Creativity at Work: Creativity in School Administration
December 22, 2017
Creativity is a mindset that allows us
to work our way through the world
in the most positive way possible,
both in our personal and professional lives.
~ Jessica Bowman
Jessica Bowman, Associate Superintendent / School Principal, Siskiyou Union High School District, and Certified Intentional Creativity® Teacher shared with me that the creativity research she did while writing her PhD dissertation had a large impact on how she views the world. Through her creativity practice she experiences life in a more positive way with humor and positivity to what could be a pretty stressful work assignment. She believes that without a creativity practice she would be suffering tremendously.
Jessica manages five programs and two high schools and has implemented creative activities in staff meetings that focus on the positive. When the teachers’ concepts of creativity shift, it creates a better learning environment for the students. It also gives an opportunity to relax and breathe.
Stress is especially high at the district office so Jessica’s top priority for staff is self-care with the concepts of creativity research and brain function. Self-care activities and intentional conversation about the environment they would like to work in have created improvement. She’s implemented experiences in meditation, coloring book images and even brought bubbles to work to bring levity to a situation and stimulate conversation.
Jessica finds these activities have an impact on how team members treat each other. They became more respectful of each other, more aware of how others were feeling and why things are done the way each person does them, i.e. personality types, different definitions for words that are commonly used, i.e., what does the word “respect” mean to each person, or “a job well done”? These conversations allow communication to find common ground to operate from and give people space to be more patient with each other. They also discovered an awareness that they had choices they didn’t think they had, i.e. what the work environment looked like. They now know they have a choice and are heard.
Jessica has discovered creativity is a vehicle for transformation and has observed this on a personal level and believes creativity can transform work for the better on an organizational level as well by:
- Improving the work environment.
- Strengthening teamwork.
- Having the ability to see the challenge of the world around us with a different lens, a brain shift occurs.
- Noticing how each of us goes through a self-analysis process for a problem and how it can be the same or different for different people. The ability to have a self-analysis process comes from a pause from the rush of the daily grind.
- The ripple effect of benefiting one person at a time which eventually leads to a cultural shift.
Some of Jessica’s favorite resources include Shiloh Sophia McCloud’s Intentional Creativity Method and the books “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, and Creativity by Matthew Fox. In addition, she resonates with the research in creativity generated by Frank Barron, Professor at UC Santa Cruz, Alphonso Montouri, Professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies and Shelley Carson, Professor at Harvard University. Her intention with using these sources is to shift educators into a deeper connection with themselves; a place where they hear their own truth and make internal connections for clarity, purpose, and personal worth in order to create a more productive and positive work environment. This, of course, makes a much better learning environment for children.
You can reach Jessica at [email protected] if you would like to learn more about her personal creative practices.
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Kerry Lee, a 25 year Benicia resident, is a Certified Intentional Creativity® Teacher and Coach, officiates creative ceremonies and weddings, leads group workshops, experiential retreats, mobile social painting parties, customized corporate team building and corporate social responsibility events. Find her at KerryLeeArt.com