Mike Beuglass is about to encounter the second-biggest change in his career as an art teacher at Perkins Schools. The first came in the fall of 2013, when he moved from Furry Elementary School to Perkins High School. The next one comes in a few weeks.
Mr. Beuglass, the longest current serving teacher, is among five Perkins Schools teachers who will retire at the end of the 2022-2023 school year.
“It’s time to turn it over to someone who has a fresher focus,” Mr. Beuglass says.
His impact on students has been great. Many of his current art students were his students when he taught elementary art. Among the students who had him both in elementary school and high school is award-winning senior ceramics artist Aubriella Villarreal. She credits him with inspiring her at a young age to embrace and explore her creative “journey” into art.
Mr. Beuglass “has been by my side and watched me do my work,” Aubriella says. “He has always pushed me to do better.”
Mr. Beuglass started as an art teacher in 1986 at Furry. He acknowledges that at the time, he “was pretty terrified” to teach elementary students. With full support of the Furry staff, “I was able to do stuff that was pretty extraordinary,” Mr. Beuglass says.
With the help of many of his fellow teachers he helped to create the “land lab” in Furry’s courtyard, clay murals on the entry wall, and even at one time turned the art room into a jungle.
“Art helps younger children understand the world. They perceive emotions and relationships in art beyond their years,” Mr. Beuglass says.
Mr. Beuglass moved from Furry to PHS in 2013. He says, at that time, he felt it was time for a change and took advantage of the opening at PHS.
He has “loved 95 percent” of his career, Mr. Beuglass says. “I am where I am supposed to be and doing what I am supposed to be doing.”
One person who knows that first-hand is his colleague, PHS art teacher Donna Hensley.
“I’m going to miss our collaboration,” says Ms. Hensley, who started her career as a student-teacher with Mr. Beuglass. “I started with him, and he’s ending with me.”
She added that she expects him to return to PHS from time-to-time as a visiting artist.
Mr. Beuglass has no specific retirement plans just yet.
“I’m going to take six months and see what happens,” Mr. Beuglass says. “I know there is something coming – and it will involve art.”