Cougar Creativity Conference





Get excited- the Cougar Creativity Conference is taking place February 22-23rd, 2023. The goal of this conference is to provide interactive and fun presentations related to various fields of study.  The hope is that these presentations will pique the interests of our students and stimulate them to think about creativity in their futures while encouraging them to grow COUGAR STRONG. Each grade level will have the opportunity to hear three presenters discussing creativity within art, food, technology, product creation, and writing. These professionals will showcase how they channeled their love and passion into a profession.


The presenters for the 2023 Cougar Creativity Conference are as follows:

  • Ryan Hittie - Joined the Innovation and Operational Technology Department at Brasfield & Gorrie in 2018. Ryan graduated from Auburn University in 2012 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Prior to joining Brasfield & Gorrie, Ryan was Director of Operations for a large drone services provider. He is currently working to scale Brasfield & Gorrie's drone operations by applying his experience to training and daily operations across the southeast and is also involved in the company's laser-scanning and .60-degree documentation initiatives. Ryan is also a voting member of ASTM's Committee F38 on Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
  • William Canty - originally from Birmingham, Alabama, is the Creative Director at AGENCY54. He brings expertise from his fine arts background and previous entrepreneurial ventures to every creative project. William is a graduate of the Alabama School of Fine Arts and an alumnus of Atlanta College of Art and the University of Alabama at Brimingham. His diverse skill set includes management, marketing strategy, design, and online advertising. His broad range of talents and extensive industry knowledge make him an invaluable asset in the creative field. 
  • Jonathan Miller - lives in Charleston, South Carolina with his wife and two young sons. He visits schools around the country (more than 200 per year), speaking to students about reading, writing, art, and bookmaking. Ask him to tell you about some of his experiences in the classroom- he has some hilarious tales! Miller has also spoken at the Savannah Book Festival, SC Book Festival, and Capital Bookfest. His work has been featured on PBS, the hit Lifetime show Army Wives, and the podcast A Thousand and One Goodnights, as well as in numerous publications. 
  • Jimmy Diresta - is a New York-based Maker, artist, and video producer. He does it all- he creates, he builds, he makes ideas come to life. He began his career as a toy designer with a company/store in the East Village which created Gurglin' Gutz. a rubber toy replicating a miniature human organ. He went on to teach at the School of Visual Art. He has since written a book Workshop Mastery with Jimmy Diresta. He also has hosted several shows including Trash to Can and Dirty Money. He is best known for his Netflix series, Making Fun.
  • Ashley McMakin - before Ashley Mac's was a southern staple, it was just Ashley in a kitchen in Bluff Park, Alabama, feeding friends and neighbors. Raised by talented southern cooks, she has a lot to share. Ashley Mac's cafes were born, alongside her children, serving craveable classics, plus freezer meals moms depended on. Five cafes and three kids later, Ashley and Andy McMakin are still growing the Ashley Mac's brand. Ashley Mac's Kitchen continues to serve hand-crafted southern food to the community. in 2012, Ashley received the Small Business and Entrepreneur of The Year Award, and in 2022, she proudly earned the prestigious Gold Alabama Retailer of the Year title. 
  • Susan Walker - is a self-taught artist. After a career in nursing, she picked up a paintbrush as an outlet to her creative side. Her painting style is primarily abstract, using mostly acrylic paint but dabbing with oils, often playing with various textures and color combinations. Having grown up near Lake Lanier in North Georgia, she has always been drawn to the beauty and serenity of the waterfront, thus her love to paint landscapes.