The Art Teacher

Mr. Di Rado shares his creative spirit


Erielle Amboy

Art Director Mr. Di Rado, standing in the Abington High School Library Media Center in November of 2016.

Erielle Amboy, Contributor

Mr. Di Rado is the art director for Abington Public Schools. He also teaches art and critical thinking and design at the Frolio Middle School. He has been teaching in Abington for 20 years, and has been a teacher for 24. He also taught two years in Boston and two years in New York. Before he was a teacher he supported himself as an artist by working in restaurants, in construction, as a trucker, and as an art assistant for Al Held, a famous artist.

Before that, Mr. Di Rado majored in fine arts and painting at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston and the Pratt Institute in New York City. He decided to become an art teacher so he could work with students and share his love for art.

Every day is different. I like working with a variety of students with unique personalities, especially if they work hard, and have grit and tenacity.

— Mr. Di Rado

For the first two months, he did not like teaching, did not think he was very good at it and almost quit. But, his supervisor convinced him to stay, and he is grateful that he did. “It was the best advice I was ever given, because I learned that I really love teaching and working with students,” said Mr. Di Rado.  He enjoys working with students who are excited about lessons, and especially likes helping students work through difficult problems. “Every day is different. I like working with a variety of students with unique personalities, especially if they work hard, and have grit and tenacity,” said Mr. Di Rado.

At the high school level, Abington offers classes that help prepare students interested in attending art colleges, especially that help them develop strong portfolios, which he states is “a very important part of the application process.” Classes like drawing and painting, sculpture, digital art and photography, graphic and digital design, animation and studio art are offered. They help students focus on the areas where their interests and talents lie. Students may also join or contribute work to the Student Art Magazine (SAM). SAM accepts both artistic and written creations. It is an after school, co-curricular club and art teacher Mrs. Poirier is the adviser.

Mr. Di Rado is very excited for the new technologies and proximity that the new combined middle and high school will offer. He sees greater opportunity for the teachers from both schools to collaborate.

Outside of school, Mr. Di Rado is a creative person who is always working on something. He paints landscapes, holds occasional art shows and sells a “painting or two” every once in a while. He loves spending time with his “college-aged kids,” and loves to travel, especially to Italy. His favorite artist is Leonardo Da Vinci because he is an inventor, engineer and artist.

Mr. Di Rado also plays the guitar. After taking many years off, he started playing again when his son became interested in guitar. He says he likes music and art equally because they are both hands on activities. He is in a band called the Assisted Living Band, and also the “world famous Frolio teacher band.” It is appropriately named Staff Infection, and also features Mr. Blanchette, Mr. Campbell, Mr. DiPrizio and Mr. Regalbuto.

If you want to pursue a career in art, Mr. Di Rado suggests you “develop a strong portfolio, try to take as many art classes as you can, listen to teachers, and research art schools to see which one is the best fit for you.”