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Alumni Spotlight: Art Teacher Golda Strelecki

Saturday, January 02, 2021

Golda Strelecki  ’15M is an elementary school art teacher in western North Carolina. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Fiber Art from Savannah College of Art and Design and was working in a corporate job when a Ted Talk with Sir Ken Robinson caught her attention.

“He was talking about creativity in schools,” Strelecki said. “He stated that for children growing up in this time, ‘Creativity now, is as important in education, as literacy.’ At the time, I wanted a career that would be less redundant and with greater purpose. Sir Ken Robinson’s revolutionary ideas on the role of education motivated me to go back and earn my master’s degree.”

Strelecki earned a Master of Arts in Teaching in elementary education from the Watson College in 2015. She said the program provided a solid foundation for her work in the art classroom.

“During my time as an MAT student, the professors were wonderful in giving me room to explore the core curriculum through an art focus,” she said. “Learning to adapt science, math, literacy and social studies into an opportunity for creativity allowed me to do the reverse once I was teaching.”

Strelecki also said she also gained a valuable global perspective through the MAT program.

“Dr. Elizabeth Crawford’s teachings on 21st Century Learning have had a lasting influence on the way I plan my lessons,” she said.  “The school that I teach at has a multinational population and so I find this to be even more relevant. I strive to incorporate an element of global awareness and multiculturalism wherever I can.”

Strelecki said her most prized moments come when she sees her students beaming with pride as they show her what they have created.

“Art is an equalizer,” she said. “It can lift a student’s spirit and also bring classmates together. It is amazing to witness.” 

NEW! MAT in Art Education

The Watson College will offer a new Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Art Education program in 2021. The 33-credit hour program is designed for individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree in art or a related field and would like to teach art at public schools.

“Like Golda, I think an art teacher is one of the best jobs for people who love art and are enthusiastic about sharing their love of art,” said Associate Professor Christine Liao, coordinator of the new MAT program. “Our program is carefully designed to provide the maximum amount of art-teaching knowledge and field experience with minimal time.”

The one full-year MAT program combines online courses with in-person and hands-on field experience to provide flexibility for working professionals. During the final semester, students will participate in full-time student teaching under the guidance of a mentor teacher and faculty supervisor. Successful completion of the program will prepare students for obtaining NC K-12 art teaching licensure.

UNCW is currently accepting applications for the first cohort which begins summer 1 2021. Interested individuals can contact program coordinator Dr. Christine Liao at liaoc@uncw.edu or visit the program website.