Maria Burke

Maria Burke


As one of the art teachers on the Art Team, I will teach art by integrating the APS Art Education program of studies and National Art Education Standards with multidisciplinary connections. Our mission at Discovery is to empower students with the ability to understand their visual world, through critical response and critical thinking with every artful problem. Students will play, brainstorm, create, stretch/explore and reflect with various media. Our goal is to provide a safe, enriching and respectful environment in which all children will develop the conceptual skills, creativity, techniques, processes, craftsmanship and attitudes necessary to make personally meaningful works of art.

Professional Background

I began my career with a B.A. in Studio Art and Minor in Psychology from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. I worked in graphic design in the private sector and with associations for over 10 years. In 2006, I decided to become an art educator and earned my Master of Arts in Teaching Art Education from the School of Art at George Mason University.  For the past five years, I have been teaching art at Oakridge Elementary School.  I was selected as a Robert Rauschenberg/The Power of Art recipient at The Lab School of Washington, in the Spring 2011, for my lesson on graffiti stereotypes. For the past two years, I have been an Elementary Visual Arts Lead teacher for APS. I am also a faculty member of George Mason University’s MAT in Art Education program, where I teach the course Visual Thinking through Media, PK-12 in the Fall to pre-service art teachers.

Personal Interests

During my time off I enjoy making my own art, biking, hiking, kayaking, reading and gardening. My husband and I have two children—ages 13 and 18. I am the third of four siblings and have 15 nieces and nephews. I enjoy spending time in nature with my family—especially the mountains or beach. Last summer, I spent time hiking some of the mountains around the Appalachian Trail in Maine’s Baxter State Park.

Literary Connection

A book that reveals something about me is Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. In this beautifully illustrated picture book, Miss Rumphius’ grandfather has taught her there are three things she must do when she grows up– go to faraway places, live by the sea, but most importantly do something that makes the world more beautiful. As she grows up, she keeps her promise to her grandfather by travelling the world, living by the sea and finally spreading lupines throughout the fields. She then shares this message to other children. This book connects to my life, because I share Miss Rumphius’ aspirations. In college, I travelled the world during my junior semester abroad and I enjoy learning about other cultures. When I was a little girl, my father taught me to paint on the weekends, which led to my becoming an artist and art teacher. As an art educator, I will explore media with my students to create beauty all around Discovery. My greatest goal is to help students become risk-takers and experiment with materials without being afraid of making a mistake. Play and experimentation can result in the discovery of new ideas! Although I don’t live by the sea now, I do vacation by the sea when I can, and I hope to live by the sea one day.