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Amy Manso

Amy Manso

Name: Amy Manso
School: Le Jardin Academy
City: Kailua
State: Hawaii
Grade(s): 6th-12th
Subject(s): Visual art

What quote inspires you?
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso

What is your favorite color and why?
Burnt Sienna, this warm versatile brown is my go to color with watercolor landscapes and portraits.

What is your favorite piece of furniture in your classroom?
The supply shelves – full of everything you need to make art, open for the students to use and help keep organized (not so easy to do).

How would you describe your teaching style?
I encourage discussions between students, I am dedicated and patient.

When did you know you wanted to become a teacher?
Once given the opportunity to take some art education classes through the advertising agency I was working at, I soon realized that becoming an art teacher would be a very rewarding and inspiring career.

What is your favorite lesson/unit to teach?
I enjoy teaching my Innovative Animal Illustration unit. The inspiration for this unit came from a project I did when I was in HS. The students learn about the power of observing nature, they analyze Da Vinci’s drawing and investigate how many inventions have been inspired by the way nature works. Students learn observational drawing skills and how to create value and texture with pen and ink. Through research they create a mixed up animal illustration that has a specific innovative purpose.

What is your greatest challenge in teaching?
I strongly believe that giving timely feedback to students on assignments and projects is crucial in the development of knowledge and skills. It takes me quite a bit of time to give thorough feedback. Balancing time between teaching, planning, grading and home life is my greatest challenge.

If you could have a career other than a teacher, what would it be?
I would be a children’s book illustrator. This is still on my bucket list, I will have a children’s book published one day, most likely when I retire from teaching.

What’s something your students probably don’t know about you?
They know that I love nature but most likely do not know how much of a hiker/wanderer I am when I am not in the classroom.

If a student were to remember something about your class 50 years from now, what do you hope it would be?
The correct shapes of value equal form and that brainstorming ideas with others is an essential way to develop creatively.

What are your three favorite books?
1. Private Lives of the Impressionists by Sue Roe
2. Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
3. The Anatomy Lesson: A Novel by Nina Siegal

Which do you prefer:

pencil or pen

coffee or tea

afternoon or morning

packed lunch or hot lunch

dentist or faculty meeting

Is there anything else you want to tell us?
I am the mom of two amazing boys. Another bonus of being a teacher is being able to spend the summers hiking, baking, reading and just being with these two kids.

If you would like to be considered for a future Educator Spotlight, send this completed questionnaire and a picture to