We Are Crew, Not Passengers!

Kaitlyn Birdsall-thomas

About Me

What inspired you to get into the field of education?: 

I became an educator because I love working with students, connecting with them, watching them make connections to their learning, and helping them grow. When I was a child, learning wasn't easy for me, and it was thanks to dedicated, patient teachers who took time to teach the way I could learn that I was able to overcome obstacles and be successful in education. Art was always a way for me to communicate, and I am so glad to give students a venue to express themselves and explore new ways of thinking. 

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?: 

I love when a student is so excited to share their work with others because they are proud of what they've produced. 

General background information (years in education, degree(s), Universities/Colleges attended): 

I grew up in Fort Collins and attended Rocky Mountain High School. Once I graduated High School in 2006, I attended CSU and received a BA in Art History and a BFA in Painting. I had taken education classes and always intended on being a teacher, but I wanted more hands-on experience, so I took a year off to do an Americorp Program called City Year, where I mentored at-risk youth and worked in a school in Montbello area of Denver. After this year of experience, I attended CSU to finish off my certification in Art Education. 

I worked in a rural school for 5 years, commuting from Fort Collins all the way to New Raymer, Colorado. While working there, I also got my Master's in Literacy Education, becoming certified as a k-8 reading instructor. 

I am now on my 5th year at Polaris, and I love my Penguin family!


I love watercolor painting and I illustrate children's books!

I also very much enjoy playing video games and board games with friends. My current favorite games are Animal Crossing, Beat Saber, and Horizon Zero Dawn.

I am obsessed with Studio Ghibli movies. 

I enjoy spending time in nature, either gardening, taking nature walks and hikes, or kayaking in Horsetooth. 

My pets include two cats named Kiki and Chell, and a corgi named Butterscotch. 

I have an adorable 2 year old daughter named Willow :)

Thought Provoking Quote: 

"I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people" - Vincent Van Gogh

My Classroom

Courses Taught: 

Elementary Art:

  • Kindergarten, Wednesday @ 10:30
  • 1st grade, Monday @ 10:30
  • Brittany's 2nd/3rd grade class, Thursdays @ 10:30
  • Tamara's 2nd/3rd grade class, Tuesdays @ 10:30
  • Tom's 4th/5th grade class, Mondays @ 1:00
  • Alicia's 4th/5th grade class, Tuesdays @ 1:00

Middle School Classes:

  • MS Art: This class will help develop student observational drawing skills, painting, and clay- we will dabble in all different types of art!
  • MS Photo: This class will cover basic photography skills, give hands on experience in photoshop, and give opportunities for sharing and building an art community. 
  • MS Digital Design: This class will cover different graphic design activities including logo design, character design, and utilizing adobe programs.


  • HS Photo I: This class will focus on photography basics, give more hands on experience with DSLR cameras and studio lights, editing using Photoshop, and producing a quality digital portfolio.
  • Creative Photography: (PHOTO I MS/HS REQUIRED) This class will focus on expanding photography knowledge through challenges, pushing them to try new Photoshop challenges, and introducing them to famous artists. Students will produce a high quality digital portfolio, interact with working photographers, and develop an art community.
  • Advanced Photography: This class will give more creative reign to students - they will create a portfolio with their interests and focus in mind, with demonstrations and prompts tailored to their vision. Students will get guest photographers to come in to discuss their experiences and give workshops to students. Students will present their digital portfolios to a panel of guest photographers. This is an INDEPENDENT photo class that happens concurrently with other classes.
  • Yearbook

About My Classroom: 

For information about elementary, please check out the Polaris WOW artwork here:  (coming soon)

For information about Middle School and High School classes, please refer to Google classroom.

Check out Photography work on instagram https://www.instagram.com/polarisschoolphotography/ 

PSD does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, veteran status, age or disability in access or admission to, or treatment or employment in, its programs or activities. A lack of English speaking skills will not be a barrier to admission or participation.