Staff Spotlight: Jessica Mittelman
Staff Spotlight: Jessica Mittelman


Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Subject Taught: Elementary Art

What or who inspired you to get into education?

I was homeschooled from 4th-8th grade and grew up teaching my younger sisters.

Where did you teach before arriving in Cayman?

I taught in Uganda, Switzerland, and Pittsburgh before moving here.

Ms. Jess in Switzerland

What attracted you to Grand Cayman and CIS?

I love warm weather and friendly people and wanted to be a little closer to the US since my siblings are starting to raise sweet little nieces and nephews for me to visit!

What advice would you give to people just moving to Cayman?

Get involved in new activities and sports! There is quite a lot to do here if you're willing to look around a bit.

You are a featured artist in this month's festival, Kaaboo. Tell us about your artwork being showcased and the inspiration behind it.

People are so beautiful and fascinating to me. I've been taking photographs of people around the world for years now. When the chance to participate in KAABOO came up, I submitted photography exclusively from my time in the Caribbean! Those photos will be sold as magnets and cards in the 3 Girls & a Kiln booth. My gallery space is two large multi-media pieces that have been inspired by my new love of scuba diving! One piece is made up of small buoys that were part of the ghost net that some of the CIS students helped take apart after the DoE collected it from our sea!

Ms. Jess in Uganda

In addition to being an amazing art teacher, you are a leader in CIS's sustainability initiative. How can the rest of the CIS community contribute in a meaningful way?

So many ways! We are collecting clean dry plastics to use in   (as well as collecting Gatorade bottles to use for eco-bricks!) We'll be putting on a fundraiser soon in which we're selling eco-friendly products that will help us continue to change the CIS community for the better. From bamboo utensils and toothbrushes to reusable snack bags and compostable floss, we'll be providing the products that are small, easy changes in everyone's day to day routines! And get ready for Saturday, March 23rd's amazing Bottle Cap Day!

If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?

Electric guitar.

If you could impart just one lesson to students, what would it be and why?

Be light with your mistakes. It's hard to try and fail, so learning to be playful with the whole process of growing is very helpful in developing grit and a growth mindset.