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Alumni Profile: Erin Maday, GPS Class of 1993

Since she was a child, Erin Maday always knew she would be an artist, the only question was what kind of artist she would be. In her adult life, as a graphic designer in the corporate world and then an elementary school art teacher, Maday attributes her success as a creator to the hours spent within Grosse Pointe art rooms. 

From her days at Maire Elementary, to Pierce Middle School, and eventually South High School during the 90s, Maday made sure to incorporate art into her schedule if not already included, giving her the creative outlet that she sought.

“I get a lot of peace and success through creating with art,” Maday said. “That was always kind of the beginning of it– and every year, whatever extra electives I could add in were always an art class– luckily I had a little niche to fit into, because some kids don't.” 

Having  found her niche, Maday made sure to learn all aspects of her craft thanks to the guidance of high school mentors at South such as Jack Summers, Gene Pluhar and Barb Gruenwald.

 “[Art] was something that I could do pretty well,” Maday said. “And I was interested in learning as much as I could in every subject. I took photography, drawing and painting, and ceramics. Those teachers back in the 90s [were] just super influential.”

After graduating from South in ‘93 and eventually Wayne State University with a Bachelors of Fine arts in graphic design, Maday became Flagstar Bank’s Art and Creative Director in Marketing which left her wanting more.

“I worked for Flagstar Bank at their corporate headquarters for about five or six years. I was doing well at it, but sitting in a cubicle was not very fulfilling. I liked the opportunity of elementary art because it gave me the outlet of creativity.”

Finally having found a career where she can both express herself and encourage young minds to do the same, Maday went to the College of Creative Studies at night in order to make her dream a reality. 

“Luckily, Grosse Pointe was hiring,” Maday said. “They had an opening here at Kerby, I could basically interview and once I was offered the job, it was a no brainer. It's totally stressful in different ways as a teacher– but it's so much better than working with adults.”

As an educator, Maday took influences from her experiences in Grosse Pointe art rooms and created lesson plans that show the interconnectedness between art and all other subjects.

“I teach elementary, so the littles get a kick out of seeing those connections,” Maday said. “When they come to me, I don't know how successful they are in their classroom, they may be struggling, and two levels behind in reading, but I wouldn't know it because they're excelling in here. So any chance I get to give them an experience of success.”

As she reflects on her own career, Maday urges those who want to follow a similar career to do it despite the immediate stress that it may cause.

“If you're passionate about it, then all the other stuff doesn't matter in the long run,” Maday said. “The red tape, the headaches, the stress, if you are passionate about teaching, and you want to work with students, then do it, if that's what you really want.”

Having been teaching for over 10 years and experiencing the ups and downs that come with the career, according to Maday, the kids and the legacy she leaves make it worthwhile. 

“God forbid, I die tomorrow, I feel like I might have had a good impression on some of my students,” Maday said. “And hopefully, if they had a bad day, they enjoyed coming into my classroom and making things with me.”


Do You Know Someone We Should Profile?

To celebrate the first 100 years of educational excellence at Grosse Pointe Public Schools, student writers in Grosse Pointe North’s journalism classes are partnering with Grosse Pointe Alumni and Friends to profile alumni from our illustrious first century.  

Are you or someone you know interested in being profiled in a story that will be distributed district-wide across various social media and school news platforms?

Start by nominating yourself or someone you know here.

Be sure to check out the latest edition of GPPSS student newspapers, North Pointe Now, and The Tower Pulse.


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