Our Team

Our Director

Dr. Cyndi Burnett

Dr. Cyndi Burnett is Director at Creativity and Education.

Dr. Cyndi Burnett is the Director of Possibilities for Creativity and Education. Like her creativity-focused curriculum for students and teachers, Cyndi embraces the creative lifestyle that she teaches. You will often find her trying on new ideas, exploring resources to stretch her thinking, and being an advocate for playfulness and humor. Although she loves to research and write about creativity, Cyndi is a firm believer in field service. She has 20 years of teaching experience as an academic at the International Center for Studies in Creativity at SUNY Buffalo State where she instructed classes in creative-thinking and creative problem-solving.

Cyndi is the co-editor of the Big Questions in Creativity book series and co-author of the books Weaving Creativity into Every Strand of Your Curriculum, 20 Lessons for Weaving Creativity into your Curriculum (coming Spring, 2021), and My Sandwich Is a Spaceship: Creative Thinking for Parents and Young Children.

Some of her projects include: working with educators to bring creative thinking into the classroom, connecting communities of creative thinkers via social media, and designing and running a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Everyday Creativity. She is the recipient of the President's Medal for Excellence in Teaching 2018 by SUNY Buffalo State, was Buffalo Business First, Woman of Influence 2018 for her work in creativity, and was featured in the New York Times article titled, "Creativity Becomes an Academic Discipline."

Cyndi has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater, a Master of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership, and a Doctorate of Education in Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning, all of which she uses to help ignite creativity in education around the world. In her spare time, she can be found singing and dancing with her two children, propagating plants, and trying to find the world’s best slice of pizza.

Our Co-Creators

Dr. Matthew Worwood

Co-host of the Fueling Creativity Podcast.

Dr. Matthew Worwood is Associate Director of UConn Digital Media & Design at the Stamford campus. He also serves as the Director of Digital Media CT, a statewide collaborative dedicated to furthering Digital Media education in Connecticut. Matthew’s research focuses on teacher creativity and design thinking inside the context of teaching and learning. He has also published on design-based practices that influence the development and implementation of technological solutions in education.

Matthew blogs at DadsforCreativity.com and co-hosts the Fueling Creativity podcast. He also produces the occasional low-budget documentary film. Matthew currently serves on the Advisory board at St Gregory the Great Elementary School in Danbury, CT; he is also in the process of setting up a small UK-based charity dedicated to helping post-care foster children in London, England.

Luciane Valls

Creativity and Education Consultant

Luciane Bonamigo Valls believes creativity is not only something we need, but we also deserve. She wants to spread the joy of creativity so more people can live vivid, enjoyable, and meaningful lives. Luciane provides workshops, courses, and lectures about creativity and works with teachers and school administrators to bring creative thinking into schools in Brazil. She is always asking herself what might be all the ways she can help schools nurture creativity, and, in 2020, she published a book in Portuguese about this topic.

She holds an M.S in Creativity and Change Leadership from SUNY Buffalo State, where she also received the Mary Murdock Creative Spirit Award in 2020. She also earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology and two graduate certificates (Educational Psychology and Educational Management), both from universities in Brazil.

Katie Trowbridge

Co-Creator of Creative Thinking Network for Educators

Katie Trowbridge is the President and CEO of Curiosity 2 Create, a non-profit dedicated to bringing creativity and curiosity into the classroom.

She has over two decades’ experience as a teacher and mentor. Before becoming a teacher, Katie worked in marketing, public relations, and event planning. Throughout her career, Katie has focused on helping her clients and students find their best selves. In addition, Katie uses creativity to teach social-emotional learning, creative problem solving, communication skills, team building, and personal well-being.

Her love for learning and research started at Luther North High School in the heart of Chicago and carried over as she earned a B.A. in English from Southern Illinois University. Years later, Katie wanted to focus on making a difference in the lives of teens and furthered her education by receiving a Master’s in Teaching and a Master’s in Education Administration. She is constantly researching the importance of embracing creativity and a new way of implementing strategies to assist individuals in finding their best selves.

