Kelli Dornfeld

Kelli Dornfeld is an Art teacher and has been teaching at Pattonville for 31 years.


What is your favorite memory of teaching at Pattonville?

  • “My favorite memory/proudest moment in Pattonville is getting the Board to change their non-discrimination policy to include Gay and Lesbian teachers. We had a coalition of students, staff, parents, alumni and community members who all stood up together to demand the change. It was awesome to be a part of that group of old and young, Black and White and Brown, Gay and Straight people who believed Pattonville could do better and do the right thing.”


What’s the biggest impact you feel you left on the school?

  • “I believe that my impact is with individuals through the day to day interactions and the curricula I created for Graphic Design and Photography. It is fun to hear from former students about their successes in careers that my programs introduced them to. The extra curricular programs like GSA and SPEAK are part of my legacy. I am proud of my Social Justice work in Pattonville over the years and the support I gave my colleagues through the Pattonville National Education Association as a grievance chairperson for over 20 years.”


What made you want to teach?

  • “I like working with kids and with Art. I also firmly believe that a good education is the key to a strong democracy and rich life. It seemed like a natural step considering my interests.”


What’s the toughest part of teaching?

  • “The pandemic has really highlighted a lot of what is wrong with the profession. Our society expects too much of public schools and teachers without providing adequate support. It isn’t sustainable and we are seeing the burn-out effect. Some really hard working and talented teachers are leaving because they were not given adequate support.”


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