2023 ANNUAL FUND
Faculty Spotlight Series
Art and PE Department Head
28 Years at Willows Academy
At Willows, we’re blessed with teachers who are truly invested in our community over the long haul. Meet Michelle Morris, our Fine Arts and Physical Education Department Chair, who has been teaching at Willows Academy for almost eighteen years! Ms. Morris has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a focus in computer animation and architecture from the School of Art Institute of Chicago, along with a Masters in Art Education from Columbia College. She’s also trained in Montessori education, which encourages educators to look at students as whole human beings – a mission that goes hand-in-hand with Willows Academy.
Ms. Morris enjoys the small class sizes at WIllows and the opportunity to be part of young women’s lives, helping them grow in their artistic ability. When she’s not busy expanding the art classrooms, developing new projects, or perfecting the curriculum, Ms. Morris can often be found designing stained glass windows, mixed-media art, or jewelry. It’s no secret that she loves her students and her craft,—and at Willows, she gets to impart her creative knowledge every day!
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What attracted you to teach at Willows nearly 28 years ago?
The all-girls environment of Willows Academy drew me in. I want to support girls, watch them grow, and bring creativity into their lives. And as a product of the public school system, I was drawn to the private Catholic school system for the way it’s structured and the importance placed on creativity, curiosity, and innovation.
My students are graded on perseverance, communication, and willingness to take creative risks. The teachers and families here are extremely involved in the school and decision-making process, and that helps the school to move forward constantly. That isn’t the case with other schools.
What keeps you here all these years later?
I love the process of teaching and learning from my students. I try to bring in things that I’m excited about, and my students have gone into all different kinds of art – architecture, industrial design, photography, and jewelry design, to name a few. Because I’ve worked here for seventeen years, I’ve seen entire families grow up and really gotten to know them. They feel like friends.
Willows Academy is a really rewarding place to be!