The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Ivan Witenstein: Making the Most of His Year Ahead at WIS

Witenstein in the art classroom. (Martina Tognato Guaqueta/International Dateline)

He is an artist. His parents were artists. After being immersed in art all his life, he realized that art and a classroom went together hand in hand, and became an art teacher. 

Ivan Witenstein, the new Upper and Middle School Art Teacher, has been teaching for 21 years. He is the sabbatical replacement for Upper School Art Teacher Annette Zamula for the 2021-2022 school year, and hopes to make the most out of the time he has at WIS. 

He grew up in Philadelphia, then studied as an undergraduate at the Corcoran School for the Arts and Design in Washington, D.C. Witenstein continued his studies at the Yale School of Art and Architecture. 

Later, he lived in New York City to pursue his art career. After his time in New York, Witenstein was a professor and administrator at the Corcoran for over a decade. Most recently, he taught middle and upper school art at the Maret School, a private school just around the corner from WIS.

Story continues below advertisement

A highlight from his first few weeks at WIS has been watching and cheering on the soccer teams. He is looking forward to attending more sports events and rooting for the Red Devils.

“I’m excited to cheer for all of [the athletes] because its just this fun thing that I’m not involved with, but that I get to go celebrate,” he said. 

Witenstein has two children. He sometimes practices saxophone, though he is still a beginner. 

Much of Witenstein’s teaching style rests on his own creative pursuits. During lunch, Witenstein was found streaming music and working on a sculpture in the art classroom.

Gesturing to the sculpture, Witenstein said, “Well, as you can see, I really like to tie teaching to my own art making. Not a lot of teachers do that, but I always try to force what I’m doing into the studio.”

This practice keeps his art projects fresh and exciting, which is something he really enjoys about teaching.

“Creating an atmosphere where I’m learning as I’m teaching, and [students are] teaching as they’re learning, is really the best case scenario,” Witenstein said.

This is the first time Witenstein is working at an international school, and he’s excited about this new environment. In his first few weeks at WIS, he’s already noticed a difference in the students to those from Maret. “I don’t know how to put my finger on that difference exactly, but there’s a marked difference to the student population, and I’m finding it exciting,” he said.

Right now Witenstein is enjoying the challenge of getting his IB Art students on the right track, and he’s looking forward to the year ahead. 

“I love how seriously WIS takes art and that’s obviously largely due to the fact that it’s folded into the IB,” he said. “So it’s just a rich place to have students.” 

By Naomi Breuer

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Naomi Breuer
Naomi Breuer, Editor-in-Chief
I am Editor-in-Chief of Dateline this year. As a junior last year, I was a Publications Editor and Middle School News Advisor. As a sophomore, I was WIS News Editor, and Arts Editor as a freshman. Other than Dateline, I enjoy baking, playing guitar, biking and participating in Model UN.

Comments (0)

All International Dateline Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *