Our Story

Sometimes it takes a set of fresh eyes to see things with an objective perspective. In CIC’s case, one summer, a motivated parent/community member initiated a discussion focusing on possible improvements that might be worth considering at his local high school. The parent reached out to faculty and staff who he hoped would be interested in a design review of the school and campus. The only person who responded to his invitation (initially sent to 20 staff members) was the chair of the high school’s Art Department. The art teacher was skeptical. She anticipated this was a well-intentioned parent whose ideas would not work and was taking up valuable time and resources. Their initial meeting was held at the school attended by the parent, the art teacher and a school administrator. It was initially scheduled for forty-five minutes. Fortunately, the art teacher recognized the great possibilities and the meeting lasted 2 1/2 hours!!

Steven Sass and Andersen Thorp, Creative Improvement Council founders/directors

Steven Sass and Andersen Thorp

From this modest beginning, the parent (Steven Sass) and the art teacher (Andersen Thorp) launched the Creative Improvement Council. We are sharing our CIC story and journey. Having worked with several schools, it became immensely apparent how a “team” can make significant improvements for everyone at their facilities. Change is challenging. Using CIC’s book as a compass, you will navigate your transformation successfully. What will be your story?

Steven Sass and Andersen Thorp

CIC Founders/Directors

Steven Sass, custom cabinet shop owner and former soccer coach

Steven Sass

Custom cabinet shop owner and former soccer coach

Developing a design and custom cabinet business in Vermont led to his team’s work being featured on the cover of This Old House magazine. His interests in the arts stems from a family background steeped in an appreciation and understanding of visual interpretation.

After having success in soccer and tennis at Middlebury College and then (briefly) playing pro soccer, he began his fine woodworking career. For over forty-five years he continues to combine his interests in art and design, sports and coaching.

These factors inspired him to help establish the non-profit “Creative Improvement Council,” which uses the arts as a vehicle for positive change. His goals are to help schools, businesses, and communities develop strategies that engage and inspire their stakeholders and make the world a better place for everyone.

Andersen Thorp, artist, educator, and historian

Andersen Thorp

Artist, Educator, and Historian

Andersen has taught art for over forty years in public and private schools in Vermont and Philadelphia. She’s received numerous artistic and scholarly awards including a Fulbright Memorial Fund Award to Japan. In 2016, Andersen was named “National Art Teacher of the Year” by Creative Outlook magazine.

Andersen earned a bachelor’s degree in Art Education from Moore College of Art and Design and a Masters degree in Liberal Studies from Dartmouth College. A person of multiple interests, talents, and passions, she is an authority on the life and times of the U.S. Senator Justin Morrill, father of the Land-Grant College Act. She’s appeared on television and radio programs throughout the United States and lectured(s) at colleges and universities on Senator Morrill and his contributions to America’s higher education for the working-class.