Creative Inspiration by Erik Wahl at the SAI Annual Conference

As a full-time education consultant, Allison Zmuda works with educators to grow ideas on how to make learning for students challenging, possible and worthy of the attempt. Over the past 19 years, Zmuda has shared curricular, assessment, and instructional ideas, shown illustrative examples, and offered practical strategies of how to get started.

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I am excited to present two sessions tomorrow at the School Administrators or Iowa (SAI) Annual Conference, Re-Imagine. I hope to meet some of the speakers who will be at the conference, and am looking forward to seeing the opening keynoter Erik Wahl.

Erik is a speaker, artist, and author of Unthink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius

He summarized why he’s excited to speak at this conference perfectly when he said, “I’m passionate about this because I’ve seen the outcome. You can get straight As in school, but still flunk life.”

Hitting Close to Home

Corporate America is filled with professionals clinging to a rigid structure left by years of standardized testing and teacher-pleasing goals. They are unable to staples of our fast-paced world: social media, mobile, and the cloud.

Erik’s goal when he takes on clients is to hit the “restart” button. His creative approach is meant to act as a refresher. I see many parallels between Erik’s work and my own. We both work to reinvent the thinking of others and free them from intellectual binding.

Two Sessions

I am equally excited to give my sessions at the conference. In the first session, I hope teachers and administrators can provide the basic components of a personalized learning experience. From there, we will dig into the role of the teacher and student. Teachers must be role models in a space they are uncomfortable, showing failure as part of the growing process.

The second session is designed to look at a culture of innovation. We will look at staff attitudes and dispositions to rethink things like grit and perseverance. We will look at classroom culture, but also branch out to the school and district levels. Folks will play around with creating policies and practices that encourage a growth mindset.


I have every intention of walking away from Erik’s talk completely inspired! His goal is to take those of us watching away from the structure of education, reminding us of why we teach in the first place. I’m sure his talk will have me geared up for both of my sessions!

Taking a look at his work and you’ll see we are in for an amazing ride filled with incredible art and creativity!

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