Leading With Creativity

NAEA Town Hall Conversations | March 21, 2023

Leading With Creativity

View the recording here.

We learned so much from the challenges and shifts of the last unique school year. How can we build on that to help create the best experience for our learners and ourselves now and in the potentially uncertain months ahead? Join with colleagues as they share strategies and approaches to help us start 2021–22 with a fresh perspective.

Complete information on all NAEA Town Hall Conversations is available here.


James Wells
Education Manager, Crayola

James Wells is the education manager at Crayola. He brings his creative energy and leadership to every speaking presentation by engaging participants to think differently. James has been dedicated to supporting arts in schools and works closely with teachers and administrators across the United States. He is the host of a digital content series, Creativity Tips, and vice chair of Crayola’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. Prior to Crayola, James was the fine arts instructional advisor for Shelby County School District in Memphis, Tennessee, and the art education coordinator for the Tennessee Arts Commission in Nashville. James was named Tennessee Art Educator of the Year in 2022. In addition to his work at Crayola, James continues to be involved in art education as the President of the Tennessee Art Education Association, a Board Trustee with the National Art Education Foundation, and an Advisory Board member for the Arts Education Partnership.

Lauren E. Burrow
Associate Professor of Education Studies, Stephen F. Austin State University

Lauren E. Burrow is an associate professor of education studies and former early childhood educator with scholarly and practical experience in creative writing, drama, and family literacy. Lauren has an active record as an engaged scholar and teacher education. She is the cofounder and coinstructor of the Community Responsiveness and Engaged Advocacy in Teacher Education (CREATE) program track, which blends community-based learning and service-learning partnerships to focus preservice teachers’ awareness of informed action for social injustices. As an NAEA Crayola Ambassador, she encourages creativity and arts appreciation through accessible, play-based activities and field trips within the fine arts for the elementary education course she created that addresses needed focus on the arts, SEL, and creativity in teacher preparation. Lauren is also MotherScholar to three young children who just keep growing up, but never let go of the wonder of play.

Raine Dawn Valentine
Art Educator, Ridgely Middle School
Adjunct Instructor, Notre Dame of Maryland University

Raine Dawn Valentine has taught middle school art for 14 years at Ridgely Middle School in Baltimore County Public Schools, Maryland, and is an adjunct instructor at Notre Dame of Maryland University. She is a member of the Turtle Mountain Tribe of Chippewa in North Dakota and is rooted in her tribe’s traditional spiritual practices. She has taught workshops in intuitive painting methods and has presented at state and national art education conferences. Raine currently serves on the board of the following nonprofit organizations: Historic Hampton Incorporated and NAEA’s Caucus on the Spiritual in Art Education, as well as the executive director of a holistic learning center, Creative Balance Institute.  

Raine is an intuitive spiritual teacher and creative arts director who pulls from her Native American lineage to facilitate a space for all to connect with their higher selves. She believes art is a powerful tool—not just for gratification of self-expression, but as a vehicle of personal and collective transformation. Art is prayer, a sacred and vital discovery of one’s own special presence in the world. Through creation, a person illuminates and illustrates their inner being, while creating something which also stands separate. Through exploration and experimentation each of us can shine light on our inner world, allowing us to utilize expression as a means of healing and remembering that we are all connected.

Mari Atkinson
Instructor, Shack Art Center
Student Teacher Supervisor, Western Washington University

Mari Atkinson is a National Board Certified Teacher in EAYA Art and has been teaching for more than 35 years. After retiring from her teaching position but not her profession, she currently supervises student teachers at Western Washington University and is an instructor with the Schack Art Center. Mari has been a member of NAEA for more than 20 years and is a former Washington Art Education Association (WAEA) Co-President, now serving as the WAEA Liaison with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Last year, Mari was elated to receive the WAEA 2022 Tribute Award, which recognizes significant service and commitment over time. She currently lives in Mukilteo, Washington, where she enjoys volunteering as a beach naturalist.

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