Tighe enjoys seeing kids’ talent expand in art classes

Jackie Tighe has been teaching elementary art for the MCSD for 21 years now. One of the best opportunities her students received was painting ceramic tiles depicting scenes of Monticello. The art wall is located in the pocket park for all to see. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
Panther Professionals
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Panther Professionals is a weekly series highlighting educators, administrators, staff and aides who are dedicated to the future of the Monticello Community School District.

     Seeing the Monticello community support the schools, and providing youth with great opportunities is what Jackie Tighe enjoys about working for the Monticello School District.

     Tighe is in her 21st year working for the district as the elementary art teacher for grades kindergarten through fourth.

     “I get the students twice a week,” she said about scheduled art classes.

     In her years with the MCSD, Tighe has taught art for every grade level, K-12. She spent 10 years teaching for grades K-8.

     “We work in all different mediums,” she said of the curriculum. “I want to the kids to be familiar with the different elements of art.”

     Over the years, Tighe said the educational standards have certainly changed, and art classes are no exception.

     “There are more rigorous standards for art now,” she said.

     Tighe said this is really a dream job for her.

     “It’s so easy because I’ve been doing it so long.” She said the students are excited to come to art class, always asking what project is in the works for them that day.

     “Elementary kids are so happy to come to art class,” she said.

     Tighe said it’s great for her to see how their brains develop each year and the progress they’re making.

     “The school strives to continue to improve the schools and the curriculum,” she said of giving students every opportunity to succeed. “The whole town strives to make Monticello the complete package.” Tighe said everyone in the community does their part and gives of their time to make sure they’re offering youth programs for kids of all ages. “That’s what’s lovely about raising kids here.”

     The MCSD has been the only school district Tighe has taught at. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1984 in art education. For a while, Tighe moved to the East Coast, but returned in the mid-1990s back to Monticello.

     She said as a parent, it was great to be able to teach her own children over the years.

     “I had my own kids from an early age,” she said. “They were used to it.”

     In her time here, Tighe has taken on additional roles outside of elementary art teacher. She’s been the assistant drama coach for high school productions and helped with the costumes. This is her 11th year assisting in that role. She said it’s fun seeing the high school students on stage after having them in art class in elementary.

     Tighe also earned graduate credits for teaching talented and gifted students. She worked in the program for one year at MHS.

     “The school really encourages inclusion,” she said. “All of the students are very accepting of one another’s differences, and they learn that from a young age.”

     With all of the work Tighe has done in her 21 years, she is quite proud of the third-grade class that got the opportunity to paint tiles for the art/donor wall inside the downtown pocket park. The ceramic tiles depict scenes of Monticello.

     “They represent the rich history here,” Tighe said of the students’ interpretations. “That was too good of an opportunity, and now they’re displayed in the community for all to see.”

     Another opportunity for the community to see the elementary kids’ work first-hand is Tuesday, Dec. 5. Carpenter School kids will be performing at MHS at 6 p.m. Their artwork for grades 2-4 will also be on display at the concert.

     “The kids really stepped up this year,” Tighe said of their talent. “We invite parents and grandparents to take a look.”

     When Tighe isn’t teaching, she loves spending time with her three daughters and one grandson. The family is huge supporters of the Iowa Hawkeyes.


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