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Exit Interview: Ms. Cassandra Pupovac

It is the end of the school year which means that we will soon have to say goodbye to a few of our favorite teachers. This year, 17 middle school teachers are leaving and over the next 15 school days, The Direct Message will post an ‘Exit Interview’ that we conducted with each of these educators.

Check out all the Exit Interviews by clicking here: Exit Interviews 


Ms. Cassandra Pupovac

Years at AES: 4 years: 2013-2017

Next Stop: Istanbul 

Course Taught: Art Exploratory, Mixed Media, Design, Ceramics, ASIAC Girl’s Basketball 

What will you miss most about AES?

The students.  The students at AES amazing me every day.  I’m always impressed with the level of work that they are able to create and the thinking that goes into some of their projects. I know it’s way beyond anything that I was doing with the arts in middle school. I will also miss the teachers here.  I have made so many close lifelong friends here.  It’s hard to leave an environment where I have made so many close friends and I get to see them every day. Working with so many smart and fun people is a real blessing in this world and I feel incredibly lucky to have had this rare opportunity.

What is the best part about being a teacher at AES?

Too many things I can’t decide. I feel like I am leaving AES a much better teacher than when I came in and maybe that is the best part about teaching here.  The growth in so many ways and for so many reasons. The students are awesome which means we can have fun conversations and create more interesting art. The teachers challenge me to be better all the time, plus they are all super fun. And lastly, the school provides me with resources to explore, learn, and expand my thinking on how to be a better teacher.

What are your plans for next year and what are your thoughts about this next step? 

I’m moving to Istanbul where I will be teaching grades 8,9 and 10 in media arts and visual arts.  I’m excited to be working with the media arts and doing more film and photography with my students next year. The media arts are growing more and more all the time as technology evolves.  It’s fun to see how younger students can be so incredibly innovative with the media arts when given just a few simple tools.

How do you hope your students and colleagues will remember you?

More than anything I hope that my students saw my room as a place where they could get lost in the creative process and just create for a little while. Getting deep into the creative process is my favorite thing to do and it always fills me up inside.  I hope that my classroom is a place where students can experience that same thing.

What message would you like to leave for the community at AES?

One of my favorite quotes is from artist Chuck Close who said: “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process” I love this quote because it is so true.  You can’t get anywhere without taking that first step. What I love about creating is the artistic process. The only way to start is by doing. The process is where the fun happens, discoveries take place, and ideas are fully realized. I don’t make art to hang it on my wall but because I love the process of creating it. The end product isn’t for me but my audience.  The process is all mine and it’s so exciting, even when it is challenging.


What the students had to say.


Ananya Balakrishnan, Grade 7

What will you remember about Ms. Pupovac?

I will always remember how Ms. Pup was really helpful and very responsive to whatever her students needed. She made sure to make us better at what we were doing, and helped us in every step of the way.

What is a funny or memorable story that you have about Ms. Pupovac?

On WOW, Ms. Pup was was my camp leader. She was really nice the whole time, but what I will remember is how she was always so fun around campfires. She also danced a lot, which was hilarious.

What makes Ms. Pupovac unique?

Ms. Pup is unique because of how funny she is and how much she loves what she does. I remember always being in awe of her creations throughout my Mixed Media and Ceramics classes. She was always very bright and sunshiney and that kind of spread through the classroom.

JiYun Chung, Grade 7

What will you remember about Ms. Pupovac?

I will remember about how she cared a lot about her students.

What is a funny or memorable story that you have about Ms. Pupovac?

I remember when she had a hard time making us concentrate on a topic, she understood and let us go.

What makes Ms. Pupovac unique?

Art makes Ms. Pupovac unique, because she is an art teacher.

Vedaa Kapur, Grade 7

What will you remember about Ms. Pupovac?

I will remember the music she plays for us while we work. Not many teachers do this, and it’s fun.

What is a funny or memorable story that you have about Ms. Pupovac?

I remember that she forgot to make us turn in our charcoal drawing even though it was supposed to be done. We got extra time.

What makes Ms. Pupovac unique?

She’s an art teacher. She teaches something fun.

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