The staff at Art With a Heart are driven by a desire to bring top quality programs to all students regardless of their background. We love seeing students discover the joy of engaging in, creating and understanding art. This is a small, highly motivated, highly trained and highly committed team. Read on to learn more about the team that teachers want to work with!
Interim Executive Director
Out-of-School Time Programs Director
Kaitlyn worked with AWAH as a program intern while studying for her bachelor’s degree in Art Education at IU Herron School of Art & Design. She worked on special projects including a highly successful mural collaboration with Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center, Youth Philanthropy Initiative and the Indianapolis Colts. Kaitlyn has also served as an assistant teacher working in classrooms with at-risk youth. After a study abroad visit to England, Kaitlyn returned to the US and began to teach summer camp with AWAH, including managing her own classroom. In addition to teaching, Kaitlyn has a strong passion for photography and ceramics — both of which she rediscovered during her study abroad while teaching art to 11-18 year old students. Kaitlyn hopes to return to England in the future to experience more of its culture.
Creative Classroom Connections Program Director
Shael is passionate about empowering teachers to bring the paint, crayons and glue back into their classrooms! Her time as a classroom teacher supported her belief that kids learn best by being able to engage with real materials and solve problems through play and creativity. Shael earned her MA through the Urban Accelerated Certificate and Master’s program at Georgia State University and taught in Atlanta, Georgia and Austin, Texas before finding herself at home in Indiana. She lives in Irvington where her family enjoys camping, traveling, creating Halloween extravaganzas and playing with their somewhat “derpy” dog, Daisy.
Kelly is a former elementary school teacher with a Master’s Degree in curriculum and instruction. After working as a classroom teacher, she became an instructional coach and mentored others to improve teaching strategies and classroom management. Kelly was employed as a Site Director for AWaH Creative Classroom Connections from 2015-2018. As a Site Director, Kelly enjoyed working with volunteers and teachers to integrate art into the classroom. In the fall of 2018, Kelly took on the new AWAH role of volunteer manager!
Joanna graduated from IUPUI with a BS in Psychology and then taught preschool for 15 years at a parent-run cooperative in Irvington. She has 4 children, one of which participated in AWaH’s Creative Kindergarten Connections program. After teaching preschool, Joanna moved on to work for IPS #84 for a year and a half as a Behavior Specialist. During her time at #84, she got involved with us by running a center in the AWaH CKC program. Her youngest son was also participating in the CKC program during that time at his school, “I loved being able to talk to him about what his class did in AWaH that day, and really knowing the program first hand through the work I did at IPS #84,” said Joanna. She fell in love with AwaH; seeing the confidence and enthusiasm it created for her son made her heart sing. Her son has special needs, which makes school a place he doesn’t always feel successful, but in AWaH he always felt successful and he loved coming home to talk about what he learned! She also saw the difference it made for the kids at IPS #84. “Their attention spans were stretched, their fine motor skills increased and confidence in their art ability sky-rocketed,” said Joanna.
Laura has a degree in biology and a love for visual arts. Art classes throughout high school and college were a welcomed break from all the text books. They served to keep her in touch with her creativity, showing her first-hand how the arts enhanced her education. Adding to her love of learning was a simple statement by a chemistry professor at Purdue: “I want you to start thinking like a kindergartner again. Start asking why! Why is the sky blue? Why does this balloon float?…” Since then, She has admired how curious and wonderful the childhood mind is and how fun and natural learning is for kids. She purposely attempts to continue to think like a child as often as possible and incorporates this philosophy into her Art With a Heart classrooms. Laura’s favorite aspect of her job is listening to children discuss their artwork…they see so much more than us adults! In her spare time, Laura enjoys being outdoors, gardening and playing as often as possible. She recently has found the joy of rock climbing and hopes this will add to her ninja skills!
With a natural gift and passion for the visual arts, Lindsay formerly dabbled in floral design, art instruction, graphic design, and baking (if you’ve ever been to one of our student art exhibit, she’s the cupcake lady). Seeking purpose beyond her career, she first got involved as a volunteer, and Art With a Heart quickly became her home away from home. The staff was practically forced to either adopt or hire her, so on June 1, 2017, they officially went with the latter. She loves helping students enjoy the art process, going on Dollar Tree shopping adventures, and using her technical and detail-oriented powers for good.
AWaH Family Members who did wonderful work for us in the past, but now officially work somewhere else (but sometimes still work here!)
Carmen Garcia Harris
Part Time + Collaborating Teachers
Laura ReillyEmma Said