Teacher Profile/Essay

Guess Who?

Name: Michael R. Gerrish

An innovative educator with expertise in teaching Visual Arts and Technology to individuals with divergent learning styles. 
Ten years plus experience as workshop leader and faculty trainer in the areas of technology use and incorporating visual arts into core curriculum. 
Proven ability to mentor: 
1)students through the process of enhancing oral and written communication skills 
2)staff through the process of enhancing presentations and materials to effectively communicate curriculum


• Developing multi-modal programs    • Mentoring students/new staff    • Restructuring curriculum
• Forging synergistic relationships   
• Communicating goals and objectives


Rensselaer Education Center, Troy NY 12180                                                 2004-2012
Art Teacher

Instructor for Regional B.O.C.E.S. High School serving 23 school districts in Rensselaer, Greene and Columbia counties in and around Albany, NY.
Developing individual and group instruction in a variety of classroom settings; responsible for developing and completing community based projects connecting the Arts, AP and Career Tech students with real world experiences, and integrating Art instruction in a career-centered high school environment.

The Bridge Academy, Lawrenceville NJ 08648                                                 2003-2004
Director of Academic Technology and Distance Learning

Program developer for private, regional school serving students with language based learning difficulties and/or attention issues. 
Responsibilities included database design and management, web design, teacher training, curriculum, and developing web-based instruction.

The Newgrange School,
Hamilton, New Jersey 08629                                    1989-2003
Instructor of Art and New Media
; Technology Coordinator

Instructor and program developer for private, regional school serving students with language based learning
difficulties and/or attention issues. Active member of Technology, Curriculum committees, workshop developer 
in areas of Assistive Technology, Technology Integration, and Using New Media in the Art room.

• Founded Center for Technology, a unique program integrating Art and Computer media for students with divergent learning styles
• Broadened Visual Arts Curriculum to include less common media such as papermaking
• Authored articles and led workshops on the Arts, Integrating Technology in Art and Special Education, developing Electronic Portfolios,
  Connecting Curriculum Strands
• Created NGSNET, a school based INTRANET communications system
• Supported curriculum development via NGSNET, training faculty in use of INTRANET for curriculum enhancement
• Created social skills and self-awareness curriculum combining visual arts, poetry, and narrative writing
• Developed WEB based electronic portfolio format connecting students' entire school experience
• Created database integrating Report Card, Interim Report, IEP Report, Teacher Concern Form, all uniform in appearance, yet customized by curricular area and teacher


We all have gifts worth celebrating and it is the educator’s role to help each individual discover, develop and
celebrate those gifts. The media I use to bring this about are art centered. Art is more than an ancillary subject or
enrichment tool; because of the variety of its disciplines Art has the capability to inform everyone’s learning
experience regardless of any one individual’s learning styles. Whether one’s primary learning mode is auditory,
kinesthetic, tactile or visual, Art based instruction engages the learner as a creative agent in action who learns by
doing and participating with others; this process fosters an internalization of learning which is often unmatched by
other curricula.


Master of Fine Arts, Painting and Drawing    State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
Bachelor of Arts, Fine Arts, History of Art   
    University of Rochester, Rochester, New York
NY/NJ Teaching Certificates:                          Art K-12 and Elementary Ed


• The Institute for Learner Centered Education Constructivist Conference
• Art Educators of New Jersey
• Board of Trustees, Habitat for Humanity of Trenton, NJ (1995-2000)
• Technology Support Committee, Habitat for Humanity of Trenton, NJ
• ThinkQuest Judge, The Internet Society, Armonk, NY (1999-2004)


• "A Neighborhood Story" School Arts magazine December 2009
• "Just Deserts" Arts&Activites magazine April 2004
• "Digital Artistry" MultiMedia Schools magazine October 2000
• "Connecting Art History and Current Events Through Art and Computers" Channels journal vol. 13, 1999
• "Revealing the Hopes of Adolescents Through the Art of Tattoos" TheirWorld magazine 1996/1997
• assorted articles posted on the INTERNET

