Verde Valley Educator of the Week: Tasili Epperson
COTTONWOOD – Because she attended Mingus Union, she now teaches. At Mingus Union.
Maybe that’s an oversimplification of the facts. But Tasili Epperson says her experience as a student had a “big impact on my desire to become an educator.”
“I had incredible teachers who pushed me to challenge myself and to grow as a person,” says Epperson, the school’s beginning art teacher and yearbook adviser. “A combination of my experience in high school, becoming a new mother, and having a family filled with teachers all encouraged me to pursue being an educator.”
Says Mingus Union Principal Genie Gee, the school treats art as an academic subject, and Epperson is “able to teach the mechanics as well as the emotional aspect of art in a very powerful manner.”
“She has a calm and consistent presence and encourages students to stretch themselves and achieve works of art that they believed were out of reach,” Gee says. “There is a special pride when a student creates an original piece of art that reflects who they are. Tasili helps students get there.”
What does Epperson like most about teaching?
“I love seeing students draw connections, move past challenges and witness their own growth and learning,” she says. “I really enjoy seeing students develop their artistic skills, critical thinking and creative expression.”
“I practice Project Based Learning in my art classes. Students gain knowledge and skills by working to solve problems through extended drawing assignments. Students work through their assignments and are able to clearly see their growth.”
In 2013, Epperson graduated Summa Cum Laude from Arizona State University with a Bachelors of Fine Art. Besides teaching, Epperson is a practicing artist and has been in a variety of group and solo exhibitions throughout Arizona.
“It’s always such an honor to have a former student return to teach at the school from which they graduated,” says Mingus Union Principal Genie Gee. “Tasili Epperson did just that, and we couldn’t be happier.”
DID YOU KNOW?
I’m an alumni of MUHS and the MUHS art program. I graduated from Mingus in 2009 and took all of the art classes I could, from beginning through AP with lots of photography in between. Because of my experience in the art program, I decided I wanted to go to college and study art.