Despite the economic budget cuts occurring in education, especially in art programs, Sandie Swierzynski experiences the joy of teaching visual arts at Rancho High School while painting in her personal time.

(Photo courtesy of Sandie Swierzynski)

(Photo courtesy of Sandie Swierzynski)

“I paint in water media with water colors and tempra. I also paint in oils,” she said. Swierzynski is also a cancer survivor who, after a hiatus, has recently returned to her artwork.

She first obtained a Bachelor’s of Arts with a dual major in Art and English. After receiving her undergraduate degree, Swierzynski worked in the medical field as an x-ray and MRI technician for 10 years while living on the East Coast. When she moved to the Southwest, the towns were located so far apart that she worked as a temporary technician instead of accepting a full-time position in a hospital.

Her husband worked as a teacher and that influenced her to switch career paths. Swierzynski decided to pursue a degree in education and obtained a Master’s of Arts in Teaching and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

“I did my student teaching in English (in New Mexico),” Swierzynski said. “When I completed my student teaching, a job for art came up; I accepted it and I never looked back. Fortunately, because I had a dual bachelor’s degree in both areas, I could teach in either one and I love teaching art.”

“My education has helped with my salary level,” she explained. “There was a big difference between obtaining my first master’s and then obtaining my second master’s in the pay scale. I feel that by going back and getting more education, I have paid my dues in a sense and it also helped me get a better job in the field of education, especially in art.”

According to Swierzynski, regardless of the career path, one can earn more money by pursuing a higher education as well as opportunities for advancement.

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed do not reflect those of the Clark County School District or Rancho High School.

Debbie Hall is practically a Las Vegas native (34 years and counting) and loves experiencing everything in Southern Nevada from the Las Vegas Strip to the surrounding mountains and Lake Mead. She also teaches at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and loves sharing her knowledge. Her work can be found on


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