1) Creativity and Imagination as Learning Tool
It is not an understatement to claim that my students taught me a great deal about almost every facet of my life, including having an open mind to the creative impulse that would be incorporated in my own work. After teaching all day, I would somehow find myself behind a canvas, a piano, almost anywhere that I could “make” something. This morning, I remembered one student who (no matter the assignment) would consistently impress me over and over again. Her ability to access her imagination in such creative ways really inspired me. An example of her work (at fifteen years of age) can be seen below. This was a survival manual created while reading Lord of the Flies. Every page has been created through the use of cut paper. Again, this is one small example from a student that created many works of art.
2) Creative Reflection for School Improvement
As a developer of professional development for principals, teachers, and school-based leadership teams, I was given the opportunity to work with many leaders, both formal and informal. One of the most reflective of these inspirational leaders was Denee Hurst of Dixie County Public Schools. Principal Hurst’s principal leadership academy portfolio (in its organization and its sheer breadth of documentation of reflective leadership) is one of the best examples of a leader’s thoughts and projections of where she intended the school to go academically and culturally. Hurst included not only artifacts that support her intention of raising student achievement (e.g., classroom walkthroughs, emails, professional development, aggregated data and projections, etc.), but provided additional cultural ephemera such as photographs of staff PD and school activities. Principal Hurst has been an advocate of teacher and principal inquiry and participated and taught during several inquiry showcases facilitated by the UF College of Education Center for School Improvement (led by Dr. Nancy Dana). One of the best examples of a leader who constantly seeks engagement and improvement of the world around her can be found in Denee Hurst.