Summer Odyssey concludes 16th year at Dominican

Dominican alumna Katy Bernheim knew when she was eight years old that she loved art. Now she is prepared to teach it at Dominican to children of the same age to make art a more memorable experience for them.

“It’s exciting and it’s challenging,” says Bernheim, who concluded her first year as an instructor in Dominican’s Summer Odyssey program July 25. “I’m anxious to help these students.  I want them to take away some skills that they can use to build and create other things in their life. Enrolling in Summer Odyssey tells me they are interested in doing art and taking it a step higher.”

Summer Odyssey is an innovative program designed specifically for academically gifted and creatively talented students in grades 2-9 from Marin County’s public and independent schools. Since it started on the Dominican campus in 1998, Summer Odyssey has enrolled thousands of children and averaged between 120-125 participants in each of the last five years.

Students are selected based on academic performance and creativity. Each course is age appropriate and curricula are activity based.

Bernheim, who has a BA in Religion and Art from Duke University, earned her multiple subject teaching credential from Dominican in 2011 and her single subject teaching credential in 2012. With Summer Odyssey, she is teaching a course called “Illustrate Your World.” Participants from grades 2-4 will make their own sketchbooks. They also explored the Dominican campus and observed flowers, plants, insects, animals and people – “whatever we could see” -- and used the experience as an inspiration to create dynamic, colorful, illustrated graphic narratives.

“I don’t remember my art classes in elementary school, but I do remember art classes later and it was one of my favorite subjects,” says Bernheim, who will teach middle school art at San Domenico School in the fall. “I want these students to have tools and skills and know that art is about experimenting. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time and most of the time it is not. The more you draw, the better you are going to get. It’s about practice.”

Bernheim, who comes from a family of teachers, has taught art at Terra Linda High School and with the Youth in Arts program at Neil Cummins School and Hall Middle School. That’s where she met Summer Odyssey director Ted Stoeckley. Bernheim also has taught a summer art camp in her home in San Anselmo and has exhibited her art throughout Northern California. She has been practicing art for more than 20 years and owns her own website:

Coming back to teach at Dominican is an honor.

“I wanted a school that would support me as a student. I knew being a local private institution they would support me,” Bernheim says. “In addition to teaching art to students, teaching at Summer Odyssey is a great opportunity to meet teachers in other schools and other districts and other specialties.”


For more information about Summer Odyssey, call 415-482-3549 or email [email protected]