Katie’s passion for these areas allowed her to start non-profit organizations, assist school districts in writing SEL curriculum, design programs for adults and students to encourage collaboration and communication and mentor new teachers to find their voice. As a result, Katie has won several Teacher of Excellence and Outstanding Educator awards.

As a mom in a blended family, Katie works hard to bring an energetic, joyful, and creative spirit to her children and grandchildren. She finds time to embrace creativity through crocheting, painting, writing, and reading fiction.

Barney Saltzberg

Leads CreateTUBEity, the YouTube Station for Creativity and Education.

Barney Saltzberg is a children’s book author, illustrator, and songwriter. He has written over 50 children’s books including Beautiful Oops (over 500,00 copies in print), Crazy Hair Day, Dog and Rabbit, Would You Rather Be a Princess or a Dragon, Animal Kisses, and Peekaboo Kisses (over 1 million books in print), and most recently, One of These Things is Not Like the Others, to name a few! Additionally, he's recorded four albums of songs for children. He has also written music for the PBS series, Arthur.

Barney has traveled to Israel, Vietnam, Spain, and India, to speak about his work. The United States State Department had him visit China and Russia as part of a cultural exchange program, where he spoke about creativity, the beauty of making mistakes, and where ideas come from. His books have won numerous awards, including NAPPA Gold Awards, Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Starred Reviews. Most recently, Melinda Gates chose Beautiful Oops as one of the top three books every child should read.

Barney has been writing and illustrating picture books since 1981. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two dogs. They have two adult children who often stop by to see what new books are being written and for dinner. In his spare time, Barney can be found playing one of his eclectic guitars, and babysitting Waffle Monster, his grand-dogger.


Ismet (Izzy) Mamnoon

Co-Creator of Beyonder Course and Guardian of Imagination

Ismet (Izzy) Mamnoon started her career as a financial consultant and evolved to become a facilitator translating creativity from theory into practice. She was first drawn to the field of creativity and innovation when she became a parent. She speaks intimately about her journey on the TEDx stage.

Her acumen for applied creativity is evident in her diverse range of projects and clients that include large organizations, entrepreneurs, governments, academics, not-for-profits, the armed forces, educators, parents, and children all over the world. Her clients range in age from five to “undisclosed,” and she has been known to provide on-demand creative conversations to just about anyone (and anywhere) including, but not limited to, complete strangers in coffee shop queues and Marines at the Pentagon!

Ismet was recently featured in TIME magazine’s special edition on the Science of Creativity for her creative approach to parenting and for the work she does globally to weave creativity into education. She is a graduate of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State where she received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, the President’s Medal for Outstanding Graduate Student at Buffalo State, and the Firestien Family Creative Achievement award for her work in the field of creative thinking and facilitation.

Lola Schnapp

Creativity and Education Specialist

Lola Schnapp is a creativity and education advocate, especially for the Hispanic community. Her passion is to share the power of creativity as an engine for change and growth in education. She finds creativity to be the missing link in education, since it helps to achieve great work by having fun and being motivated. She is the co-author of 20 Lessons to Weave Creative Thinking into Your Curriculum available in English and Spanish. She has worked as a primary school teacher and technology integration specialist, coaching teachers to integrate technology and new methodologies into their classrooms. Currently works in Chile helping to transform schools into innovation communities and cultures through consultancy and training.

Dr. John Cabra

Team Lead for Creativity and Education —Institutes for Higher Education.

Dr. John Cabra is a Team Lead for Creativity and Education —Institutes for Higher Education.

John is a Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York, Buffalo State's Center for Applied Imagination and a Visiting Professor for two universities in Colombia. John was the Program Director of his university's Service-Learning and Civic Engagement program in Myanmar. He co-founded a nonprofit organization to support the Burmese refugees in the United States to become more confident in their creative thinking to address challenges facing them as they become accustomed to living in a different country.

