Community Spotlight

Art Teacher, Gr. 8-12

Kristin Kowalski
Kristin Kowalski channels the Maumee Valley Principles of Teaching Excellence through her creative passion for art and dedication to her students’ education.  Kristin has been an art educator for 11 years and has taught art for Grades 8-12 at Maumee Valley for seven years, where she has been the Fine Arts Chair for the past three years and is co-director of the on-campus Wolfe Gallery.
Kristin teaches a fresh and engaging curriculum with passion, including collaborating with the science department to merge art and science or creating conceptual works out of found recycled materials.

She has offered Upper School courses at Maumee Valley including Sculpture, Chemistry of Art, Urban and Public Art, Photography and Physics, Digital Photography, Mixed Media, and the History of Painting, as well as Eighth Grade Art. Regardless of the content, Kristin teaches, she takes a hands-on, all-embracing approach to share her talents with students and with the wider community. She embodies our mission and our vision of providing an educational experience that is personal, experiential, and global.

Kristin develops relationships with students that go beyond developing proficiencies as art students. She provides students with avenues that develop their confidence as artists and allows their talents to shine. Students create exceptional pieces that reflect their unique personalities and interests. They are proud of their products, and especially of the process of creating their art. 

“Mrs. Kowalski is the best art teacher I've ever had. She helped me step outside of my comfort zone when it came to art, and I think that helped me improve as an artist. I think her motivating me to be better resulted in me creating my own style and learning all the technical skills I needed to succeed.” - Theo Pechlivanos, Class of 2018

“I vividly remember working with my classmates on designs, the amount of collaboration that went into the piece, and then the amount of pride that came out of it. Mrs. Kowalski promoted ... a sense of community collaboration as well as a sense of pride in our work... She also supported and helped drive me to push my personal expectations during projects. I was able to produce works I never even imagined possible. It was her guidance and support that led to my success. Mrs. Kowalski held all the tools in the tool belt necessary to ensure I could succeed.” -Madeline Lockyer, Class of 2016

Experiential learning is a foundational component of Kristin’s art classes. Students have multiple opportunities to explore different media, styles, and eras of art. They are encouraged to coalesce new techniques and to learn through trial and revision. Kristin offers students appropriate guidance by way of feedback and encouragement to continue experimenting with their works of art.

During her recent Upper School Mixed Media Intensive, students traveled to the University of Michigan Museum of Art and the Toledo Museum of Art to conduct their own research about artists, use of material, and analysis of content. They visited Scrapbox, a craft superstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to select and collect recycled materials and then returned to campus to work collaboratively with peers in their classes. Students created large-scale pieces that embody the concepts of mixed media, which are proudly displayed throughout the school.  

Kristin’s passion for art extends her influence beyond the classroom. Students have unique opportunities to learn, create, and showcase art outside of Maumee Valley, connecting their local world to a more global community. For example, Kristin has provided students the opportunity to participate in the Cleveland Clinic eXpressions program. Through eXpressions, students throughout the State of Ohio connect medical research to art by interpreting the research and creating visual representations of the findings.  

Her students have showcased works in galleries and have pursued art in their studies and hobbies as a result of Kristin’s encouragement, support, and guidance. Her students’ artwork is regularly exhibited in the Young People’s Art Exhibition state shows, Ohio Art Education Association's regional Youth Art Month Show, the Marcy Kaptur Congressional Exhibition, Focus Art Show, Scholastic’s art show, Cleveland Clinic eXpressions program, and Connect to Creativity at the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. 

Beyond teaching students, Kristin is a leader in art and art education. She has shared her artistic knowledge and forward-thinking teaching methodologies with other art educators at the Ohio Art Association Annual Conference in 2017 and 2018, and she was recently recognized as Outstanding Art Teacher 2018 of Northwest Ohio. This November, Kristin was also awarded the 2019 Ohio Art Education Association’s Outstanding Art Teacher Award for the Northwest Ohio region.

Kristin is a professional, practicing ceramic artist and is recognized as a topflight artist in her field. She currently has two pieces featured as “Art Educators as Artists” at the Riffe Gallery in Columbus, Ohio. She has been recognized in the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series as a Semi-Finalist at the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art in Detroit and is currently represented by Harris Stanton Galleries in Akron and Cleveland, Ohio.
Maumee Valley Country Day School is the only PreK-12th grade accredited, co-educational, and independent school in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan.