New art teacher at Wittenberg school

Engelke graduated from Viterbo University

Editor’s Note: NEW Media recently chatted with Naomi Engelke, who was hired this year for the Wittenberg Elementary/Middle School art teacher position.

Q: What is your work/education background?

A: This is my first teaching job. I graduated this past May from Viterbo University in La Crosse with a degree in art education.

Q: Tell a little bit about yourself and where you are from?

A: I am from Fort Atkinson, which is located between Madison and Milwaukee. The past five years, I have lived in La Crosse while going to school, and now I live in Stevens Point with my dog, Mia.

Q: What’s your basic philosophy for teaching?

A: Your child, myself and you are a team. We are striving toward the same goal of success for them. Art is an important subject that helps teach your child not only artistic processes, but also provides an opportunity for them to be creative, develop problem-solving skills, learn to accept positive criticism and express their emotions — all crucial skills to be successful academically, socially and emotionally.

Q: Is the student/teacher population one you’ve worked with in the past or is it bigger/smaller?

A: The student/teacher population is similar to ones I have worked with in the past. That being said, working in a K-8 setting is new to me! It provides a fun variety of classes and developmental levels to plan art lessons for and keeps things interesting.

Q: What brought you to the Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District?

A: I was initially interested in the WBSD due to its relative closeness to the Stevens Point area, which was where I moved after graduating from Viterbo in La Crosse. I was even more excited about applying here when my cooperating teacher for student teaching (Angie Hendrikson) told me her husband’s family is from the area, and both her father- and mother-in-law (Rollie and Karen Hendrikson) taught within the district for many years and loved it! It seemed like the perfect fit.

Q: Where do you live, and what do you like about the location?

A: I currently live in Stevens Point and commute to Wittenberg every day. I am familiar with the Stevens Point area and have always enjoyed how beautiful it is there and the constant events going on around the area.

Q: What was the inspiration for your becoming a teacher?

A: I have always loved art and working with other people. Teaching art was just a natural way to do so. Every day I get to come to work and teach my students about something I love and I am passionate about. It is always exciting seeing my students get fired up about a new project or an idea they had and watching their creative little minds stretch and grow and create amazing things!