John is a Fulbright Scholar. He completed his Fulbright assignment at the Universidad Autónoma de Bucaramanga (UNAB for short) located in Colombia. He helped UNAB change its organizational culture to become the first creative campus in Latin America.

John is also a Facilitator at Knowinnovation, a consulting firm dedicated to getting scientists to have the kinds of engaging conversations that result in interdisciplinary breakthroughs and new innovative research.

Some organizations that have benefited from his training and organizational development expertise include IBM, Coca-Cola, British Home Office, National Science Foundation, NASA, Harvard University's Department of Evolutionary Biology, National Oceanographic Laboratory System, The Pew Charitable Trusts, U.S. Embassy in Myanmar, and the United States Department of Agriculture.

John earned his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Manchester, England, and an M.S. in Creativity and Change Leadership from the State University of New York. He co-authored articles in business, engineering, and innovation journals. In 2017, he co-authored a book "Organizational Creativity: A Practical Guide for Innovators and Entrepreneurs" by SAGE Publications.

Our Contributors

Monica H. Kang

Founder and CEO of InnovatorsBox®

Monica H. Kang is the Founder & CEO of InnovatorsBox® and the Author of Rethink Creativity and Have You Seen My Friends?. An internationally recognized expert in workplace creativity, she facilitates culture transformation, leadership development, and team building in a way that is fun, actionable, and relatable. Monica works with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits.

Her work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

Todd Stanley

Gifted Services Coordinator & Author

Todd Stanley is a National Board Certified teacher and the author of many teacher-education books including Project-Based Learning for Gifted Students: A Handbook for the 21st Century Classroom (2nd Edition), Promoting Rigor Through Higher Level Questioning, and his most recent How the Hell Do We Motivate These Kids?

He served as a classroom teacher for 18 years teaching everything from 3rd graders to seniors in high school. He is currently the gifted services coordinator for Pickerington Local Schools where he lives with his wife and two daughters. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati. You can follow him on Twitter @the_gifted_guy or visit his website at thegiftedguy.com where you can access blogs, resources, and view presentations he has given.

Tanya Knudsen

Tanya Knudsen

Creative Consultant Doctoral Student

Tanya found purpose up in servant leadership for a social project in transformation through education and hospitality. Teaching for creativity for good has been a breakthrough in sharing creativity in a global environment. Zooming into her Madagascar classroom has given rise to her new mantra, tolerance for ambiguity works every time. Tanya has expanded Torrance's Creative Thinking Skills into new curricula for imaginative thinking. She's a German and French teacher and perceives creativity as a language that deserves fluency. Tanya completed an MS in Applied Imagination in 2021 and is currently enrolled in the PhD program for Creative Leadership at the University of the Virgin Islands.
Randah Taher

Randah Taher

Culture Designer and Innovation Facilitator

Randah Taher is a Culture Designer and Innovation Facilitator with a
playful sandbox. In it, there are methods that design cultures of innovation,
creative problem-solving sessions, biomimic analogies, design thinking
bootcamps, edutainment games and creativity tools. A TEDx and keynote
speaker, she works with mavericks and intra-preneurs to transform their work starting with the smallest cultural shifts that nurture creative environments in organizations.

Her bottom-top approach help translate ideas into multi-disciplinary
programs and develop internal innovation functions and squads. From The
“Creative Institute for Toronto’s Young Leaders”, to the Montreal-based
crowd-sourced powerhouse “My Arabic Story”, to the Dubai-based design-led
innovation consultancy “sajory” with its masterclasses and curated giftbox “IMAGINESS” that emphasizes imagining happiness at work.

These are but a few examples of the stories she shares.
You can find more on http://www.sajory.com and connect with her on http://www.linkedin.com/in/randahtaher

Mary Stewart

Mary Stewart

Professor Emerita, Florida State University

Professor Emerita Mary Stewart is an artist, author and educator.