Years of Teaching Experience: 20+ years, elementary through college level

Workshops and/or Seminars:
*Enriching Education via Community Based Service Learning, Constructivist Conference at St Lawrence University July 2010
*Building Community: Engaging Students, Energizing Communities, Constructivist Conference at St Lawrence University July 2009
*Integrating Academics through Art in a Career Tech High School Special Education Environment, CTERC, June and October 2007
*Why Art? Using Art to Connect and Engage Students in a Variety of Learning Environments, SWIDA, February 2005
*The Artist Book for Elementary Students: Connecting Imagery, Text, Thoughts and Emotions, SWIDA, February 2005
*From Assessment Through Assignments: TRLD.org Conference,  and Newgrange Educational Outreach Conference on Assistive Technology, January 2003
*SELF Curriculum: TRLD.org Conference, January 2003
*From Assessment Through Assignments: NJAIS Conference, October 2002
*Digital Sandbox: AENJ 2002 Conference, October 2002
*Thoughts on Inclusion: AENJ Conference, October 2002
*Art and AppleWorks: AENJ 2001 Conference, October 2001
*Thoughts on Assistive Technology and Art Instruction: Newgrange Outreach Center & The College of NJ, April 2001
*Whyart? The Case for Integrating Art and Technology: TRLD 2001 Conference, San Francisco, January 2001
*Integrating Art & Technology for Students with LD: Moss Foundation 2000 Conference, October 2000
*Art, Technology and Learning Disabilities: AENJ 2000 Conference, Somerset, NJ, October 2000
*Integrating Technology: The Newgrange Summer Institute 2000, Princeton, NJ, July 2000
*Digital Artistry: NECC 1999, Atlantic City, NJ
*NJAIS Conference on Technology: The Peddie School, Hightstown, NJ
        -A Stamp of Approval: Enhancing Self Esteem Through Art
*Curricular Technology - What Works: Germantown Academy, Norristown, PA
        -Integrating Art and Technology
*NJAIS Conference on Teaching: The Newgrange School, Trenton, NJ
        -Using Technology in the Art and Social Studies Classroom

Additional Training
Using Multimedia and Art to Create Stories: The Lab School, Washington, DC
Creating Web Sites with Front Page: Princeton Educators Computing Center, Princeton, NJ
NJAIS Conference on Technology: College of St Elizabeth, Morristown, NJ
The Lab School Approach:  The Lab School Teacher Training Institute, Washington, DC
Great Books Leader Training: Great Books Foundation, Trenton, NJ
Combining Visual Arts and Movement: Artist and Teacher Institute Summer Residency, Stockton, NJ


Many years ago I moved from the world of post secondary art education to a K-12 private setting, where I inherited a modest, informal program of traditional art classes utilizing discussions called critiques. The critiques promoted oral presentation skills and developed analytical skills relating to the creation of art. My students had diverse backgrounds but shared one experience: failure in prior school settings. I developed strategies which featured group and individual instruction through teacher modeling and discussion, and emphasized peer to peer learning through student mentoring, demonstrations and guided practice. These activities reinforced learning in a safe setting, promoted healthy self esteem, and motivated students to reach for success.

While continuing the valuable process of the critique I expanded the variety of media offered. Within a few years, units in paper making, printmaking, jewelry, and graphic design (including children’s books and poetry anthologies) became regular components of my program. Interest in computers and a desire to create colorful multiples of student projects led me to apply for a grant to fund a computer-based desktop publishing system capable of producing copies of student work for our classrooms, library, families and friends. The unit’s success prompted me to ask my school to replace a woodworking curriculum with an art based computer curriculum; this new format began in 1997. Elements of my program included creating digital art, authoring multimedia files, and creating web page based folios.

Later I developed an electronic portfolio system to showcase student work in all curricular areas. This INTRANET based project connected creativity in art and design to real world computer skills. I also incorporated a virtual gallery on this INTRANET to display student artwork. To promote learning across curricular areas, I worked closely with instructors in other disciplines to develop projects connecting and amplifying learning throughout the school. My final projects combined aspects of the Visual Arts with web development skills to create a digital yearbook, animated stories displayed via browsers, and student created educational web projects focusing on Art and Social History.  

During 2003-4 I  helped create a new school centered on the remediation of language based learning disabilities. We did this via a structured, interconnected curriculum using research based, classroom tested methods to mentor, guide and orient students from non-awareness and failure to self advocacy and success. Art is, of course, a major element of the program. I currently live and work in Troy, NY, a nineteenth century manufacturing center which is quickly becoming a community for artists and other "cultural creatives".

I am convinced that Art is of paramount importance in every educational experience! Art must be more than a hands-on activity paired with other learning, for when it is integrated with other content areas the synergy of connected learning paths promotes a deeper understanding of culture, period and discipline.

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