Ms. Naambia Mitchell: On the Fast Track to a Promising Future

Ms. Naambia Mitchell

Ms. Naambia Mitchell

Branden Aranda, Arts and Entertainment Editor

She wasted no time in pursuing a career in the arts. Ms. Naambia Mitchell joined Northside last year originally taking a temporary position during remote learning, but now teaches Drawing and Painting and Art 1 permanently.

Ms. Mitchell’s father was an artist. “My childhood was filled with art shows and ‘we’re gonna go to this art gallery this weekend, we’re gonna go to this workshop, we’re gonna go to this and that,’” she said. She was inspired to pursue the arts but didn’t think too much about it as a career until high school. When she took the experimental animation program through After School Matters, she realized art could be a career, not just a hobby.

Her classroom is filled with pencils, markers, pastels, and acrylic paint put away in labeled shelves and neatly kept closets. Ms. Mitchell is lively and full of enthusiasm and eagerness as she starts off the school year. 

Ms. Mitchell graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2019. She later taught a semester at Willowbrook High School, and a semester at Hill Middle School. Finally, she was at Jones College Preparatory High School from April of 2020 before joining Northside. She was looking for a temporary position at the time and, because of networking through her former professor Mr. Jorge Lucero and Ms. Joanne Minyo of the Northside fine arts department, she found a position here.

Although she is new to the school building, Ms. Mitchell says she still feels she has been welcomed with open arms. “Northside makes you feel like it’s a big family in a really nice way,” she said. “I never felt like I was an outsider.”

Ms. Mitchell’s classroom (Photo by Branden Aranda)

During remote learning, “I still had to have my personality projected to all the students because they see me every day but [they] really didn’t get a chance to respond much because they were usually having their microphones and cameras off,” she said. 

Ms. Mitchell said that since teaching in person, she has been able to build  relationships with her colleagues and connect on a much deeper level with her students. “Having them in the room is really nice and I get to see even the small bits of their personality,” she said. Regarding her colleagues, “Instead of simply emailing somebody, I might walk down to their office and go talk to them just because I miss having that human contact.”

Ms. Mitchell also loves the block schedule because it allows more time for the art creating process, and she does not have to rush through an opener and agenda. In other schools that she has been part of, her classes were about an hour long and did not allow as much time to work and focus on the art.

Bringing in new ideas and a fresh personality, Ms. Mitchell is already building a safe and enjoyable environment for her students, and she is building relationships with her colleagues. Ms. Mitchell says that she is in her “dream school” and is looking forward to the new experiences she will have here at Northside.