Getting to Know: Mrs. Maria Fleming
Mrs. Fleming shares that she was drawn to Saint Mark’s because of its diversity. “My son was entering kindergarten. I desired a school environment where people looked like my family, and Saint Mark’s had a fairly good mix of everyone. Years later, Saint Mark’s is a school that is still at the forefront of inclusivity,” says Maria.Besides getting to know her students, Maria hopes to challenge their thinking and the limits they place upon themselves.
What attracted you to Saint Mark’s? What has been a highlight so far?
I was attracted to Saint Mark’s by its diversity. My son (who graduated from college several years ago) was entering kindergarten. I desired a school environment where people looked like my family and St. Mark’s had a fairly good mix of everyone. Years later, Saint Mark’s is a private school that is still at the forefront of inclusivity.
Highlights: Being able to teach art to all of our students, kindergarten to sixth grade. I absolutely love it!
What are you looking forward to this year?
Besides getting to know our students, I’d also like to see them stretch artistically speaking. Challenge their thinking and the limits they place upon themselves.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy shopping—even on-line which makes it way too easy. Going to the movies, dining out with friends and strolling through museums and art galleries make for great weekend fun. I love vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard but also enjoy long car drives to Malibu or Long Beach. I think it’s a treat leftover from my childhood.
What book are you currently reading? What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
What can I say—I adore romance novels and some suspense books. I recently finished the Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman. A story set on the tropical island of St. Thomas about the woman who gave birth to the father of Impressionism, Camille Pissaro.
Why did you get into the field of teaching? What do you enjoy most about being a teacher?
My mother was an English teacher who had a phenomenal connection with students. She was inspiring.
Not only do I enjoy connecting with the students but I also cherish the personal relationships with my friends/co-workers. We’ve got a great group here and our friendships carry outside of school. Our SM family really cares and is always willing and ready to lend an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on if necessary.
Share a little known fact about you, something that we might not find on your resume.
I once spent the night at the Minneapolis airport in order to win airline tickets to any U.S. destination. I had to jump into a wading pool filled with peanuts to find the winning entry. Yes, I was successful.
What is your favorite food? Your favorite color? Why?
That’s easy. Hamburgers. LOVE THEM!
Favorite color—several. Turquoise, gold, and purple. Turquoise reminds me of the tropics and summer. Purple and gold are colors of royalty and I’m a Leo. What can I say.
Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up?
Born in Texas, grew up in Minneapolis, MN. Yes, I’m a Vikings football fan. Used to sit out in an open stadium in the freezing cold. Graduated from Macalester College. Been married almost 35 years to Kevin Fleming.
Who is your biggest role model?
My mother who passed away in 1989 and now my older sisters. My sister Coventry recently co-founded the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum. It’s been wildly successful. My sister Daryl is an accomplished painter and had an art showing in Paris. They are impressive.
What do you hope your students will learn from their time in your class?
To have fun. Be less critical of themselves. Learn there is no limit to creativity.
What is your favorite quote or saying? Why?
Honestly…I have too many of them to recount.