Airdremaliz Ortiz Alers and Stephanie Toro Capó
Airdremaliz Ortiz Alers
Position: Elementary School Art Teacher
Universities & Grades: BA in Communications with a major in Visual Arts and a minor in Education
Universidad del Sagrado Corazón
Before working at Robinson, Air worked in different roles in the Arts and Communications worlds. She finished her practice, and then worked for a while as Communications Officer for Fundación Dr. García Rinaldi. She had been working in the public school system for 7 years when she was offered the position as Education Coordinator for the temporary Museo de Arte de Ponce museum, MAP@Plaza, during the museum’s renovations. When MAP@Plaza eventually closed, she decided that she wanted to return to teaching.
When she arrived at Robinson, she worked diligently and quickly to align the art curriculum with IB PYP by integrating international, as well as local artists into her classroom activities. During her relatively short time here, she has developed an outdoor painting after-school program with students and, this year, she began coordinating an after-school program for moms. She loves collaborating on different projects around school wherever she’s needed. She helped create the stage and set design for different musicals and activities, including the Reading for the Record activity, the Annie Musical and the Mary Poppins Musical.
Miss Air loves everything about Robinson. “The colonial floors, our 155 year historic building, and especially, the people. Everybody cares, communication is excellent, and the sensibility is obvious. Our mission is not just written, we live by it.” Air loves to integrate other classes with her art, “Sometimes they are learning body parts in Science class so I have them make sculptures of different organs.” She thinks that our students live the IB learner profiles and that it shows in the art they make. “They are always developing their creativity, engaging and thinking about how to solve certain problems with art.”
Miss Air is constantly engaged–reaching out to the community and inviting them to Robinson. In her latest student exhibit, From El Greco to Picasso Art Exhibit, elementary students the most influential Spanish artists and styles from late 19th and early 20th centuries. Air invited Nayadeth Arcadia, Flamenco and Spanish dance professor at Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico, along with her best students to kick of this spectacular event with beautiful costumes and performances before opening the exhibit.
Miss Air is married with two kids and her favorite thing in the world is spending time with her family and friends. She is a photography aficionado, and likes taking road trips around the island. She enjoys music, museums, galleries, coffee, and when she has time, reading.
Stephanie Toro Capó
Position: Elementary School Art teacher
Universities and Grades: BA in Visual Arts with a minor in Education from Universidad del Sagrado Corazón
Before Robinson, Stephanie dedicated her life to ballet. When she was 15 years old, she started as a ballet teacher’s assistant. She quickly moved up to teacher and stayed that way until she was 23 years old. When she graduated college she started working as an art teacher in a small center called EDUCARTE. She soon found out that there was a position available at Robinson as substitute teacher. She had heard so many great things about this school, she raced to apply. She started working as a substitute art teacher. Then, she was assigned the position of second grade teacher’s assistant. This year, she got her dream job, art teacher! She teaches preschool and first grade. She also works as a teacher’s aide for first grade.
She truly believes that art is therapy. “Everyone can go two ways in life, the good way or the bad way. Art serves as a tool that takes students towards the good way.” She uses art as a reward for students. She uses drawing and painting as a fun reward after students concentrate and complete their work other kinds of academic work. Art is a way for students to express their feelings. “I believe all my students are artists and every artist is different, so that’s what I always tell them. Each work is important and beautiful and they know to respect that.”
Her most recent project has her young students collaborating with the “older” students from elementary in the From El Greco to Picasso Art Exhibit which closes on Friday, December 15. This collaboration has also strengthened her personal and professional relationship with her fellow teacher, Airdremaliz Ortiz.
She loves the peaceful and positive environment of Robinson School. “Students care about each other and they respect one another,” she shared. She has felt nothing but support since she started working here. She greatly appreciates that balance is a big part of school life here.
Outside of work she enjoys making jewelry! She loves photography, nature, reading online articles, and watching historical series. One of her dreams is to write a short story and illustrate it herself, she also plans to keep studying to complete her master’s degree.