Art teacher Peggy Dunsworth draws her last stroke on high school education


Reese Berry

Laughing with art student and senior Kristin Priest, art teacher Peggy Dunsworth advises her Drawing 2 class on their final projects. Dunsworth has been teaching within the Parkway District for more than 31 years. “We get to the next level in our work by being inspired to make an artistic statement,” Dunsworth said. “I have been a learner since high school. I craved the critique and I always wanted suggestions.”

Reese Berry, Convergent Media Writer

After dedicating 31 years of service to the Parkway School District, art teacher Peggy Dunsworth is drawing an end to her career as a high school Painting and Drawing teacher.

“Students have ideas of how they are creating art, and I need to try to get into their head to help guide it,” Dunsworth said. “I listen to their explanation and get more details from them by asking solid questions. An artist shows you what they see in the world and what they are experiencing.”

In class, Dunsworth worked to push and challenge herself alongside her students.

“Artists want to stop the viewer in their tracks. We want you to pause and look at what we have to say. To do that, we need the pop and the contrast. We need to make a statement to be interesting and valuable,” Dunsworth said.

In order to accomplish this, Dunsworth assigns open-ended projects to give her higher level students creative liberty.

“Teaching high school is more of a mental challenge for students and myself, especially at the AP level. I just say ‘we’re doing mixed media’ and nothing more, and they have to come up with [their projects] on their own,” Dunsworth said. “I really get to know the students on a whole other level in high school art, it’s forever changing.”

Despite her masters degree in art education, Dunsworth strives to learn more from her peers.

“I was introduced to new things by college art professors who helped me expand my ways of teaching students, which really helped me become a better artist myself; to judge and evaluate my students better,” Dunsworth said. “I have had many, many professors that have given me suggestions and feedback. I also am open to feedback about my art from art professors that I have met through college board.”  

After retiring, Dunsworth plans on furthering her own art career as well as helping other teachers develop a passion for theirs.

“The College Board has hired me to be a teacher of teachers. I’m going to go across the United States and train teachers, like me, who have high school AP classes,” Dunsworth said. “But I would love to do more of my own artwork as well.”