Her artwork has been shown in over ninety exhibitions nationally and internationally and in the 1980's she received two Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grants for collaborative choreography. She has completed many artist's residencies at sites such as Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Jentel Foundation, Arte Studio Ginestrelle (Italy) and Centrum Franz Masereel (Belgium).

She is a co-founder of Integrative Teaching International (https://www.integrativeteaching.org/) and the founding editor of its main publication, Future Forward. She is also the author of Launching the Imagination: A Comprehensive Guide to Basic Design, one of the best-selling design textbooks in North America.

She received a Southeastern College Art Association Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010, the FATE (Foundations in Art: Theory and Education) Master Educator award in 2009 and the National Council of Arts Administrators Award of Distinction in 2008.

Professor Stewart is now working remotely on her second Fulbright Fellowship, a collaboration with the Atlantic Centre for Creativity. In this role, she has conducted over twenty interviews exemplars of creativity in the Atlantic provinces of Canada. Three of these interviews appear in her current book which is titled Creative Inquiry: From Ideation to Implementation.

Ortal Green

Ortal Green

Co-founder Glittering Minds

Ortal is a passionate educator with a mission to empower teachers and parents to create tomorrow’s innovators.

She started her career as a computer scientist and worked for several years at top global hi-tech companies such as IBM and Mercury. Working at the forefront of this cutting-edge industry helped her understand the impact of technology on the future of work.
Additionally, as Ortal watched her three sons' journeys through primary school, she realised they were not being prepared for this future.

While Ortal saw the movement towards STEM as going in the right direction, essential skills such as creative thinking and the development of an innovative mindset, to name a few, were being left out. Having a solid technological background and being a Design Thinking practitioner, she could see that there was a need and a way to bridge this gap.

Therefore, Ortal co-founded “Glittering Minds” and created an innovative school program. This program helps teachers enhance their teaching and amplify their impact by using Design Thinking as a framework for learning.

Ortal is also an author and an international speaker.
She wrote the book “Think Unique- Your comprehensive guide to cultivating tomorrow’s innovators through PROJECT-BASED LEARNING ” which empowers teachers to create tomorrow’s innovators in their classrooms. This book provides teachers with the knowledge and tools required to set up children for success in the 21st century.
She also wrote the book “Think Unique - Raising a successful, innovative child”, which guides parents on how to raise a child who is innovative and able to thrive in an ever-changing world.

Clayton Rhodes

Clayton Rhodes

Visiting Professor at Durham College.

Clayton Rhodes is a full-time faculty member at Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. At Durham College, Clayton teaches Creativity: A Personal Understanding, Hockey: The First Century, and a variety of communication courses. As well, Clayton is a member of the college’s creativity community of practice. In 2021, Clayton was the recipient of Durham College’s Faculty Employee Excellence Award.

Outside of the college, Clayton has been a member of several nationally and provincially funded projects for Literacy Northwest, Connect Strategic Alliances, College Sector Committee for Adult Upgrading and Skillplan.

Clayton earned his Honours Bachelor of Arts from York University and his Master of Arts in Education from the University of Phoenix. During his spare time, Clayton enjoys bowling, slo-pitch, kayaking, and in-line skating.

Dr. Molly Holinger

Dr. Molly Holinger

Visiting Professor at the John W. Altman Institute

Dr. Molly Holinger is a Visiting Professor at the John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship in the Farmer School of Business at Miami University. She holds a PhD in Educational Psychology: Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development from the University of Connecticut and an M.S. in Creative Studies from the International Center for Studies in Creativity, SUNY Buffalo State. Her current research focuses on the positive outcomes of creativity such as engagement, meaning, and positive emotions.
Jim Friedman

Jim Friedman

Dreambuilder & Chief Creative Steward

“Ask fifty people to describe Friedman and you’ll get fifty different answers … all true. He is a paradox. Student-Teacher. Quiet-Demanding. But all will agree on his passion and dedication to sharing the magic of creativity and innovation in everything he does.”

