Marcea Decker: Educator To Watch 2019

The first in our series of 2019 Educators To Watch posts that shine the spotlight on people who are making a difference to their art and design students, schools and communities.


Marcea Decker is a full-time teacher at Shillington Education, a fast-paced and immersive design school with locations in New York, London, Manchester, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. She is an artist, designer, musician and educator — originally from Arizona, currently based in New York. Marcea studied at the University of Arizona and then received her Masters degree at Parsons The New School For Design. She has worked in a variety of atmospheres from small ad agencies, digital media companies, to start-ups. However, the majority of her experience comes from designing within the nonprofit world. She feels there is a beautiful limitless potential in design, where each moment is an opportunity to learn and grow. She has always felt that design has an immense power to transform the world for the better. In her spare time, Marcea loves to take on collaborative passion projects with other artists, illustrate, and make music.

How and why did you decide to make education a meaningful part of your career?

Teaching is the best job in the world. I have long-valued how much knowledge and learning has expanded my world, and now it’s so rewarding to share what I have gained through my experiences. I am humbled to be in a position where I can encourage and recognize growth in others. There is something special to be said about teaching something you absolutely love to do. There is an infectiousness that comes with encouraging people achieve their goals, share their point of view with the world, and expand their ideas and skillset. The way students are able to change their lives at Shillington in such a short period of time never ceases to inspire me, and the innovative and cutting-edge curriculum allows them to hit the ground running.

How do you balance the teaching of fundamentals vs the need to respond to change?

I keep in mind what design is meant to do: improve quality of life through problem-solving. The advancement and progress we make in new modes of technology and dissemination is amazing, and it plays a role in how we shape the world as designers to increase transparency and accessibility. Though we must engage critically with new technology and question how and why it functions, how it can be used, and for who. With the right critical mindset, why not rise to the challenge that change can bring? It also humbles us to stay adaptable and constantly learn. This is what I really appreciate about Shillington: the curriculum is developed by working designers who aim to keep our students, as well as teachers, on the cutting edge of our industry so that we are prepared to engage meaningfully with media, tech, and culture.