Degrees and Certifications:
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Missouri State University Master of Arts in Curriculum & Instruction, University of Colorado Colorado Professional Teaching License: Visual Arts, Gifted & Talented Specialist
Hello, I'm Susie Weiss Gray, proud Art educator at Howbert Elementary! One of the greatest honors of my life is spending time with and educating students every day.
I am a proud Army Brat and grew up all over the world. I made Colorado my home in 2008 and began teaching at Howbert that August. One of my favorite things about being an Art teacher is being with my students for years, as they grow. One of my favorite things about being the Art teacher at Howbert is knowing our families as their kids grow through the grades.
As a child I was always making something! My mother and grandmother taught me many handcrafts. My father and grandfather taught me to play, build and fix. If you'd invited me to your birthday party, I would've given you a thoughtfully homemade gift...usually full of colors! As I entered middle school and high school, I could easily see that other people were "better" artists than me. They could draw and paint and sculpt effortlessly! I often had to work hard to make my ideas a reality. At times, I was discouraged and would alter my plans to fit my skills. Thankfully, I was supported by my family, my teachers, and my friends. I didn't stop creating. I explored, and continue to explore, different materials and skills. Through it all, I learned that one of the things I'm most passionate about creating is environments and systems that encourage other people to create! I'm also passionate about creating lovely and functional objects, which I do through my small ceramics business, Gray Mountain Clay.
I had a need to create. I believe many of us do; but we can be discouraged and mislead that if we're not "naturally talented" then we shouldn't consider ourselves creative, or we downplay our creations and accomplishments. I believe that creativity is problem solving and therefore we are all creative! Creativity and Artistry are not owned by the Fine Arts. We're artists when we get dressed, cook dinner, pick out a couch, repair a car or solve a disagreement. The Arts are vital, whatever form they take. My goal is that each of my students can: Ideate, Problem Solve and Communicate with confidence! Through diligent study, reflection, and a strong community of like-minded art teachers, my path to that goal is an Art program at Howbert that is studio-based and student-driven. In the world of Art Education, it falls into the Teaching for Artistic Behaviors philosophy.
In our Art classroom the students are the artists. Together, we work through the Howbert Art Steps while learning about: Art Elements, Art Principles, Art Materials, Art History and current Artists. Subject matter, materials and purpose are almost always up to the students. The Art Steps guide them through imagining, planning, persevering, improving, creating and communicating. You can see our school steps and try our home art steps here: Howbert Art Steps. Our studio-based model empowers the students to make the choices they need to meet their creative goals. This approach also allows me to meet each student where they are. I can advise, encourage, provide challenges on an individual basis, and get to know each of my students personally.
I LOVE being an Art teacher. I LOVE working at Howbert Elementary. I cannot thank Howbert's community enough for it's support, encouragement, advocacy and joy.