Jim Friedman is a Cincinnati native and resident Wordsmith/Dreambuilder who may be best known for creating television shows and movies. He is a serial creative entrepreneur. In addition to his broadcasting ventures, he has created national marketing campaigns; been granted multiple patents; written books; written, recorded, and performed music; and danced the hokey pokey at age three on a television kid's show.

Since 2008 he has taught Creativity and Entrepreneurship at Miami University and is a frequent speaker on topics of creativity and personal branding. Friedman’s coaching centers on connecting creative/innovative thinking to entrepreneurship for companies and individuals across the country. He is also Chief Steward for World Creativity & Innovation Week/Day (April 15-21).

Friedman grew up in Wyoming, Ohio (Go Cowboys). He graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a B.S. in Design (Go Bearcats). He holds a doctorate in communication (Ph.D.) which he earned from the Union Institute and a doctorate in Creativity (Cr.D.) which he made up himself. He has won 65 Emmy Awards, has been inducted into three Halls of Fame, and is recognized for his creativity and effectiveness in the classroom.

Besides wordsmithing, Friedman enjoys asking questions, finding second right answers, silencing his voice of judgment, taking risks, and failing often and well.

Holly Blondin

Holly Blondin

Creativity & Innovation Educator, & Speaker

Creative Artist and Professional Educator of Creative Methodologies
Holly leads and facilitates creativity and design innovation methods to global audiences. Year-round she guides creative beginners to their creative potential from such institutions as Parsons School of Design, Culinary Institute of Barcelona, and the Hynes Institute of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Iona College. Holly speaks to global organizations on creativity and design and has presented at the ADC*E European Creativity Festival at Disseny Hub Barcelona - Design Museum Barcelona. A lifelong creative practitioner herself, Holly has years of professional experience as a performing artist, designer, and marketing & branding professional. She blogs about the creative process on her website http://www.hollyblondin.com and connects with her audience in a weekly newsletter - Creative Bites. In addition to her passion for all things related to creativity, Holly is an advocate for literacy, arts & culture, and education. Holly is a resident of Barcelona.

MBA, Marketing and Entrepreneurship - Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College
BFA, Musical Theatre Performance - Western Michigan University

Vincent T. Andrews

Art & Humanity Instructor/Creativity Coach

Vincent Andrews is an educator and creativity coach passionate about helping schools and organizations identify the creative aptitude in students and employees.
His artistic background and experiences through the fine arts has helped him to recognize the significance of creativity, but those experiences helped to illuminate the idea that creative development doesn't have to be secluded to fine arts oriented domains.
Vincent is currently a doctoral student at Lesley University and wants to use his research to bridge the divide between research and the application of those ideas.

Dr. Catie-Reagan Palmore

Therapeutic Art Instructor

Catie-Reagan Palmore, Ed.D., is a recent graduate of Baylor University’s Learning and Organizational Change doctoral program. Her dissertation explored the role the fine arts play in university students’ development of 21st-century skills. She received an M.S. in Strategic Design and Management from Parsons School of Design, a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Virginia Tech, and a Women in Leadership certificate from Cornell University. Her research interests include interdisciplinary arts integration, design thinking, and visual culture. Currently, she serves as a Therapeutic Art Instructor at an eating disorder residential treatment center.

Najja A Bouldin

Founder at Phoenix Innovation Group

Najja A. Bouldin is the Founder & Principal at Phoenix Innovation Group, LLC, Buffalo, New York, where he serves customers and community with Innovation Training, Leadership & Entrepreneurial Development, as well as Community Engagement. Najja is said to have those affection skills you just can’t teach. Folks will notice right away that Najja is a people person who listens intently and enjoys engaging with them. He is a consultant driven by curiosity and the belief in the capacity of every person to achieve their fullest potential. Workshop participants appreciate how he tunes into their experience, while his colleagues and collaborators admire that his mind and his heart are always open in equal measure.

