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Spotlight Teacher: Mrs. Czumak
Name:  Mrs. Czumak
School:  Taft Elementary 
Class:  Art 

How long have you been a teacher? Have you taught elsewhere (besides WCSD)? 

I have been a teacher for 15 years. I began teaching Graphic Design at North Colonie Central School, then Art Round Hill, LB, High School and Taft.

What is something you enjoy doing (when you are not teaching)? 

I love to coach soccer. My husband Bobby and I own and run a travel soccer club called Nirvana 360 FC, and I coach the Varsity soccer team for Washingtonville. I have coached the school soccer teams at North Rockland, Shenendehowa. Guilderland and Washingtonville since 1994.

This year, what is something you will be teaching that has always been fun or a topic that your class has always enjoyed in the past? 

My fourth and fifth graders enjoyed learning about Picasso. They expressed themselves in an abstract cubist style by painting cubist monsters, witches and gobblins.

Question asked by Sophie DeCarvalho: Why did you want to become an artist?

Art is a wonderful way to communicate your passions, and inspire others.

How are you using technology in your classroom this year?

My classes are lucky to be using the new Promethean board. It was just installed in our classroom, and it will give the opportunity to tour museums virtually, study famous works of art, and create an online library of student work.

What college did you attend and what made you choose education as a career? 

The College of Saint Rose. I love coaching and teaching students. I love to help them build confidence and self-esteem when they are proud of a work of art they have created or a skill they have learned. Making students proud of their accomplishments brings me joy.

What else would you like your students to know about you?

My classes are working collaboratively with Mrs. Martinez in the library to research projects and then create the final project in art. We are also creating clay kindness stones to help encourage a culture of understanding, caring and acceptance. We are going to use the clay works of art to decorate the Taft Community Garden that is being grown by Mrs. Santorelly's class. 

What advice would you give to your students to remember after they have graduated High School?

Give back to your community, share your experiences, and help bring your knowledge to younger students. The experiences that you impart may change the path that a student takes. Get out there and enjoy life!