Springfield alumna and art teacher Kelli Wyss believes learning is all about participation.
“I believe that a quality art program offers students unique opportunities to engage in problem solving and creative learning,” Wyss said.
Her part in the participation?
“She gets the absolute best out of our students,” Superintendent William Stauffer said. “Kelli does a wonderful job. She always has a smile on her face. The student's artwork is amazing.”
Wyss is in her first year as a teacher at Spring Hill. Administrators have noticed her efforts to get students to participate in class are paying off.
Spring Hill Junior High Assistant Principal Mary Meadows said Wyss entered students’ artwork in the Kids Safety Poster Contest sponsored by County Prosecutor, Sherri Bevin-Walsh. There were over 1,100 entries for this contest and 48 winners were chosen.
“Because of Mrs. Wyss’s work with the students on this project, Spring Hill was able to have 10 winners. That means that over 20 percent of the winners from this contest came from Springfield,” Meadows said.
Name: Kelli Wyss
Home: Jackson Township
Family: “I have been married to my husband Jamie for 15 years and we have two wonderful sons, Andrew who is 10 and Brady who is 4.”
School: Spring Hill Junior High in Springfield Township.
Credentials: As a 1987 graduate of Springfield, she received an art scholarship to Kent State University. She earned a bachelor's degree in art education in 1992 and a master's degree in teaching from Marygrove College in 2002. She is certified to teach visual art from kindergarten-12. She was nominated for Visual Art Teacher of the Year in 2005.
Why she teaches: “I have had a love of art since elementary school. My late sister, Nancy Taylor, was a fifth grade teacher in Springfield when I was in college. She had a passion for her job. She really loved going to school every day. Her enthusiasm for the field of education was the driving force behind my decision to become a teacher. I couldn't have had a better role model.”
Teaching philosophy: “I believe that participation in a quality art program offers students unique opportunities to engage in problem solving and creative learning. Through this process, students are encouraged to connect visual knowledge to other subjects and to respond with innovation, understanding, and imagination.”
School involvement: Over the past 19 years, Wyss has taught in five different Springfield schools and have been involved in designing school logos and mascots. She also helped to design T-shirts to raise money for the schools. She also has been involved in creating set design for school plays, teaching art to autistic children, working on numerous committees and being a cooperating teacher to four student teachers from area colleges.
Page 2 of 3 - Favorite teaching moment: “Some of the best moments for me to witness are when those students who really struggle in academic classes get the opportunity to be the genius in the art room. I have seen how powerful the art experience can be to raising the self-esteem of children.”
Evidence of student achievement: Over the past two decades, Wyss said she has been fortunate to have dozens of students win at art shows, poster contests, get their art work published, get art purchased by Akron Children's Hospital and framed for permanent display and winning art scholarships.
Best advice ever given: “The keys to happiness are: Having someone to love, having something you love to do, and having something to look forward to in the future.”
Important lesson: “Unfortunately, in these tough economic times, many school districts are forced to cut their art programs. I've learned that I'm very lucky to work in a district that continues to value the arts and the opportunities they offer to students.”
Ambitions: “When my sons are older, I would really like to take more photography classes. I took one class in college and I love the whole process of capturing and developing an image.”
An “aha” moment that changed her life: “When my oldest son went to kindergarten. From that moment on, I began to really reflect on my daily teaching practices-everything from choosing the artist we study, the art materials we are going to use and the art techniques we practice. I constantly ask myself, Is this the type of art experience that I would want for my child?”
Interests and hobbies: “I really enjoy taking pictures, snow skiing with my family, attending my son's golf tournaments, going to the beach in the summer, and going out to dinner.”
Movie: “Cars” (“If you ask my 4 year old, it must be... I've watched it 52 times!”).
TV Show: HGTV- “House Hunters” and “House Hunters International.”
Music: Anything I can sing along to in the car.
Time of Year: Fall
Animal: Golden Retriever. Ours is named Jackson.
Bucket list: “Tragically, my only sister passed away at the age of 46, and both my parents have also passed. I hope I have the opportunity to grow old with my husband, to see my sons grow into the wonderful men that I know they will become, to someday be an active grandmother to their children, and to live out my days painting and taking pictures of all the beauty that surrounds me.”
Page 3 of 3 - Recent proud moment: Wyss is always proud of her students’ and their accomplishments. Recently, four students made an outstanding showing at the 2012 Summit County Art Show.
The award-winning students include: Dylan Newell, third place; Tara Weaver, first place; Maria Bradley, second place and Jenna Ford, Best of Show/first place.