SISLER Create’s Connected Ink 2022 Education Session

Takeaways from SISLER Create’s Connected Ink 2022 Education Session

April 5, 2023

Sisler’s CREATE program is an entertainment arts training program located at Sisler High School, Winnipeg School Division. Founded in 2015, the program provides high school and post-high students with educational and career pathways to the creative industries in Canada and worldwide. Students in the CREATE Program build foundational skills with hardware and software while using a wide range of creative toolsets, including Wacom devices.

During Connected Ink 2022, Wacom hosted a panel discussion featuring two educators who, combined, have secured over $3.5M in funding to support their creative CTE programs — Matthew Waynee, a film and animation professor in LAUSD, and Jamie LeDuc, an animation teacher and the department head of the CREATE program. It also featured two students from the Sisler CREATE program.

In the session, they shared the genesis of their media arts programs, the program’s industry mentorship & internship opportunities, and how it brings job-readiness into focus for students. The educators gave practical advice for how educators can create or expand film, animation and game design programs and gave tips & tricks for securing funding, and the students shared their experiences.

Check out the recording of the session below, as well as some takeaways from the session from Wacom’s Education Specialist.

Four key themes for growing CTE programs and opportunities for students:


  • Start small, and build your internship, mentorships, and apprentice opportunities slowly
  • Industry-focused programs need nurturing just like students do
  • Be flexible about the form that support can take


  • Build community-based partnerships with the arts organizations nearby, so these organizations can learn about your school, your programs, and your students’ needs, talents, and strengths
  • Recognize, promote, and thank your partners publicly
  • Engage your partners in the creation of opportunities for students
  • Use partnerships to introduce students to a range of careers, career paths and specialties in arts-connected fields


  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to creative companies/organizations, like Wacom, to make introductions, build relationships, and ask for support


  • Look for unique opportunities (e.g., dual enrollment for high students in college courses in art, animation, or other creative fields)
  • Use “industry-standard” tools, like Wacom products, and professional-level practices to help students build career-ready skills in creative fields
  • Use partnerships to introduce students to a range of careers, career paths and specialties in arts-connected fields

Featured Presenters:

Jamie LeDuc headshot

Jamie Leduc
Animation Teacher and CREATE Department Head, Sisler High School

Jamie Leduc currently teaches animation at Sisler High School and is the Department Head of the CREATE program. Jamie has over 20 years of experience in developing curriculum and teaching animation, film and game design in public education systems.

Matthew Waynee Headshot

Matthew Waynee
Cinematic Arts Instructor and Grants Writer, Los Angeles Unified School District

A producer, screenwriter, and teacher, Matthew Waynee works in LAUSD at a Title-1 school, where he built its Film and Animation pathways from the ground up. He has written $2M in grants and set up partnerships with DreamWorks and Nickelodeon.

Xierra Cansino headshot

Xierra Cansino
Student, Sisler CREATE Program

As an 18 year-old animator and digital artist in Sisler’s CREATE program, Xierra worked with mentors from Nickelodeon Studios on the Orange Tree Project – where she worked to create an animated short film. Xierra is also working on a series from concept to show bible and received a full-ride scholarship to Vancouver Film School.

Ivan Abrasaldo headshot

Ivan Abrasaldo
Student, Sisler CREATE Program

Ivan is a student in Sisler’s CREATE post-high school program, and has worked on various projects with companies like Wacom and Nickelodeon. He participated in the 24-hour Animation Challenge – where his team got 18th place amongst 200 participating teams, and 3rd place for all high school teams.

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