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Dominique Santos

Santos Dominique

Dominique Santos


Position: Co-Curriculum Leader, Teacher - VAPA

Courses Taught: 3-D Art 1 & 2, Digital Photography, AP Art History

Email Address:


  • High School - Monte Vista High School
  • College - San Francisco State University
  • Credentials - Single-Subject Credential (Art)

Background: Born and raised in the Bay Area, I am a product of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. My love for art surfaced at an early age; I recall spending countless hours tracing my favorite cartoons, drawing women with parasols (à la Monet) or experimenting with wire, beads, string, anything I had around. Thanks to the support and encouragement of my teachers, friends and family over the years and after much careful practice, study and diligence, my "hobby" materialized into career.

Teaching/Educational Philosophy: While I believe that some people are born with an inclination towards being artistic, I am convinced that artistic skills and appreciation can be learned. Compare this to other abilities: some people are born with a propensity to be musical or athletic- for example, a gifted runner. Even if this gift is not within your genetic makeup, you will still reap the benefits of running and, in time, see progress... if you do it every day. The difference between a skilled artist and an unskilled artist is not necessarily talent, but desire and practice.

In addition, the arts teach many things including: problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, preparation, planning and goal-setting, patience, the psychology behind our visual culture, they expose us to other cultures and aid in developing an appreciation for the world around us. They also provide us with a well-needed outlet for our ideas and emotions. 

Lastly, it is my hope that the idea of the "Renaissance Man" would not fall to the wayside. If we truly wish to see this generation excel and compete in the world, it is essential that we give them the "advantage" by boosting their creativity and sparking their imaginations.  


“In my own philanthropy and business endeavors, I have seen the critical role that the arts play in stimulating creativity and in developing vital communities….the arts have a crucial impact on our economy and are an important catalyst for learning, discovery, and achievement in our country.”

–Paul G. Allen, Co-Founder, Microsoft


“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have lots of dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solution without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.” 

–Steve Jobs


Personal Notes: I have been teaching since 2006 and married since 2008. My husband (a certified flight instructor and lover of all things gadgety or with buttons) have been blessed with wonderful friends and family, whom we enjoy spending time with whenever possible. We love to travel abroad or take road trips and spend time outdoors. Whenever we can, we go hiking, backpacking or camping. Outside or inside, abroad or home, we enjoy taking pictures with each other, so much so that we own a photography business together. Of course, I also love other art forms and enjoy making crafts, pottery, decorating, going to the museum, etc.

Favorite places visited: Glacier National Park, Montana (for the beauty); Florence, Italy (for the art); Phuket, Thailand (for the experience), and Lyon, France (for the food and people because I have family here). 

Oddest thing I've eaten: Haggis... not my favorite.

My recommendation: There's nothing like painting on a rainy day, music loud and hot coffee or tea in hand; every sip and stroke serves to soothe the soul. You should try it sometime...