Jeff Croley is the co-founder of the DeWitt Creativity Group, Michigan Creativity Group, and Michigan Creative Educators Summit. For the last 10 years he has been actively involved with Creative and “Educational” Placemaking initiatives throughout the Greater Lansing Region.
He has been dedicated to helping Michigan grow the talent pipeline, remain educationally and economically competitive while providing unique opportunities for students and teachers to work with businesses and organizations in order to remain actively engaged and passionate about learning and discovery. Croley believes it is vital to transform the current education system and rethink the role of educator as well as the function of our educational institutions. He believes Michigan needs to do a better job of supporting and promoting a culture of innovation, empathy, and inclusion in K-12 education and wants to help the issue by merging the worlds of education and business in order to adequately prepare students to move forward in the 21st Century. He does this by celebrating and promoting creativity and student empowerment, and by creating psychologically safe learning ecosystems.
He enjoys developing talent and creating opportunities where students can unleash their creativity while remaining inclusive, empathetic, and fearless in their pursuit of making a positive difference. Croley plans to amplify the “student voice” while introducing young people to creative industries and initiatives along the way. He wants to provide students with the “soft skills” that standardized tests fail to measure, but are demanded in the workforce. Croley is also passionate about keeping the artistry in the teaching profession. He is a strong advocate for changing the term “teacher” to “ talent developer” and believes this simple shift in mindset can create new synergy for those in the profession as well as those entering the profession, and as a result, create greater changes both in and out of the classroom.
Croley’s other interests include filmmaking, golf, applied improvisation and theater. He has directed over 80 productions and has participated in sketch comedy and improv training at Second City and Comedy Sportz in Chicago. He was selected as a member of the newly formed Michigan Teacher Leadership Advisory Council and has worked with the Michigan Department of Education and Governor’s Office to improve K12 in Michigan. Recently he was the recipient of the Arts Educator Applause Award by the Greater Lansing Arts Council.
Jason LaFay is a teacher at DeWitt High School. He teaches in the areas of English and Sociology. Jason started the DeWitt Creativity Group (www.dewittcreativitygroup.org) along with Jeff Croley as a way to change the culture of high schools in America by promoting student creativity and entrepreneurism. It is crucial that public schools prepare students for the creative economy (information technology, alternative energy, artistic creativity, entrepreneurism, bio-sciences, medical technology, etc.). Schools must do more than simply impart skills and knowledge. There has to be an effort to channel student creativity into building economic growth that benefits all communities! This is what the DCG is striving to create: a school culture that embraces innovation.