creatively and problem solve. Art is not about comparison. It is about intent and purpose. And comparison is the killer of creativity. She challenges her students to see their art and design process through that lens. She reminds them that art, like anything else, needs to be practiced. She asks her students, “Did your intent and purpose come through? Were you able to communicate what you wanted? If not, what would you change? If you were successful at answering those questions, then don’t worry about what everyone else thinks.”

 

One thing that truly stood out to me was her dedication – not only to her students, but herself as well. At a time when high school students have multiple obligations, she serves a quiet reminder, “Put what truly matters first.” Sara stepped away from coaching because she realized it was keeping her from becoming the teacher she wants to be. Sara strives to improve upon her teaching skills. She has attended various art workshops, the National Art Education Conference, and the Colorado Art Education Conference in the past and is getting ready to attend an art workshop in California in a couple of weeks.

 

For Sara the most rewarding thing about her job is the relationships she develops with her students. To have students come back and visit after they graduated and share memories with her is the best. To her, that signifies that she has made a positive impact on that student’s life, and it was meaningful enough to maintain the relationship.

 

Sara, we wish you the best as you continue to inspire the students at Skyline High School!

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