English Instructor, High School
thomas carlson is a founding member of the Perpich Arts High School faculty where he continues to teach language arts. After earning a B.A. in English from the University of Minnesota and an M.A. in teaching from the University of St. Thomas, he attended St. Mary’s University where he completed coursework toward licensure in secondary administration. Through a National Endowment for the Humanities grant early in his career, he studied Shakespeare through performance at a month-long summer institute in Ashland, Oregon. That formative experience has shaped his pedagogy across his classes, and he continues to ask how the arts can both help students to learn and to demonstrate their learning. He has presented interdisciplinary models of teaching language arts at different regional conferences while his students have shared their work on KFAI radio and on stage at the Walker. thomas is committed to raising each student’s voice in the classroom and beyond. Gender, race, and queer equity have been top priorities in his professional and personal work, and he has shared leadership in regional and statewide equity initiatives in education. As a founding member of the Minnesota School OUTreach Coalition, he helped conceive and organize statewide conferences for queer youth and their allies. Later, he was awarded a grant to take students to the White Privilege Conference in Memphis, TN, and then became part of the leadership team which brought this international anti-racism conference to Minnesota in 2011. In 2013, he helped Breaking Free, a nonprofit organization combating sex trafficking through education and services to women, put on the Demand Change Project conference in St. Paul, MN. Most recently, he was a founding member of the Education Minnesota’s Racial Equity Advocates program. Through this program, he co-creates professional development materials around equity and travels the state leading workshops that help teachers become more culturally competent in their practices. This work of equity has been some of the most important work of his life and, thanks to amazing, empathetic, and generous young people, he continues to learn everyday about his own unconscious biases and how to become a better accomplice in building a more equitable world.