Allendale Columbia School art teacher and Rochester Institute of Technology alumna, Amy Bonner Oliveri received the David M. Pynchon Chair in the Arts. Awarded every five years to a member of the Allendale Columbia School art faculty, the David M. Pynchon Chair in the Arts was established to recognize excellence in teaching, service to the School, commitment to students, respect of colleagues, performance or artistic standards, and scholarship.
In 1989 the Board of Trustees of Allendale Columbia School established the School’s fourth of our current six endowed faculty chairs, the David M. Pynchon Chair in the Arts. In this way, the School honored a recently deceased headmaster whose commitment to quality in the profession of teaching, and leadership in supporting the disciplines of art, theater and music will be an enduring legacy. Pam Vogel was honored with the initial appointment, and subsequent recipients who all still teach full time at AC, have been Lisa Barnes, appointed in 1994, Randy Northrup in 1999, Lori Wun in 2004, and Gabriel Costanzo in 2008.
According to Mick Gee, Head of School, “Amy is a young teacher who has already made an enormous impact on our school since arriving at AC four years ago.”
Amy’s formal qualifications include a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Illustration and a Master of Science for Teachers in Visual Arts Education, both from Rochester Institute of Technology. She also has valuable experience as a graphic designer and she is an avid blogger at: artwitholiveri.com. At the annual faculty dinner hosted by the Board of Trustees, Mick Gee celebrated her commitment to developing “minds that are curious and creative,” one of the four core values of Allendale Columbia. “She draws on her expertise and experience to create courses and projects for her students that challenge and strengthen their ability to create and design. Most importantly, Amy puts students at the center of everything that she does at AC. Amy has boundless energy and enthusiasm for working with students in and out of class. She is committed to developing programs that serve their needs, often at the expense of her own. This is apparent in the quality of her students’ work, which fills the walls, halls, and monitors of the entire school.”
When asked what the award means to her, Amy added, “I was really surprised. Having the opportunity to work with the individuals who have received this in the past is a privilege. The fact that we are such a close-knit community allows us to work collaboratively. Randy’s work on the Lower School play each year is inspirational. The concerts that the music department put on display hours of practice and developed talent. I feel lucky to work with Lori everyday; I get to create a curriculum with her for our students that really reflects current art practices.” Amy added that she likes to make connections for the students, “Right now I am working on a design thinking project with 3-D students. It is a process that Stanford has developed. We are having students use that model and develop a chair prototype made from cardboard. It is important to bring contemporary artwork and art makers together to make connections for our students. . . And, when one of my students took apart a miniature grand piano, it reminded me of an Instragram artist that I had shared with the class, so I showed her more about the artist. Showing students contemporary artwork and making these kind of connections really helps them to understand that they are making real and authentic artwork.”
Mick Gee recently shared this reflection about Amy’s significant contributions to the AC community: “She is forward-thinking, knowledgeable about the great changes that are taking place in education, and very committed to the school’s vision. Amy consistently demonstrates her desire to improve her own teaching and our entire program through positive action. Amy has injected new enthusiasm and purpose into our professional development program. Additionally, her entrepreneurial spirit and design expertise have enabled AC to push ahead in the fields of art, design, social media, and mobile website design. Amy Oliveri is truly a teacher of the future. AC is fortunate to have her here in the present. Please join me again in congratulating Amy.”
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