Tonya Gardner


As the Art Teacher for Fusion Academy’s Columbia Campus, Tonya is committed to sharing her passion of Art through conversation, application, and diverse thought. She believes that art is a visual language that can be used as a tool and adapted to every learning type.  She hopes to create an environment where students are constantly stimulated, excited, and inspired about art, life, and learning.

Tonya earned her Bachelors of fine arts degree at Radford University. At Radford, she was mentored by Dr. Halide Salam in painting and art history. Her relationship with Dr. Salam made Tonya appreciate how beautiful nurtured education can be. While studying, Tonya developed a strong artist concept and a body of work through oil paint and mixed media collage.

After graduation, Tonya took a job in Dhaka, Bangladesh teaching art and design. With the freedom to come up with innovative lesson plans, she found her passion observing students, and adapting her teaching style to different learning types.

Tonya grew up in a small town in Southwest Virginia and enjoyed here time there hiking the Appalachian trail with her dog, Leeo. She describes herself as a lifetime student and enjoys learning something new every day. She spends her free time traveling and cooking new dishes, but admits she makes everything a little extra spicy.