Painting a new picture

Students at ZM are Loving the New Art Teacher


Kalli Olson

Mrs. Oliver draws a halloween picture fore her first grade students

“Do we get to paint today?” asked a very excited first grader. The Zumbrota Mazeppa School District has hired a new art teacher, who is bringing the fun back to all of the art classes for students. Mrs. Lenora Oliver is a great addition to the staff of the Zumbrota Mazeppa Schools. Zumbrota Mazeppa needed to fill the position and they found the best person for the job.

Mrs. Oliver has recently moved from Louisiana to a small town located in Goodhue County. Her family decided to move there because her husband got a job in Minnesota and he has relatives that live in that area. She currently has three kids and one of them is enrolled at Zumbrota Mazeppa, while the other two are too young to be in school. She has been teaching for fourteen years. She’s taught art since 2008, and before that she taught history because she has a double certification. Mrs. Oliver said, “I knew I wanted to be an art teacher since highschool.” This lead her to get her art degree in college. With this degree, she can do what she loves everyday.

I knew I wanted to be an art teacher since high school.”

— Mrs. Oliver

Currently, Mrs. Oliver has an extremely busy schedule. She teaches six classes throughout the day, five of which are completely different classes that she must prepare for. She teaches the first graders, and she also teaches grades 7-12. Preparing each class is challenging because every class has different experience levels, which she must account for. She spends countless hours outside of work preparing for all of these different classes. She does this so that the students have the best experiences possible and hopefully they learn to develop an appreciation for the arts. The classes she teaches are intro to art, 1st grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, and ceramics. She stated that her favorite classes to teach were painting and ceramics. Mrs. Oliver said that her biggest challenge at ZM has been with her first grade classes. The first graders have shorter attention spans and they have an art class scheduled for forty minutes. Mrs. Oliver stated that “it is hard to keep them entertained” and that she finds that she has to “get creative” because of this. Even with these challenges, she finds a lot of joy in teaching young students about the world of art.

Mrs. Oliver likes the fact that Zumbrota Mazeppa Schools are very student based. She noted that not all schools are based on the needs of the students, and she has experienced this at some of the schools she’s previously taught at. The biggest difference she’s noticed between ZM and the other schools was that ZM wants to make a well-rounded person. This means that they don’t just push test scores, but they make sure that a majority of the students are involved in other activities as well. They also encourage every student to be involved in the community in one way or another. This is because ZM wants all of their students to be the best people that they can be.

Students at ZM really enjoy Mrs. Oliver’s classes. She has demonstrated how art can be fun while also being educational. Mrs. Oliver has also established how art can be an outlet for students and their many emotions. Hopefully, every student will get to experience a class with her throughout their years at Zumbrota Mazeppa.