Maxine Breland (formerly Yablonsky) is excited that she joined the Visual Art Staff at Orange High School in September 2006 where she began teaching Ceramics classes. She continues to look forward to sharing her talents and skills with her students.
Ms. Breland was born in Newark, NJ, where she attended elementary school until moving to Millburn, NJ where she finished her studies and graduated from Millburn High School. She continued her education at Montclair State University receiving a B.A. degree in Arts Education. Ms. Breland continued on to graduate studies at Rutgers Graduate School of Education where she received an ED.M. degree in Creative Arts Education.
Ms. Breland is both a professional artist and an art teacher. She most recently taught Animation at Columbia High School in the South Orange/Maplewood School District. Before that, Ms. Breland was living in Placitas, New Mexico where she taught art courses at the New Futures High School, a school designed to assist young mothers and pregnant teenagers complete their high school education in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Ms. Breland also had a long career in the New Jersey community of South Brunswick, teaching at both the elementary and high school levels. While teaching at the elementary level, she trained to become a Lincoln Center teacher. This allowed her students the opportunity to experience the visual and performing arts through the eyes of the artists and develop their skills in becoming an educated audience. This was a position that she continued during her high school teaching years. Her pride in her students' art achievements led her to develop a connection with the local library in order to publicly display the students' outstanding art work. Each show lasted a month and contained hundreds of pieces of student work. Ms. Breland also led her elementary school in a tribute to Dr. Seuss, creating a student designed quilt representing many of his books which is the centerpiece of the school's entryway.
During her tenure at the high school, Ms. Breland was awarded several grants to attend workshops extending her knowledge in a multitude of media. In one of her grants she worked with a sculptor, Don Kennell, who assisted her and her students in a clay relief wall piece that adorns the high school entryway. She developed a number of courses which expanded the programs offered at the school, including sculpture, ceramics and fiber. Each year she would take her students on a field trip to the Seward Johnson Atelier where they were able to observe the process involved in creating bronze sculptures and to witness a pouring of the metals. Afterwards, her students were given an opportunity to explore the finished bronze sculptures at the Grounds for Sculpture.
Ms. Breland has also taught at Middlesex County College in both the art and education departments.
Ms. Breland loves to teach art and to open her students' minds to the many creative possibilities in problem solving. Presenting a lesson and observing the multitude of individualized responses from the students is such an exciting experience for both the students and herself.