Najja has earned a B.A. in Psychology from University at Buffalo and a Master of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership from the State University of New York, Buffalo State, where he is now an Adjunct Lecturer. He is also a decorated disabled veteran of the United States Air Force, where he honorably served in Operation Enduring Freedom. In addition to working with scientists around the world, Najja works with Buffalo’s local youth. He has an uncanny ability to get moody teenagers to care about creativity and entrepreneurship. Najja is a fan of science, a cheerleader for ideas and an empowering trainer. His talents are equalled only by his stylish hair and amazing collection of fashionable sweaters. Najja greets us from the lower East Side of Buffalo, New York. His greatest inspiration for integrity, service and enterprising excellence is being a father to his marvelous son, and stewarding culture.

Jennifer Babcock

Educator from pre-K through adulthood

Jennifer Babcock is an educator who has been teaching students from pre-K through adulthood for over a decade. She is a Jill of all trades with her experience and uses her creativity to train and coach future teachers to be effective leaders for their students. By day she is an Adjunct Professor at Medaille College in the MSED Elementary and Adolescent program. By later day, she conducts Professional Development trainings for teachers and school leaders with Teach for America and the National Math and Science Initiative. By night, she is a happily married cat-mom who enjoys binge-watching the latest trendy shows. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance, a Bachelor of Science in Childhood Education, and a Master of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership all from Buffalo State College. Go Bills!
Beverly Weihz

Beverly Weihz

Teacher and Alternative Education Visionary

Beverly Zapatka Weihz is a Renaissance woman. She is a high school communications teacher, an artist, an entrepreneur, an avid traveler, and a voracious student of life. She holds a B.A. in Art Therapy and teaching certificates for both Art and English. She received a Master’s of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership from SUNY Buffalo in 2016. Her master’s study work focused on research in motivation and finding the balance between technology and creativity. She has put that research into action in her state-of-the-art broadcast studio program: a place where all students can discover their strengths, their creativity, and their own version of badass.

Beverly was recently accepted into the Transformative Studies doctoral program at the California Institute of Integral Studies, which will start in the fall. Her hope is to become a modern-day alchemist, blending her key interests of creativity, alternative education, and archetypal themes into a transformative program for at-risk students.

Melinda Ferraraccio

Melinda Ferraraccio

Expressive Arts Facilitator. LCAT-P, RYT, AEA Artist.

Melinda Ferraraccio, MA Expressive Arts Therapy, LCAT-P, RYT, AEA
Artist. Expressive arts facilitator. Yoga practitioner. Devisor. Melinda uses intermodal arts therapy intervention approaches to performance, facilitation, and community outreach and has worked in a range of educational, therapeutic, and artistic settings. As a teaching artist for the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services in Bushwick, Brooklyn Melinda worked to develop curriculum for school aged children promoting literacy through the use of a variety of artistic modalities. She also employed this multimodal method in a parenting through the arts program with female inmates in a maximum-security prison and with adolescents at a residential treatment center in upstate New York. As a physical theater performer and clown, Melinda traveled to New Orleans with Clowns Without Borders to perform and facilitate workshops with children and adults in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
For over 10 years Melinda helped to develop and direct the sibling support program at Friends of Karen, a not-for-profit organization providing financial and emotional support to families dealing with the life threatening illness of a child. She holds a master’s degree in expressive arts therapy from the European Graduate School in Switzerland. Research interests include Poesis and the human impulse to shape our world, expressive arts as a creative or aesthetic process, the effects of trauma and the relationship with play, and the use of clowning and it's effectiveness on shifting traumatic experiences to the integration of self growth. Melinda specializes in providing supportive sessions for children (particularly siblings of kids with special needs,) and adults. She specializes in working with new parents, as well as those facing illness related crisis, and provides arts based grief and bereavement support. Now working in private practice, she continues to help children and adults to navigate life’s challenges through art making and play. Find out more about Melinda’s work at https://www.pleasantvilletherapy.com/melinda-ferraraccio-lcat
Tamara Doleman

