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Success Stories

From Lunch Lady to Art Educator

Posted on October 10, 2014

Picture of Michele Kelly

Entering Michele Kelly’s art classroom at Spring Run Elementary School is like entering a rainbow.  The room – and Kelly herself – burst with color and pure joy.  Everywhere you look there is something interesting, colorful and inspirational to see, and Kelly moves quickly among the numerous art supplies, materials and books, chatting and laughing.

Clearly, Kelly is not the type of person who can sit at a desk all day, and it’s hard to image her as anything other than an art educator.  She is perfect for the role, and John Tyler Community College made it all possible.

When Kelly had been out of college for 24 years and her children were getting older, she felt the need for a change.  Art had always interested her, and with the help of a counselor at Tyler, she decided to enroll in the College’s art program. 

“I was intimidated when I started, but the faculty at Tyler – especially Mikell Brown and Colin Ferguson – took me in and treated me like family.  They encouraged me.”  As she moved through the art program at Tyler, Kelly considered a career in commercial arts, but faculty members encouraged her to consider art education.  “I was a lunch lady before I came to Tyler, so they knew I liked working with kids.  And, I knew I wanted a career where I could be with working with kids, doing great things.”

After completing her fine arts certificate at Tyler, Kelly transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).  When she graduated from VCU in 2008, Kelly earned her position at Spring Run, and she’s been happily splashing color around the school ever since.

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