Mrs. Birkan has taught art to all grades since 2004. She currently teaches kindergarten, first, fourth, fifth, and middle-school grade students at Gonzales and has been teaching at Gonzales since 2008. The first years of her teaching career were at a private K-8 school.
In 2016, Mrs. Birkan was awarded Middle School Teacher of the Year by the New Mexico Art Educators Association.
With a Bachelor's degree in Fine Art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an endorsement in Art, Mrs. Birkan has been a teacher since her children started school. Her children's teachers asked her to be a visiting artist and help in the classroom. Once she realized how much she liked facilitating art with kids, she went back to school and got her teacher's certification. Mrs. Birkan is passionate about children's art and is currently working towards her Masters in Art Education.
Born in Boston, Mrs. Birkan grew up on the north shore of Long Island- Port Jefferson, NY. Her husband was hired to design and build a house in Las Campanas, for an old friend from Turkey, so they came to Santa Fe to build the house 23 years ago and never left!
Over the last 9 years, Mrs. Birkan has written four grants and received around $4,000.00 to purchase architectural materials, 3D printing filament, a Maker's Laband a wood shop through Partners in Education and DonorsChoose.
In 2013, she recruited artist Jennifer McCarthy to build a giant nest at Gonzales with our middle school students and wrote an article about the nest for School Arts Magazine, April 2013.
Mrs. Birkan loves to go mushroom hunting in the summer and walk her dog in the arroyo (all year round!). She loves to walk on the beach and cook with her girls :)
She has two mostly grown daughters. One lives in NYC and is an artist/sculptor. The other daughter is in culinary school in Providence, RI and is studying to be a pastry chef.