Brenda Sywalski named Art Teacher of the Year

A woman smiles, has blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, wearing a blue and white striped shirt, necklace and earringsMonticello High School art teacher Brenda Sywalski has been named Art Teacher of the Year by the New York State Art Teachers Association (NYSATA) Region 7.

Sywalski accepted her award via a virtual ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 22.

“The ceremony was not like I pictured; it gave me the opportunity to see myself in a different way than I normally do,” said Sywalski. “I was able to hear what I do and have done for the people in that NYSATA circle and how the group has given me so much that I in turn give back to my students.”

Sywalski was drawn to art right here in Monticello when she was a middle school student. “I was in Mrs. Kavaleski’s class in middle school. I remember thinking ‘This is so cool.’ We were making Styrofoam geometric forms and I thought, “This is real’.”

Her path was set. She has been teaching art for more than 30 years now and continues to grow and learn as an artist herself, attending programs that enrich her and in turn, her students. She teaches web design, digital art, animation, 3D modeling and studio and art.

This award from NYSATA is from her peers, which itself has special meaning.

“Seeing how others teach, create, and strive to change has been a wonderful privilege that I pass on to my students,” Sywalski said. “I always learn more about everything I can so I can tell them, so they can know, go explore, and check out everything they can.”

We congratulate Brenda Sywalski for this award and thank her for her dedication to our students.