10+ years teaching at the High School Level plus summer school at Northwestern's Gifted Program for Middle-Schoolers. I have extensive experience teaching Photography (beginner and advanced), Drawing & Painting at the Intro level, Graphic Design, Fashion, and Interdisciplinary Classes such as Modern Magazine and Creative Communications. My work focuses on teaching the Creative Process through student choice. I am the Executive Director and Co-Creator of Art ConnectED (www.ArtConnectED.org) which facilitates the Illinois High School Art Exhibition among other programs. This work allows me to work with hundreds of teachers across Illinois each year. I have served as the Secretary and Executive Board Member for the Illinois Art Education Association and as the Advocacy Taskforce Chair. I also lead numerous large-scale professional development workshops across the country each year.
With a social constructivist education philosophy and passion for the arts, I have a deep focus on teaching the Creative Process through Student Agency and Choice-Based approaches. I have led numerous community-based projects while advocating for STEAM curricular systems in school districts; bridging intersections across disciplines, learner communities, and democratic policy. I believe the purpose of schooling should be to build a functioning democracy. My pedagogy is rooted in socially engaged, community-based, problem-based, and creative practices. Along with the support of research, these are central motivators with which everything else is built around. Student-centered learning is pivotal, but only a first step. Metacognition should be the driving target of all educational experiences, which are crafted through a reflective and responsive feedback loop in which students have tremendous agency.
2021-22 IAEA Art Educator of the Year The 2016-17 recipient of the IAEA Early Professional of the Year Award.
Bachelor's in Photography. and K-12 Education (Visual Arts). I also hold a Master in Educational Leadership, with a Principal Endorsement.
TEDx Talk, "How Creativity Will Save Education." ChrisSykora.com & @HeyTeachers1 for more.
2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschool, Staff
English Language Arts, Creative Writing, Specialty, Arts & Music, Visual Arts, Graphic Arts, Special Education