Art teacher Ryan Petersmark has been named Teacher of the Year at Clewiston High School.
The Detroit, Michigan product will represent the school at the Teacher of the year banquet in January in LaBelle.
Petersmark attended college at Western Michigan University and really wasn’t looking to move to Florida. He applied for a couple of positions and was granted an interview at a local Clewiston Elementary School. During the interview, it was suggested that he visit with the High School that also needed an art teacher.
“It seemed advantageous to me to take advantage of that and I think it is a wonderful happenstance that I wound up in Clewiston,” he noted.
Petersmark won the First Year Teacher of the year award during his first year at Clewiston High School. That Award is known as the Brilliant Orange Award. He is currently in his third year at the school. He said he was very happy to receive the award.
“I’m extremely flattered and proud to represent such an excellent school. It means a lot to me because my peers vote for this and it’s a staff that I regard highly.”
The District Teacher of the year is given the Golden Apple Award and represents the district at the State of Florida competition.
Petersmark said he totally enjoys his job and really can’t think of one bad thing to say about it.
“What don’t I enjoy about my job? I love my job,” he noted, “I literally get to spend all day sharing art, something I’m very passionate about.”
Petersmark said he is thrilled to work with young people who he describes as a demographic and age ground that neglects the arts and seem to need them the most.
“There is a lack of exposure to the arts which is a challenge but it is also an excellent opportunity. These kids are blank slate with no preconceived expectations or notions. I have the ability to create a custom made art experience for these children and tailor the curriculum to the individual needs of the students.”
Petersmark teaches visual arts with drawing courses and ceramics. He has 175 students each day. He has seven classes per day. He noted the course is very popular and there is usually a waiting list of students.
“All aspects of my job are extremely fulfilling. I get to share my passion and expertise in the arts with students who otherwise might not go looking for it on their own,” he added. He said he is very impressed with the work his students create. He noted they show off the work each year at the Fine Arts Extravaganza in April and the Hendry County Fair. “For me it’s about celebrating the amazing work that the students are capable of producing,” he added.