Sunday, September 3, 2017

My New Space

I have had such a fun ride on my career path so far. I started in Wisconsin for a year teaching High School.  We moved to Minnesota and I worked downtown in Minneapolis for a year. After several interviews, I landed a job with ISD 728 in Elk River, Minnesota. This district now has an Early Childhood Center, an Alternative High School, 3 additional high schools, 5 middle schools, and 10 elementary schools. It seems like a huge district and it is big in comparison to other districts in Minnesota, but as our new Superintendent reminded us in our welcome back event, it's not as big as many districts in the nation.  

Now I'm starting my 13th year at ISD 728 I realized that this big district keeps growing in numbers, but for me, it keeps getting smaller and smaller.  I have had the opportunity to work at several buildings. I was part time at Rogers Elementary and Otsego Elementary for several years. I traveled and was on a cart. But I had the opportunity to work with Carol Thuleen and Jerry Goettsch, the full-time Art Teachers in each building. What a treat to learn and get to know these two individuals.  I became the full time teacher at RES because Hassan Elementary was built and Mrs. Thuleen went there. I had a total of 7 amazing years at RES. I made a deep connection with the staff and families of this school.  An opening at Rogers Middle School allowed me to give Middle School a try. I learned what it means to be a department with my coworker Kris Enga.  She taught me how to create relationships with the middle school student. This was the feeder school for many of the students I had at RES so I was able to work with them through their middle school experience. The kindergarten students I started with were the class of 2017 and I had the privilege to have them as students for almost 9 years of their education. What a gift... and an amazing class. With shifts in the district, I was moved to Hassan Elementary and it was a perfect match.  The staff was wonderful! My room was in the middle of several new/newer teachers who I came to love. I watched their excitement for teaching and life. My friend/peer group was diverse with educators who are more experienced and others who have young kids and are in the same boat as I am right now. I had an amazing leader, Heidi Adamson-Baer who had helped shape me in more ways than she will ever know. This was going to be the school I would finish my career in.

Well... there was a new school being built. Prairie View Elementary and Middle school is a K-8 School (this year, K-6 and will grow to 8th grade as we follow these 6th graders each year). The school was designed to alleviate the rapid growth of our district.  It was going to have elementary and middle school, it was going to be in a more rural area of the district (for right now). I had to interview, just see what it was all about.  When Kari Sampson offered me the job, I chewed on the thought for a moment. Is this the move I want to make, Hassan is so good, my life is balanced. I have everything I need but change... It turns out I'm addicted to change.  I continue to grow every day because of the experiences I have been able to be a part of. I needed to make this move to feed my soul, my need for growth.

So here I am, a new start of a new year in a new building.  Every one of us is new to this experience from the staff to the students. We are all on this adventure together. The opening house of Prairie View Elementary and Middle School was so full of positive energy that I can not WAIT to jump in with both feet! I wanted to share my new home with you today. I know I have taken a break from new posts for the last week, but this is where my energy had to be... at PVEM. Let me give you a little tour of my classroom.

This is why I was invited to come to school a week earlier than some of the other teachers. Starting a new Art Room from scratch means a lot of boxes.  Fire marshals don't like that so I was put to work right away. So construction workers and I became friends.  I was overjoyed to be working on this dream room and they were around... and I'm a bit of a chatter :) 

After day one, the pile was down. I turned around only to see this... more piles. So it continued... 

I brought in my right-hand gal... The Mini Matisse that this blog was named for.  My daughter Matisse is not so mini anymore, she is in 4th grade and will be joining me for the first time ever.  I have never had my kids go to school with me.  I'm so excited to have this girl join me every day at Prairie View.

We worked on organizing all the storage in this amazing room. I have lot's to share in future posts about some of the details about this storage. 

And then it was the opening of this new school.  We were ready to invite the families of PVEM to open house. This was the calm before the storm.

There is so many more post to come.  I mean, who wouldn't want to shout off the mountain tops (or prairie fields in my case) how amazing this space is! I'm excited for Tue as we open the doors to the students of PVEM.  Go Hawks!! 


  1. What a phenominal room! All that storage space AND 4 sinks! Lucky you!! Have a great year.

  2. I think everyone has classroom envy now that you posted this. Good luck with the new adventure.

  3. Amazing! My kids are so excited to be in your class.

  4. Hi! I am following this with great interest because our new school is being built as we speak. Next fall I'll be in your shoes with a brand new art room. Any advice is appreciated! :)

  5. Your room looks great! Good luck to you in your new adventure!