Tamara Doleman

Educator, Head of the Visual Arts Department

Tamara Doleman is the Head of the Visual Arts Department at Ashbury College in Ottawa, Canada. A passionate K-12 art educator for more than 20 years, she completed her MSc. in Creative Studies at SUNY, Buffalo State. Recognized as “Art Teacher of the Year 2018” by the Ontario Art Education Association, Tamara emphasizes the creative process, self-expression, and collaboration in her approach to teaching art. She believes that helping students to learn, grow and express their creativity, is transformative and fosters well-being, self-regulation, and self-discovery. Encouraging youth to use their unique creativity inspire others to action and to be change makers in the world, is a primary goal for the students in her art classroom. Her students have organized art exhibitions in elder care homes, made collaborative art to support Syrian refugees, and they collaborated on a activity book for kids with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Tamara has facilitated several creative thinking and visioning sessions for people in educational settings, that have been very well received. She is practicing art-maker, certified yoga instructor, a loving wife, and a busy mother of two teenage boys. Tamara has published articles, put out a TED X talk, and contributed to several books on the topic of creativity in schools. She begins training as an art therapist this summer at VATI.

Dr. James Larsen

Postdoctoral Research Fellow & Creativity Scholar

Dr. James A. Larsen is a postdoctoral researcher in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He completed his doctorate in Human Environmental Sciences at the University of Missouri, where he first developed and piloted a new approach to studying children’s creative potential.

James’ research program focuses on individual and contextual factors that contribute to early childhood development and learning. He is particularly interested in the ways caregivers, teachers, and early learning environments influence children’s divergent thinking and creative problem-solving skills. His scholarship also explores new methodologies and measures for studying various dimensions of early childhood creative thinking, learning, and development.

In his current appointment, James serves as a member of a research-practice partnership that was formed to co-develop and implement computer science and robotics education for culturally and linguistically diverse preschoolers. While the overarching goals of this project are to promote children’s computational thinking skills and sense of belonging in computer science and STEM-related fields, James has witnessed the potential of collaborations among researchers, parents, educators, and community leaders to promote creative parenting and teaching practices, nurture children’s creative thinking skills, and enhance children’s general learning experiences.

Kathy Frazier

Gifted Education Specialist at Orange City Schools

Kathleen Frazier is a Gifted Education Specialist at Orange City Schools in Ohio and an adjunct professor at Kent State University, teaching Instructional Processes in the Gifted Education Cohort. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and an Educational Specialist Degree in Elementary Education and K-12 Gifted Education. She is a National Board Certified Teacher in the area of Early Adolescent Generalist. Ms. Frazier is has received certification in the Creative Educator Program sponsored by the Creativity Circle/Fable Vision. Each year, she co-authors the FPS Topic Activity Units, published by the International Future Problem Solving Program to help coaches teach lessons on each step of the Creative Problem Solving Process. She is also the co-author of Power Up Your Creative Mind (Pieces of Learning Publication) and Into the Future: A Student Guide to Scenario Writing (published by the International Future Problem Solving Program). She has been published in Parenting for High Potential Magazine (National Association of Gifted Children).

Ms. Frazier is a member of the Creativity for Kids Advisory Board, providing support in developing a new line of creative learning educational products. (Fabel Castell USA). She has made presentations at world, national, and state gifted conferences on topics including Creativity, Creative Problem Solving, Service Learning, and Integrating the Arts. She is co-founder of Touching the Future Today LLC, which provides professional development to teachers and creative arts schools locally and nationally. She recently acquired a nonprofit designation, “Educational Artistry,” to help schools finance professional development and creative student programs.

