Jeff M. Poulin is an American educationalist, cultural administrator, and social entrepreneur whose work is grounded in social justice and seeks transformative local solutions to complex global challenges.
Jeff is the founder and Managing Director of Creative Generation, a values-driven global collective that believes that youth create change. The organization serves as both a learning and capacity building organization that collaborates with young creatives and those who cultivate their creativity to take local actions towards global changes in pursuit of a more just world. In this role, he is responsible for the organization’s fidelity to its mission, vision, values, and goals, while overseeing a portfolio of large-scale projects with a focus on public policy and global impact.
Jeff is a leading thinker in the arenas of arts/culture, education, and public policy, frequently speaking at conferences and universities across the country and around the globe. He has addressed audiences ranging from student groups to attendees at the World Alliance for Arts Education, the World Youth Forum, the U.S. Department of Education, the American Educational Research Association, and over 250 regional and national arts and education convenings. In 2019, Jeff led an effort to establish the first-ever Young & Emerging Leaders Forum for the World Alliance for Arts Education. He is currently or has been affiliated as adjunct faculty at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, City College of New York in New York City, and American University in Washington, D.C.
Prior to this work, Jeff led the Arts Education Program at the U.S.’ leading arts service organization, where he worked to advance local, state, and federal policies supportive of equitable access to arts education throughout the United States. During his tenure, Jeff contributed to the growth and sustainability of the Arts Education Program’s efforts to build leadership, advance policy, and support the arts education ecosystem nationwide. In 2019, he published a landmark leadership development framework and accompanying curriculum and trained over 10,000 people annually in all 50 states. His work as a researcher and policy wonk led to numerous publications, including the revolutionized Creative Youth Development Toolkit. Additionally, Jeff mobilized support from across the field by fostering numerous strategic national partnerships in the arts, education, and public policy sector. Through his grassroots work, National Arts in Education Week – the congressionally designated celebration of the transformative power of the arts in education – reached new heights in over 800 communities and reached over 65 million people on social media.
With over a decade of experience as a performer, teaching artist, education researcher, and arts administrator, Jeff is a recognized leader. He has led arts & cultural policy and education initiatives in the U.S. and abroad, with companies, agencies, and organizations like the World Alliance for Arts Education/UNESCO, LiveNation, the Irish Ministries of Arts and Education, Americans for the Arts, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, political campaigns, and local nonprofit organizations. Additionally, he is a founding board member of the Innovation Collaborative and served as President of the Board of Dancing Classrooms DC from 2019-22.
Beginning in high school, Jeff was actively involved in the arts and youth empowerment. In 2006, he was simultaneously awarded a national title for achievement in tap dance and was brought on as youth staff at the Maine Youth Action Network. While touring the country, Jeff refined his skills as an advocate and worked with youth and adults to pass legislation to require youth to sit on the Maine State Board of Education; he collaborated with the arts community to found a nonprofit organization, Perform For a Cure; and was elected to serve as the Governor of the New England District of Key Club International, the world’s largest student service organization.
Over time, he has remained connected to his first love of dance. From 2018-2020, Jeff worked as a director for the London-based Ultimate Dance Showcase UK and since 2018, he has served as the Director of Education for Dancers Inc Competitions and Conventions: The Next Generation. In 2018, he founded the Dancers Inc. Foundation.
Additionally, Jeff has been a reviewer for a variety of grantmaking organizations like the federal Institute for Museum and Library Services, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council; as an adjudicator for the Young Audiences National Teaching Artist Credential; and as a research reviewer for ArtsEdSearch. His work has been published in scholarly journals, as part of conference proceedings, independently, and through online blogs.
His contributions to the field of arts, culture, and education have been recognized in the U.S. and abroad, including awards from the Union of Students of Ireland, the Oklahoma City University Alumni Association (30 Under 30), Kiwanis International, Key Club International, the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, and his hometown school board. In 2021, he received a fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts and the Humanities and was selected as an Arts & Culture Fellow by the Salzburg Global Seminar.
Jeff hails from Portland, Maine and earned degrees in arts management, cultural policy, and education at Oklahoma City University, University College Dublin, and the University of Glasgow.