Sam Garelick, art teacher who added new courses, moving to New York
June 7, 2023
Ms. Samantha Garelick, who fostered creativity in her many classes and also led Firehawks for Israel, will be leaving Shalhevet after this school year and moving to New York state with her family.
She joined Shalhevet in 2017, originally teaching a ninth-grade elective art class but slowly adding more courses. Now she teaches SAS Art and Honors Art History, a class which she added to Shalhevet, as well as all of the required art courses for freshmen and sophomores. She taught every art class this year.
Junior Rafael Kahen, who currently takes SAS Art and has had one of her classes every year at Shalhevet, enjoys Ms. Garelick’s flexibility in projects.
Even if you think you’re bad at art, there’s an artist within you, so figure out what it is.
— Ms. Samantha Garelick, Art Teacher
“She gives us a sense of freedom in her class,” said Rafael. “She lets us use our creativity in any project. She’s really flexible.”
Sophomore Eliana Davoudian said Ms. Garelick’s teaching style was unique.
“She doesn’t only say, ‘Okay, sit down and draw,’” Eliana said. “She actually teaches you step by step, and teaches you different aspects of art, and I got a whole new view of art I never had before.”
“No matter how good at art you are or bad at art you are, she just cares that you try your best,” Eliana said.
Rafael said Ms. Garelick taught him to learn from his mistakes.
“I learned that you’re always going to improve,” Rafael said. “ I learned that even if I mess up something, I can still improve it – in life and in art.”
Ms. Garelick will be moving to Syracuse, New York, where her husband runs the movie studio American High. She does not immediately plan on teaching art.
“I want to take my time to get my family adjusted,” said Ms. Garelick, whose children range in age from seven to 13. “I absolutely love teaching, so who knows what the future will bring.”
Ms. Garelick, known to students as Sam, said she’s enjoyed watching her students improve in her classes.
“I‘d say in general I just love getting to know my students as freshmen, and working with them throughout their four years and seeing how they grow and change and helping guide them,” she said.
She doesn’t only say, ‘Okay, sit down and draw,’ she actually teaches you step by step, and teaches you different aspects of art.
— Eliana Davoudian, 10th Grade
One of her favorite memories was when the Shalhevet staff became one of the teams for an unofficial “color war” in 2021 because the majority of seniors were sick.
“The entire senior class got Covid so and they couldn’t participate, so together as a faculty, right before the last day, we decided we were going to come in and make sure Color War could still happen,” she said. “We joined a faculty team, we joined up with the seniors so that the rest of the school could still participate in Color War.”
Ms. Garelick was very close with former art teacher Roen Salem z”l, and it was Roen who brought her to Shalhevet after working with her for many years at Camp Ramah in Ojai.
“Roen was one of my closest friends, and I learned everything I know about teaching art from Roen,” Ms. Garelick said. “I learned about how to teach with passion and joy.”
Like Roen, she wants every student to be inspired by art and believes everyone has artistic potential.
“Even if you think you’re bad at art, there’s an artist within you, so figure out what it is,” Ms. Garelick said.
She also has always had a passion for Israel and was the faculty advisor for Shalhevet’s pro-Israel club, Firehawks for Israel.
“Prior to working at Shalhevet, I had been very involved in AIPAC and pro-Israel politics, and I was really honored when Rabbi Block asked me to take on the faculty role for Firehawks for Israel,” she said.
Next year’s Honors Art History class will be taught by English teacher Ms. Verity Weisz, she said, and new teachers will teach the underclass and SAS art classes: Ms. Rona Karp, and artist and former Shalhevet Tanach teacher Ms. Ruthie Skaist.