By Anna Jauhola
It’s been almost 20 years since Kittson Central had a full-time, dedicated art teacher. With some creative rearranging, the school is on its way to give students that chance again.
Leanna Lindegard, a 2004 Kittson central graduate, started her position this year as a part-time art teacher in kindergarten through sixth grade. For two hours every morning, Lindegard focuses on teaching children the basics, whether that’s extra scissor cutting practice for the youngest students or color theory and dimensions for the older kids.
Lindegard graduated from University of Jamestown with a four-year art degree, but does not have a teaching degree. She is the fourth teacher at Kittson Central to enter the field through the tiered licensing system, said Superintendent Bob Jaszczak.
She is considered a community expert who applied for and received her Tier 1 license, which she must apply for each year until she receives her full-time license.
“I’m going back to school to get my license online while I”m teaching here,” Lindegard said.
She has already completed her cultural competency class, which helped her qualify for the license. Through the year she will then complete other tests.
“The Tier 1 program has been extremely valuable because we’re able to bring in people who are a good fit in our community and are good teachers,” Jaszczak said. “It’s just a little bit different path to get their license.”
It had always been Lindegard’s goal to be an art teacher. When she returned to Hallock two years ago and took a paraprofessional position at the school, it was on her mind to bring art back to the school. She mentioned the idea to Jaszczak, who said he would work on the possibility.
“It took a few years, but it worked out,” Lindegard said with a smile. “I was very excited (when I was hired) because so many people have expressed interest in art – parents, teachers and kids. I was very happy to hear that so many people wanted it.”
Students already talk to her during playground duty in the morning, asking what they’ll be doing for art during the week. But she never gives away the surprise.
Each morning, Lindegard can be found in a different classroom with students excited about doing some art. Last week, third graders eagerly answered Lindegard’s questions. She gave them each the same directions and the same size of paper, but each piece of art came out looking different. When she asked why each piece looked different, several hands shot in the air, and one student said, “Because we are all different.”
Lindegard circled the room during her lesson, making sure to include all students as she rolled a die for a different activity – drawing a monster, one body part at a time.
While Lindegard is focusing on the elementary grades for the time being, she hopes her new position will expand so she can work with seventh through 12th grade as well.
Her favorite part of her new position is the excitement.
“I have so many fun ideas and I’m excited for the kids to be able to experience these fun things I have planned for them,” she said.
Her own excitement is a motivator as well. Being back in her home school is a thrill.
“I loved going to school here and I love being back,” Lindegard said. “I love that my daughters can be back here, too. For me, to be in school and sneaking peeks at what they’re doing – I love that too! I’m just very happy to be back. It’s a great place to work.”
By Anna Jauhola