“Genius” Every Day


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Culver City Unified School District Art and Innovation Lab Teacher Eileen Pottinger with a big-eyed bird handpuppet crafted from cardboard
Photo courtesy of Eileen Pottinger, and used with permission.

For Eileen Pottinger, ingenuity is a daily occurrence. And it never fails to inspire her.

That’s because Eileen is not only a design educator, but the full-time Art and Innovation Lab teacher at Culver City Unified School District.

And CCUSD is currently implementing an exciting project: their Art and Innovation Lab, for students!

The Art and Innovation Lab is currently in its fledgling stages across the five schools in the district. But Eileen, whose background includes not only teaching chemistry and math but working as an award-winning exhibit designer for LACMA, is looking forward to seeing the program expand to give students a chance to explore, discover and create.

In other words, an opportunity to learn skills for their future careers, and their lives.

Eileen, who also teaches part-time at Otis Art Institute, says she has a daily mantra at CCUSD: “This kid is a genius!”

And her discoveries, as she watches her students discover their gifts, fuels her passion for her work as a maker teacher.

Eileen talked about her creative journey, shared the story of the Art and Innovation Lab and offered some of her favorite resources.

On this edition of Over Coffee® we cover:

  • The professional journey that led Eileen to her current career;
  • The story of CCUSD’s Art and Innovation Lab;
  • What CCUSD’s working towards, as the ultimate vision for the new Art and Innovation Lab;
  • Some of the ways of circumventing common obstacles to implementing maker-oriented curricula;
  • A major source of inspiration, for Eileen;
  • How she might guide an arts-oriented student to develop future skills;
  • Some of her favorite maker-education resources.

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