Paula Ponto
Art teacher

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Paula, who grew up in Neenah, Wisconsin, has been teaching at at Aspen Country Day School since 2000. She has a degree in art education for K-12 from the University of Minnesota and is a member of the National Art Educators Association. Parent of two graduates, Paula lives in Carbondale and can often be found practicing yoga or playing tennis, both of which she does with her trademark energy and enthusiasm.

Art teacher Paula Ponto

Three essential items?

A sense of humor, yoga, and a glue gun. You can fix just about anything with a glue gun. It’s an art teacher’s best friend. In fact, just recently, after a bear got into my daughter’s car, I used one to glue some parts of the car back on.

Dream dinner guests?

Frida Kahlo, an amazing artist who broke barriers for other female artists. Bono, because he’s an amazing singer/songwriter and humanitarian. And Roger Federer, a great tennis player and role model. He speaks six languages.

Something that was cool when you were younger?

Schwinn bikes with the butterfly handlebars and the banana seats.

How did you get interested in art?

I took art as a senior in high school because I thought it would be an easy “A.” And then the art teacher said, “Where have you been all my life?” So when I went to college, I took all art and dance classes, and I learned about drawing and painting; I couldn’t get enough. That teacher really changed my life, and I wish he knew. He died, but if he could be another one of my dream dinner guests, I’d tell him what a big influence he had on me. 

An interesting job before this?

I interned at the Art Institute of Minneapolis with their summer program. Also, I was a waitress forever. I waited on Dan Ackroyd, one of the Blues Brothers, remember him? He came into the restaurant looking so dirty, and none of the other waitresses wanted to wait on him, but I said, “I will.” Then I recognized his voice. He was super nice and left a big tip.

Favorite place on campus?

The art room! It might appear disorganized, but there is so much creative and fun stuff going on there.

Paula, center, with student interviewers Sawyer M. and Peyton T.