Monday, June 29, 2015

A New Beginning, a Tribute to David

It all started with a soul named David Tardif... a friend of mine from high school. He had cancer and fought it bravely until the end. He had an art therapist named Lisa Murray, who worked at Egleston Hospital (Children's Healthcare). This boy who was a star athlete and soccer player, found happiness in simple, tiny paintings and beaded necklaces when he was so sick that he could barely keep his head up. He would pull out these tiny paintings and show them to me... he also got into bead work and actually had thoughts and ideas for each various color. He would attach tiny things such as tiny plastic clothespins to the necklaces and give them away, brightening the day of whoever the lucky recipient was. He passed away my senior year, but has never left my heart.

I started volunteering at Camp Sunshine, a camp for children with cancer, and worked in the art room. I decided that I would rather be no place else than working with children. I went on and earned my Psychology degree and also a degree in Art Education. I knew that I wanted to work with small groups of children, discussing things with them through their art (an art therapist). The University of Georgia had just let go their art therapy program, so I chose to get the two other degrees. There were few and far between art therapy jobs, and the hours were long and the pay was short, so I went into the art room. I started working at Smokerise Elementary teaching "art on a cart" and eventually went to Snellville Middle and then to Jefferson Middle School. I have been there in the same art room since 2003! Jefferson has been a home to me, with all of the wonderful staff being my family. We have seen each other through thick and thin. I have taught families of students and have students who are now in their late twenties! I have loved each and every minute of it, watching the students to create and learn. Through my years there, I have gone on to earn my Masters in Ed Psych, my EdS in Educational Supervision, my Doctorate in Teaching and Learning, and also have gotten certified in Special Education, Math, and also ELL. I have known for years now that it was time to make a move towards administration and towards working mostly with students with special needs. 

The amazing staff at North Oconee High School has given me the opportunity to utilize my skills learned. I will be starting with North Oconee at the end of July and leaving the Jefferson art room. While I will miss everyone in Jefferson beyond words, I am beyond thrilled at this opportunity to spread my wings and take on new challenges. I will be co-teaching 11th grade math and science. I have worked with high school aged students in the past and truly look forward to working with this age group again. My two little boys and I will be moving to that area so that we can truly be involved in activities, our church, and the school. Thank you for all of your support for the past number of years. Thank you for all of the "junk" that you have brought to the art room, bottles, cups, newspaper, paints, etc. Thank you for stopping by to tell me how much your children have loved the class. Thank you for trusting me with your children. Thank you for allowing me to have a few moments of each day with your children. Thank you for everything. Please don't be a stranger... I'm on facebook at Shana Market Norton and you can also contact me via email at 

Best wishes and lots of love,
Dr. Shana Norton

And yes, from time to time, I am sure that I will share my thoughts on this blog... keep checking back. They might be thoughts on art, on child rearing, on Christianity, on IEP writing, on adaptive learning, who knows... Blessings! 

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