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Faculty in Focus: Lynn Luster

Luster is Mount Vernon’s Ceramics Instructor and iProject Director, working primarily with Upper School Mustangs. This is Lynn’s third year at Mount Vernon, having previously taught both Art and Engineering across a multitude of settings; from private to public and Title 1 schools, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. While she focused exclusively on iProject upon joining MV, she also took on Ceramics instruction in late 2019, drawing on her own passion for and experience with this art

Lynn Luster

iProject is a self-directed study in design thinking and innovation. Projects are selected and led by students twice in their Upper School years unless they choose the path of Innovation Diploma. The course, described by Lynn as the most high-risk and high-reward experience, is unique and aims to foster critical thinking, problem-solving, and reasoning one’s way through challenges. It is an excellent opportunity to explore the freedom of thinking for nine weeks and, at the same time, build research and presentation skills.

While some students take a conservative and less creative approach to their projects, others fully embrace the opportunity to think critically beyond the well-defined academic curriculum. In 2019, just prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, a student passionate about epidemiology chose his iProject time to study the Ebola virus. With the help of the MVExpert network that connected him with a scientist at CDC, the young Mustang had the opportunity to attend that year’s CDC Epidemiology Conference. He subsequently authored a paper at the culmination of the project, which was accepted and ultimately published by Harvard Review.

Lynn is in her 21st year of teaching Art in its various forms, and she has also taught Engineering. She was drawn to Art in high school because her experience during the four years was highly rewarding and transformational. She especially appreciates that, while artists come in all shapes and sizes, they all respect the craft and each other. Interestingly, Lynn is equally passionate about design thinking and her mind has always been engineering-driven, perhaps thanks to her dad, who was an Engineer. She is fascinated by juxtapositions; in her art, this manifests in the use of traditional media material overlayed (or underlaid) with some type of mechanical or robotic component. Her latest project, ceramic house forms, and dress forms were born from the challenges of life during the pandemic; in her private studio, she explored internal vs. external life as well as the concept of a house as simultaneously a prison and a haven.

When not teaching or creating art, Lynn oversees the construction of a tiny house in her backyard, which she is elated about as it will provide a much-needed, separate space for her art studio. The MV community is fortunate to call such a gifted artist and an integrator of art, business, and engineering as one of its own.

Beginning 2022-23, Lynn will take on an even greater leadership role by becoming our first Upper School Connections Learning Architect. Similar to the way that Humanities and STEM learning architects coach faculty and align courses, Lynn will be able to use her vast knowledge of curriculum and pedagogical experience to help better align connections courses across Upper School. “Lynn is a model teacher and natural leader – I’m very excited to work with her as we take the quality of our curricular programs to the next level.” -Matt Neylon