There’s a lot of moving pieces working behind-the-scenes to create the big Creative Action picture.
Site Coordinators are just one of those pieces, but play an important role managing all of our Creative Action After School programs and providing leadership to our Teaching Artists.
While each of our Site Coordinators bring a unique background, skillset, and viewpoints that aide them in their role, there are also certain core qualities we look for when adding new Site Coordinators to the team, including excellent communication skills, empathy, leadership skills, and a mind for social justice.
Site Coordinators are responsible for managing a Creative Action After School program located at an Austin campus and providing leadership to the campus’ team of Teaching Artists. The Site Coordinator also keeps communication flowing between students, Teaching Artists, and parents.
We welcomed three new Site Coordinators to the Creative Action team this year. Estrella and Lise were already members of the Creative Action team as Teaching Artists, while Angela is brand new to our organization.
We sat down with our new Site Coordinators to learn a little bit more about them and the critical role they play.
Estrella was born and raised in Austin and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Theatre and Dance. While most of her work has been in performance, Estrella also enjoys exploring movement and eco-friendly art with students. Above all, Estrella enjoys learning from youth and hopes to help create a kinder world led by artists who care.
Estrella says she has always been an expressive, theatrical person, and upon learning about Creative Action’s Interactive Performances, was overwhelmed with the thought that growing up could have been “much easier and more fun if Creative Action had been around when I was young.”
“School teaches you how the world works, how it came to be, and the many injustices present in various systems, but it tells you the only way to change anything is to grow up and become a part of those systems,” Estrella said. “Creative Action is all about empowering young people with the skills to make change today, right now, and for the rest of their lives.
“Whether it’s learning how to express complicated emotions, resolve conflicts with friends, or organize and mobilize a group of people to take a stand and speak up, I believe that we are helping to bring up the generation that will not only care but have the skills to make lasting change.”
As a Creative Action Teaching Artist, Estrella earned her stripes teaching a wide range of ages 4 through 11. As a Site Coordinator, she says her goal is to inspire her After School team to dream big, empower them to take ownership of their work, and let them know how important they are in the lives of the youth they serve.
“When you care about your work so much, it can be easy to be hard on yourself when things don’t go as planned,” Estrella said. “I try to remind [my Teaching Artists] that while their plans and goals are important, their presence and caring energy is what the students will remember most. I try to make their lives as easy as possible whenever I can so that all of their focus stays on their students.”
Estrella says in addition to supporting her Teaching Artists day in and day out, she also loves having the ability to influence the culture of her campus’ After School program.
“At Becker, the school administration and staff have been beyond welcoming to Creative Action, bringing us into the Becker Bobcat family without hesitation,” Estrella said. “My goal is to serve and honor them to show the students that it takes every member of a community to keep it running smoothly and happily.”
Estrella says her favorite Creative Action activities are the Community in Action Fridays.
“I’ve been planning activities such as scavenger hunts or physical challenges wherein the oldest group serves as helpers and leaders to younger groups as they complete each task,” Estrella said. “It’s wonderful to see them take care of each other, and the smiling faces of the Teaching Artists lets me know they are having just as much fun as the kids! It’s a blast.”
Originally from Canada, Lise Wilson brings a unique suite of skillsets and interests with her to Austin, including a Bachelor of the Arts degree in First Nations Studies/Native Studies with a focus on ethnobotany and deconstructing colonialism, as well as a multitalented background in dance, singing, theatre, and multimedia arts.
Lise has a passion for guiding young people to find their voices and explore their creative selves through the arts. She first experienced Creative Action programming as a parent, then as a Teaching Artist at numerous campuses, and now is honored to be placed at Blanton Elementary as a Site Coordinator. Her long-term goals for this year include tapping into the skills and interests of our students to create meaningful projects, and to have loads of fun along the way.
“What appealed to me about Creative Action is the organization shares the same vision as me about the work: creating frontlines of social change through the youth,” Lise said. “It’s not just about teaching art or drama alone; it’s about affecting social change through the incredibly thoughtful curriculum.”
hough she has experienced Creative Action through a variety of lenses, Lise says she is enjoying her new role as a Site Coordinator as it challenges her by calling on some of the skills and experiences she gained elsewhere.
“I get to wear multiple hats and call on my problem solving and interpersonal skills, as well as my administrative skills,” Lise said. “It’s engaging me in ways that I really enjoy. And as the person now supporting the Teaching Artists, having been on the receiving end first, I know exactly the type of support that is helpful and aim to provide that for them.”
When she’s not working, Lise loves to get her hands dirty by building things, creating gardens, or gathering medicinal plants in wild places. Hiking, swimming, camping, canoeing, singing with friends, and dancing in her kitchen with her kids are some of the ways that she finds peace and joy.
Angela has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Studio Arts as well as a Master’s in Education, providing her with a strong, versatile background in administration and child development. She also received her teaching certification, and taught art at the elementary level for 13 years. In L.A., Angela worked for a nonprofit art school for nearly five years before moving to Austin.
“When I was relocating and found Creative Action, I really loved the social justice aspect of everything they do,” Angela said. “Once I stopped by Creative Action and met the staff, I knew it was a great fit.”
Angela is a Site Coordinator at Cunningham Elementary in South Austin. She says the most enjoyable part of her position is the shift in focus of who she primarily serves.
“This role is a bit different than other roles I’ve had because in the past, I worked one-on-one with students,” Angela said. “But with this role, I get to make strong connections with parents and that’s been the most fun part for me.”
In her free time, Angela enjoys reffing, watching her child skate, hiking with her dogs, painting, and jewelry making.
We’re looking for more creative, caring staff members to join our team in a variety of roles; view our open positions and apply here.