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Interviews With New Barrack Institutes Staff

Rachel Loeb


New to Barrack this year are the upper school institutes: art, STEAM, and business. The STEAM Institute is a continuation of the program from past years, but it with a new head it will likely have some changes. The Busineuss institute is a totally new additon to Barrack. The Art Institute will feature the 3 teachers working together to create the curriculum. The Chronicle interviewed the three new teachers for the programs.

1. What are you most looking forward to in this position?

Stanley Shmia (Chair of the STEAM Department): Working with students, sharing my love of engineering, problem solving, and creativity.

Andrea Schuster (Fine Arts Teacher): I am looking forward to meeting my new students and exploring the wonderful world of art history with them!

David Kimmel (Business and Entrepreneurship teacher): Barrack has a fantastic community. I look forward to meeting the students and working with the other faculty. From what I’ve seen so far, I can already tell that Barrack students are incredibly talented, creative, and motivated.

2. Do you have any specific ideas/goals? If yes, what are they?

Shmia: Yes, I want to make STEAM more fun and inclusive for everyone. We’re going to offer more choices for Capstone projects and bring real world and business related projects to the STEAM Institute.

Schuster: My goal for this year is to develop a fun and supportive classroom environment that encourages creativity and self-expression. Also, I hope to connect student interests to project themes and ideas!

Kimmel: Students will have the opportunity to work on projects in which they develop business plans and determine the details for their implementation. I’m eager to see how students apply knowledge and skills from class in creative ways during these projects. I’m also working on planning field trips that will allow students to see various aspects of business in person.

3. What should people know before taking your class?

Shmia: STEAM is a fun, engaging and creative place where you’ll be able to follow your own passion and work on projects you care about.

Schuster: Art making can be challenging, but it should also feel satisfying to make art. In my classes, I strive to help students develop their artistic abilities and to express their own ideas and feelings through art.

Kimmel: “Business” and “entrepreneurship” are related, but they are not the exact same thing. A person can work in business without being an entrepreneur. Likewise, a person can be an entrepreneur without understanding every aspect of business management. In this class, we will focus on both business and entrepreneurship. We will start by exploring principles of how businesses work and what businesses need to be successful. Later, we will apply these principles in developing business plans with an entrepreneurial mindset.

4. What will a day in your institute look like?

Shmia: We do a lot of hands on projects in STEAM. Almost every class involves problem solving and building something, for example a robot, a model bridge, or a more complicated system with electrical and mechanical components. We create something almost every day.

Schuster: Each class will introduce specific routines and connections to the diverse world of art history! Prior to each project, the importance of planning and developing a design will be explored, as it helps channel an artist’s creativity in a specific direction. While my electives will be full of exciting creative projects and hands-on activities, consistent critiques and discussions will help bring art history to life.

Kimmel: When exploring a new topic, we will start with a short, interactive presentation covering key aspects of that topic. Then, students will have the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned to assess real world examples, including case studies. When working on a project, students will have class time to work collaboratively and receive feedback from both their classmates and from me.

5. What skills will students learn throughout the progression of different years?

Shmia: We start with problem solving and creativity then move on to more specialized engineering and science disciplines. As students progress in STEAM, we cover electrical, mechanical, biomedical, environmental, and sustainability engineering.

We also offer units on data analysis and every year in the Upper School ends with a capstone project that the student chooses.

Schuster: Throughout each class, students will be prepared to create art that connects their personal ideas to the context of art history and contemporary art. Students will not only develop an interest in the process of art making, they will gradually learn to trust and celebrate the process! Great work takes time!

Kimmel: The intro course this year and more advanced courses in future year will help students develop qualitative and quantitative skills needed in the world of business. Students will learn how to efficiently present an idea using persuasive techniques and visuals. Students will foster collaboration skills working in teams on long-term projects. Students will learn interpersonal skills needed to negotiate in a business setting. Students will learn how to create visualizations of data needed to present data to employees and investors.

6. What’s a fun fact about you?

Shmia: I’m an avid triathlete, competing in swim / bike / run events every summer.

Schuster: I have a twin sister who is amazing at knitting!

Kimmel: I speak Spanish and a little bit of Mandarin.


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