Giambattista Giacomo Davis

Giambattista Davis

PhD student at the University at Buffalo

Giambattista Giacomo Davis is a former Teaching Assistant for the Gifted Math Program, and former Advisor for Student Support Services at the University at Buffalo (UB). He was born in Buffalo, and lived in Treviso, Italy, for 12 years! He completed his undergraduate degrees at Daemen College, in Mathematics and in Liberal Studies, with a minor in art history, philosophy, and psychology. He graduated with a Master’s in Higher Education Administration from UB with interests in multicultural aspects, finance of higher education, and statistics. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in the Higher Education PhD program at UB and is also in Education Studies, with a focus on Comparative and Global Education, and pursuing Advanced Certificates in International Education Data Analysis as well as Qualitative Methodology.

Dr. Roger Firestien

Senior Faculty - Center for Applied Imagination

Dr. Roger Firestien has taught more people to lead the creative process than anyone else in the world.

Called “The Gold Standard” of creativity training by his clients, he has presented programs in creativity to over 600 organizations nationally and internationally ranging from major fortune 500 corporations, government agencies, universities, associations and churches.

Dr. Firestien is an associate professor and senior faculty at the Center for Applied Imagination at SUNY Buffalo State, President of Innovation Resources, Inc. and a guest lecturer at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine.

Roger is the author of six books, including Leading on the Creative Edge and Why didn’t I think of that? His latest book: Create in a Flash: A leader’s recipe for breakthrough innovation is now available worldwide.

His expert views on creativity have been reported in Fast Company, Forbes, Investor’s Business Daily, INC and The New York Times.

You can find his new nine-part video series on innovation on the Open-Sesame on-line learning platform.

Dr. Firestien’s seventh book tentatively titled: What you think IS the problem, is NOT the problem, is scheduled for release in early 2023.

Dr. Teresa Lawrence

President, International Deliverables, LLC

After a 25-year career in K-12 education, including roles in private and public schools, the for-profit education industry and BOCES, Teresa culminated her public service as a Superintendent of Schools and then established International Deliverables, LLC, a NYS Women Business Enterprise (WBE).

Known for her work as a Project Management Professional (PMP) and master facilitator of Creative Problem Solving (CPS), International Deliverables, LLC provides professional services in organizational development including change, leadership and team development on project management, problem solving and the innovation process. Teresa is a certified facilitator of FourSight, the leading assessment on how individuals and teams approach problem solving and innovation.

Since 2017, Teresa has provided facilitation and training to over 80K individuals, teams and organizations remotely and in-person. In 2019, International Deliverables, LLC was recognized by the Small Business Administration as a Home-based Business of the Year.

Dave Bauer

Dave Bauer

Author, Life Coach, Mindfulness teacher

Dave Bauer (MS Education) is President of The Change Circle and serves as teacher, life coach, and children’s nature author. Dave is the founder of Creative Nature Play, a program that encourages the native curiosity in children for discovering wonder in nature. In 2016, he released his children’s nature book, What’s Under That Rock, Papa?

Dave seeks to support the personal growth of people in discovering lives of creative change, and joining others in bringing our species into a dynamic, restorative journey aligned with our native biophilia.

From 2015 to the present, Dave has served as a mindfulness teacher gaining much of his background in the traditions of the Himalayan Institute.

Dave earned his Graduate Certificate in Creativity and Change Leadership in 2009 from SUNY Buffalo State. Dave is the creator of the Change Leader Inventory (CLI), a life skills assessment tool for his clients to help them gain an understanding in their capacity and assets in living a life of creative change.

Dave served as an environmental sustainability consultant during his years as President of Sustainable Earth Solutions, Inc where he training teams of professionals in creating “green teams” within their organization.

From 1973 – 2007, Dave taught middle school and high science. His last 20 years of teaching were dedicated to teaching high school environmental science.

Andrea Mango

STEAM Educator

Andrea Mango has taught for the past 18 years, first as a kindergarten through 2nd-grade educator and now as a STEAM educator for K-4 at Dodge Elementary in Williamsville, New York. Before teaching, Andrea worked at Erie One BOCES’ Positive Youth Development Center, where she trained teachers on empowering students in the classroom and prepared middle and high school students to become positive leaders among their peers. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre and a master’s degree in Elementary Education-Birth-6th.