10 questions with … Krissi Oden


Sierra Bihon

Art teacher Krissi Oden previously worked in art museums before becoming a teacher.

Art teacher Krissi Oden sat down with Sierra Bihon to talk about life, love and breakfast burritos.

Describe your career and education.

I started in education in museums. So I worked in the education department at the Meadows Museum at SMU, and I worked at the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art. And then I worked at Big Thought, which is a non-profit art education organization for four years. And then after all of that, I taught in college for a couple of semesters and then I decided to move on to high school.

Why did you decide to apply for your position at Braswell?

I have always wanted to work in Denton ISD, because that’s where we live and that’s where my kids go to school. That’s where they’ve grown up. I love Denton. I love the school district. So I’ve been trying to get into Denton for awhile, and then when I heard [that] there was a new high school, I thought: How amazing! I just thought it would be really cool to start the art program from the ground up and watch it grow.

Where did you work before?

I worked at Alvord High School. It’s kind of by Decatur, in Alvord, Texas. And then before that, I worked in Dallas at Big Thought. Dallas schools are a lot different from Denton schools.They’re louder, they’re a lot older, and the populations we worked with are extremely low. A lot of those kids would come to school hungry. Many of them were taking care of their own brothers and sisters, so playing the parent role and a child role. It’s a lot different, but beautiful. The kids were amazing. The drive, not so much.

What is your favorite TV show?

‘Bob’s Burgers.’ It’s very witty, it’s very funny, and I love the art in it [because] it’s very cool. And [the show] reminds me of my family: That’s us. I would be Linda.

What is your family like?

Crazy. We’re blended, so my husband came with four kids, and I came with one and then we just had a baby together. She just turned a year [old]. Our kids range from ages 20 to 17 to 16 to 14 to 11 to 1. Our house never has a dull moment. They’re amazing kids. We’re just a big crazy happy family.

What is something you wish everyone knew about you?

I love breakfast burritos.

How was high school for you?

So boring; we didn’t have art, which totally sucked. So my parents would drive me an hour twice a week to a different town so [that] I could take art. I went to a really small high school. I mean, it was fun, and I had really good friends, and I had positive experiences, but I will never live in a small town again. Denton’s small enough.

What is on your playlist right now?

Ani Difranco is my all-time hero. I love her. So I always have Ani, Tori Amos, Blue October, Nirvana, The Pixies [and] Tegan and Sara. Those are my main ones.

Where is your favorite place to travel?

Italy. It’s beautiful, and I think the thing I fell in love with in Italy [is that] they just have such a strong culture, and they have this rich history, and they all have this love and respect for the art and the architecture and how it was created. One of the coolest things that I learned when I was there was when they erect new buildings or when they build new things, if they uncover any sort of art or anything that was built from the past, [they] either have to build somewhere else or [they] have to put glass over it. It can’t be moved or touched or anything because they have that respect for their art. That [is] awesome. That’s one of the main reasons I loved it, and they are so laid back and we are just so like “GO! GO! GO! GO! GO!” here. [Italians] know how to kind of sit back and just enjoy life a little bit more than we do.

What do you think others think of you?

I hope they see me as somebody who’s fair and kind-hearted and open-minded and just nice. I want to be somebody who people are very open to coming to and talking to and sharing their ideas with. And I always want my students to feel like my room is a safe space and a comfortable place to just be as creative and crazy as they need to.