Welcoming Ms. Horner


Selena Bell, Staff Writer

At North Hills we are known for our impressive art program.  This year, with one of the most important teachers in the art department out for the majority of our first semester, who will be the replacement for the only ceramics teacher in school?  The answer to that question is Ms. Horner.  She has been a part of the North Hills art program multiple times before and knows how it all works.  Even though she went to high school at North Allegheny, North Hills has accepted her with open arms.

Substitute teaching for three years now, she has had four long-term teaching experiences.  Three times were at the good ol’ North Hills School District and one was at Upper Saint Clair. Ms. Horner always knew that she wanted to share her knowledge and be a teacher, but she discovered her love for the arts when she was in high school.  Her college education took place at Indiana University of Pennsylvania to get her teaching degree.

With the multiple levels of teaching that she has experienced, Ms. Horner has found what age group that she loves to teach and watch grow.  When asked what level she prefers to teach, she answered, “I have always thought that teaching middle school kids would be awful—they are moody and just starting to figure out who they are, but after subbing for Mrs. Brawdy and Ms. Root, I found out that they are definitely my favorite to teach because it is the period where they grow and change the most during the year.” Her time teaching middle school was here, twice, at North Hills.

Learning and growing also occurs as a teacher.  Her proudest moment as a teacher actually happened in my art class in eighth grade when I had her as a substitute.  The way she put it was, “A particular student, who wasn’t a particular joy to have in class, started off the year hating art.  Then throughout the year, I watched that change about him.  By the end of the semester at the last project, he went above and beyond any of my expectations that I had for the entire class.  This really made me appreciate teaching and growth.”  Thinking back to that class years ago, I remember exactly how it all happened and how hard Ms. Horner pushed for us all to give art a chance.

Creativity is an extremely important factor when you are an art teacher.  And every art teacher has something that they love particularly about the subject.  Ms. Horner’s favorite aspect of art happens to be ceramics and sculpting, so this long-term substitute term works perfectly for her.  Since she has started getting more and more into teaching, she has had a lot less time to work on her own art, although that’s likely the case for many teachers.  Balancing a passion while helping students find theirs sounds like challenge enough for anyone.

North Hills is lucky to have had the presence of Ms. Horner this many times.  Her hope as of now is to eventually get hired permanently here in this school district. She says,  “I am starting to get to know the program and the other teachers… it would be nice to stay, I think.”  An art teacher for a North Hills elementary school is predicted to retire soon and Ms. Horner hopes to be her replacement. But if not, she will continue to sub happily whenever she can.  As a student that has had Ms. Horner all three times of her substituting for long terms here, I hope the best for her teaching career at North Hills.