marianne smith graphic

As part of National CTE Month in February, we are highlighting educators who work in Career Technical Education in Eastern Oregon school districts.

Meet Marianne Smith, CTE Art & Design Teacher at McLoughlin High School, Milton-Freewater Unified School District

What do you teach? I teach a wide variety of studio and digital arts classes ranging from basic drawing/painting, pottery and sculpture to photoshop/digital graphics and stop motion animation. I want to give my students a good sample of what they may find in higher education opportunities or get them interested in dabbling in mediums they may never have worked with before.

What is your district’s CTE focus during the 22-23 school year? Our focus is really about connecting our students with possible career options they may never have considered in the past. They may discover they have a talent or interest in a field they weren’t aware was an option for them in our region.

How do you think CTE is making a difference for students in your district?  I know we are dealing with a lot of disconnection and mental health challenges in our student population, and my area of CTE has been a fantastic outlet for students to express concerns and in their journey navigating the post-COVID world. They are gaining wonderful success in creating something they are proud of and are not afraid to show off those expressions to our community, which increases self-worth and confidence. They are finding possible career/hobbies/financial support they didn’t realize existed.

What is something people may not know about CTE in your district or about teaching in the CTE field?  I think art and design has been overlooked as a high-demand, high-wage career field because the public takes it for granted. Art and design can be seen from the digital graphics on our phones and computer games, to the labels on wine bottles, interior design, posters, clothing and shoe design, to the favorite painting hanging in your house.  When students learn how much impact art and design has on the world around them, they realize how important it is. It surrounds us every day, it tells our past, celebrates the uniqueness of each of us and will very much be a part of our future.