Beyond the Classroom: Chamblee’s Gets New Art Teachers and Expanded Opportunities

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Beyond the Classroom: Chamblee’s Gets New Art Teachers and Expanded Opportunities

Chamblee art teachers from their Instagram.

Chamblee art teachers from their Instagram.

Chamblee art teachers from their Instagram.

Chamblee art teachers from their Instagram.

Lucy Roberts, Staff Writer

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From a new principal to new administration, Chamblee Charter High School has seen quite a few staff changes this school year, including the new art department. This year, CCHS’s art department features two new teachers, Ms. Landers and Ms. Nguyen.

Both teachers are excellently qualified. Ms. Nguyen’s experience varies from public elementary to private high school teaching and has taught a wide variety of classes. 

“At Drew [Charter Senior Academy] I taught a variety of art classes and integrated art classes, Geography with Art, Chemistry with Art, Printmaking, Ceramics, Intro Art, Drawing and Painting, AP Art, and Applied Design,” said Nguyen, who currently teaches Intro to Visual Arts and Drawing and Painting I. 

Ms. Landers, who currently teaches Intro to Visual Arts, Drawing and Painting I, Drawing and Painting II, AP Drawing, Sculpture I, Sculpture II, and AP 3D, has taught a similar course load at other schools, although she has taught at CCHS before. 

“When I left Chamblee in 2006, I took a break from teaching to focus on my art, then I ended up at Norcross High School for four years, and then the last six have been at North Atlanta High School,” said Landers. “[At North Atlanta] I was teaching Intro, Drawing and Painting I, Drawing and Painting II, AP Drawing and Applied Design I,II, and III, and AP 2D Design, which is a computer and technology-infused class. I actually ended up writing the media art standards for the state and then I wrote the curriculum for the Graphics I class for the state after developing that program.”

Ms. Landers noted that CCHS differs a bit from other environments she has taught in, especially in regards to artistic opportunities.

“One of the things about working in [Atlanta Public Schools] that I had never realized was a huge benefit was all the connections to be made. So when the mayor of Atlanta needs something done, she reaches out to Atlanta Public Schools. When there’s a festival downtown they ask Atlanta Public Schools. So I will miss those connections however I’m very close with the coordinator and I’ve already started working on some events that cross districts,” said Landers. 

Landers is hoping she can develop her department to give Chamblee students opportunities and experiences such as these. 

“We want the community to be aware of what they’re doing. I’ve reached out to some people in the city of Chamblee to do some collaboration between the city and the school, to get us out of the classroom to work, doing murals. Just having amazing art experiences beyond making art in the classroom,” said Landers. 

Ms. Nguyen explained that although the class environment is different at Chamblee, she is excited for the challenge. 

“I really miss having that small school, so each class size was small like ninth grade was only about 120 students total, which is very different from here where it’s about 500-700. Everyone in the school got to know each other really well. We knew each student by name, which is great. But here there’s just so many students so it’s hard to get that relationship built,” said Nguyen. “I’m most excited about having a really great group of kids. So far I’ve really enjoyed it and I have two really great colleagues. I didn’t have that before, we were mostly separated and we didn’t talk a whole lot but they have been great and have helped me get adjusted to the new school.”

Despite the adjustment, both teachers are excited to be teaching at CCHS and have already started working towards their goals for the school year. 

“I heard it was a great school. I really wanted to come here,” said Ms. Nguyen. “My goals for my class are that my students enjoy the class and that they learn new things about art and be better in their art.”

“I worked here before and when I found out that there were a couple of vacancies and that Ms. Barnes had taken over the helm, I was excited for the opportunity to experience the kind of leadership that I both want to work with and expect to work with,” said Ms. Landers. “I want everyone to understand that they can develop their technical ability as well as foster creativity. Either one of those things that they learn can have a huge impact on their life, regardless of whether or not they go into art.” 

Ms. Landers and Ms. Nguyen have big goals in mind this year and are determined to make it great. 

“I would like for us to be more well known, have more events, and raise more money. Hopefully have some study abroad with art experiences for students here,” Ms. Nguyen said. 

“We are interested in making a better effort in publicizing everything that we do. We want to make sure people are aware when we have student work in an exhibition, when we have a student that has gotten into a program. We’ve already created an Instagram page for the department. We want to get more active in those things,” said Ms. Landers. 

If Landers’ and Nguyen’s excitement are any indication of incredible growth in the art department, students should be looking out for amazing new things. 

“It’s tremendously exciting, being here again is just so surreal, to be around these people that I’ve known for many, many years, seeing all the people that have left that are still very active and have built such a community here,” Landers said. “It’s very heartwarming and exciting. I’m just so excited about everything.”