After over four decades of teaching, Dr. Cindy Bixler Borgmann retired this spring.
This year marks Borgmann's 41st year at Herron School of Art and Design. She has been constant throughout the history of our art education program and trained generations of students to teach visual arts in every kind of school – in the urban, rural, suburban, private, and public spheres.
"In her passionate work in the field, she has developed one of the most dynamic programs in the state, creating a vast network of arts educators across our community," said Jeanne Nemeth, her colleague of 11 years. "She has been a tireless and visionary leader, encouraging and guiding students, instilling them with the confidence and conviction that art can make a difference in the lives of young people."
We asked Borgmann to reflect on her many years of service — and share how she plans to spend her time after teaching.
HERRON: What would you like to share about your teaching career?
BORGMANN: Herron has always been a mecca for creative activity. This career of 40 years has been a terrific one. I loved coming to work every day. In what kind of world do you get paid for creative play and working with your hands? I had the privilege of sharing my time with students and such talented peers in my program and at Herron and the IU School of Education at IUPUI. And I've had the opportunity to work with incredible teachers in this field.
HERRON: What changes have you seen within the program?
BORGMANN: When I started teaching at Herron, it was unheard of to send students into the field until their final semester. Early on, I was fortunate to find a kindred spirit, Carol Wessel, the Washington Township art supervisor, and a crew of incredible art teachers who opened their art classrooms to my students for their practicum experience.
Today, thanks to my colleague, Jeanne Nemeth, all of the K-12 schools in Washington Township are participating in the reciprocal programming with Herron throughout the year. It has been a rich learning environment for all involved.
HERRON: What makes teaching so rewarding?
BORGMANN: It's the students. It's always the students. Teaching is a career of service. And nothing is more challenging or worthy than service to youth. I can't think of a better way to spend a life.
Teachers are heroes, I think. Out in the trenches, constantly working in the service of our youth. Public school teaching has changed. Teacher demands have become more complex and time consuming – yet our teachers continue to create ways to embrace complexity.