Baby on Board

Posted on November 23, 2011


With labels on all the cabinets and art tools, Ms. Olander is one to be organized and tidy, but her classroom itself is a wild jungle of artwork.  There’s art on all the walls, the ceiling, and even paint splatters on the desks and floors.  Take a deep breath, and it smells like acrylics and freedom.  It is a place to go when your imagination needs to be set free and Ms. Olander creates the environment for this to happen. 

Mrs. Olander, Art teacher at Croatan.



Her grandmother inspired her to become an artist.   During her tenth grade year, she invited Ms. Olander to go to the Monet Exhibit in Chicago.  “It was huge rooms after rooms full of Monet’s.  It was my first experience seeing so much famous artwork, and made me want to do more in art,” says Ms Olander.


As a high school student, she participated in cheerleading, tennis, chorus, and all the plays.  Believe it or not, she only took one art class throughout those four years.  They had a senior teach-day and she got to teach her art class for the day.  “[It] made me inspired to become the “art teacher,” not just an artist.”


 She attended Salem College and majored in art.  In college, she wanted to be a graphic designer but missed the interaction with people.  After Salem, she got her Masters in art education at ECU, and decided to become an art teacher.  She then did a program called NC Teach, which helped Ms. Olander get her teaching certificate in one year.


It was always her goal to be able to teach kindergarten through twelfth grade. She taught at a Catholic School (K-8th grade), Broad Creek Middle, Gurganus Elementary, and this is her second year at Croatan.  “It was always my goal to get here, and I am so happy I made it!” 


Ms. Olander loves the water, whether it’s out on the boat or just a day at the beach.  In her free time she enjoys painting, traveling, teaching at art camps, and she also instructs a body flow class at Gold’s Gym.  Recently, her husband and she have been busy preparing for their new baby that will be coming January 22nd.  “It’s a girl, and we are trying to rearrange our house and tear walls down to make her bedroom.”  It is extremely exciting, but her students will miss her greatly while she is gone.


It is amazing when you see a person sharing their passion of what they do with the people around them.  Ms. Olander does what she loves, and it can’t get any better than that.  “I want my students to be passionate and excited about art just like I am.”


Reported by: Nicole Hebert