ABOUT NICOLENicole Duslak (CREATE Founder and Head of School) had been dreaming about revolutionizing education for years, but it was the experience of having a gifted, creative young son with limited primary school options that prompted her to take the leap and bring her vision to life in central Florida.
Nicole holds a BFA in Fine Arts, an M.Ed. in Secondary Education, and an M.Ed in Education Leadership and Policy Studies and is an award-winning educator with extensive administration experience who has been involved with the education system from kindergarten through higher education. She has published work in school counseling, arts integration, the Pearson Formative Writing Assessments, and the Drama Standards for the state of Florida.
Nicole brings to central florida education "Relationship-Centered Leadership." Her empathy, integrity, passion for creative development, and desire to improve both education options and leadership standards have made CREATE Conservatory the new rising star in Lake County schools.
Amber Karlins (CREATE Conservatory Board Chair) is an award-winning writer and educator who works in a variety of styles, mediums, and genres. As a screenwriter, she has won nearly 2-dozen international awards, including Best Screenplay at the Charleston International Film Festival. Her nonfiction writing has been published everywhere from McSweeney's Internet Tendency to Oxford University Press, and her book-length work of creative nonfiction, My Year of Living Fearlessly, was published by Gollehon Books in 2011. She is also a novelist and produced playwright.
In 2015, she also began serving as a contributing editor at the Heroine Collective, a London-based web magazine dedicated to sharing the stories of extraordinary women throughout history. That project has inspired a children's book, which is forthcoming. In addition to her work with the Heroine Collective, she also volunteers her time as a writer with the United Nations, where she has helped edit and create content for NGOs working to increase access to quality education and break the generational cycle of poverty.
When she's not writing, Amber is busy working as a full-time professor of English at Lake-Sumter State College, where she teaches courses in composition, creative writing, theatre, literature and film. In 2017, she was named the Association of Florida College's Professor of the Year in recognition of her innovative, engaging instructional practices. She is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of South Florida, and she holds a master's degree in Drama from Tufts University.