LEAP Student Highlight – Katie Williams



A new semester means new students! Meet Katie Williams. Katie is an Art Teacher at Mitchell Elementary in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I had a chance to speak with Katie briefly about her background and joining the LEAP program. Welcome to LEAP, Katie!!

What is your background?

I am from Kalamazoo, MI and started my journey in the arts when I enrolled in a high school class at the Kalamazoo Institute of the arts through a special program entitled Education for the Arts.  It was here I first found my love of creating art.  I then decided to major in art education for my undergrad, following in the steps of my late aunt Sally Castleberry, who was an artist and educator located in Kalamazoo.  Throughout college I enjoyed all of my required studio classes and gained the most joy in art in trying new techniques and mediums, as well as viewing and discussing art.  Following graduation I started my career teaching in Detroit, MI.  I continued my teaching journey in Pontiac, MI and eventually landed in my current position at Ann Arbor Public Schools. Through these past 5 years of experience I have found a passion in working for traditionally underserved populations of students and culturally diverse schools.  

Why did you choose the LEAP program?

I chose the LEAP program because it felt exciting, fresh, and fun!  It is one of the only programs I found that offers real world experiences in a variety of community settings and careers, as well as its emphasis on learning leadership skills.  As I plan to further my career as an art educator this degree specifically spoke to me as offering coursework that would be intentional, meaningful, and applicable to my future.

What do you hope to get out of the program?/Why did you decide to go back for your masters? What is your undergraduate degree in?

My undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Western Michigan University.  I love teaching, but I wanted to get my masters to further my skill set to go beyond the traditional classroom.  I want to grow my potential to impact community programing and exposure to the arts.  I also have long term goals of growing as a leader, and potentially being a voice for not only students, but art educators as well.

Check out some of Katie’s artwork below: