skip to main content


By Brandon Roeder

Crayola Logo         

Nancy Russell is one of 20 elementary and middle school principals from across the nation who has been selected by Crayola and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) to receive a “Champion Creatively Alive Children” school grant. Russell is principal of Creedmoor Elementary School of the Arts in Creedmoor, NC. Crayola and NAESP together selected 20 schools to receive the grants, which will fund innovative programs aimed at fostering children’s critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication skills.

The Champion Creatively Alive Children grants are intended to help schools build creative capacity, nurture children’s creativity and inspire other schools to do the same. Creedmoor School of the Arts received a $2,500 monetary grant and $1,000 worth of Crayola products. Russell will share outcomes from their program via NAESP’s website and a special Principal Magazine Supplement to help other principals develop promising practices related to arts education.

This rural school has a deep commitment to art-integration and community engagement. Their desire to deepen the connection to community led them out of their building. Their voracious appetite for learning led them to use the Crayola webinars and creativity/critical thinking workshops. They plan on taking the Champion Creatively Alive Children videos and exercises out to the community—sparking conversations in church social halls and with housing complex managers. Their influence spreads when respect for children’s creativity is echoed by pastors and landlords.

“Crayola believes that for students to reach their full potential and grow into self-motivated learners, their creativity and critical thinking skills must be nurtured. We believe children develop these 21st century skills when educators ignite their imaginations through art infused education,” said Smith Holland, Crayola president and chief executive officer.

The Champion Creatively Alive Children grant program asks principals to explore a “what if…” learning opportunity. For example, what if arts-infused learning thrived every day in schools? What if schools relied more on project-based authentic assessment rather than standardized tests? What if parents and schools found ways to document and articulate the value of creative experiences? The entries were judged on innovation, collaboration, and sustainability.

“Principals understand the value of using arts-infused education to ignite deep learning for all students,” said NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly. “We’re proud to work with Crayola and the Champion Creatively Alive Children grant program to provide schools with this unique opportunity for resources to enhance students' creativity and success, providing them the type of complete and well-rounded education that they deserve.”

To view the complete list of the 20 Champion Creatively Alive Children grant recipients, visit

ADA Compliance Errors 0