Clark Hoelscher2019 Rising Alumni

Clark Hoelscher

Clark Hoelscher intentionally seeks to build community, connection, and joy through their professional and personal efforts. Clark, who has a doctorate in curriculum and instruction, is a Program Specialist for the Out For Equity program in the Saint Paul Public Schools. In that role, they direct school-based LGBTQ+ programs, and work in partnership with LGBTQ+ youth-serving agencies to build leadership opportunities. Clark started a parent advisory council, worked to include an item on gender identity for the Minnesota Student Survey, and co-authored the SPPS Gender Inclusion Policy and Procedures–leading to the nation’s first public school all-gender, multi-stall bathrooms. Their volunteer work includes serving on the national advisory council for GLSEN, participating in the Southside Family School Equity Committee, and joining environmental efforts in South Minneapolis. Clark is grateful to work with so many young people who are changing the world for themselves and others.

Current Job

Out for Equity Program Specialist, Saint Paul Public Schools

CEHD Degree

MEd Curriculum and Instruction, 2006
PhD Curriculum and Instruction, 2014

Please list any professional accomplishments you wish to mention.

I am grateful to be part of the Restorative Practices Steering Committee in the Saint Paul Public Schools, expanding restorative work from a few individuals to changes in schools. I was able to co-author the Saint Paul Public Schools Gender Inclusion Policy and Procedures and have seen that work make an incredible difference for many students. I believe the transgender identity item that I worked on for the Minnesota Student Survey gave voice to the needs of many transgender and gender expansive students.

Volunteer activities

I have been volunteering in educational and community spaces since I was first invited to tutor younger students in fourth grade. I am currently part of the GLSEN National Advisory Council. I served on the Board of the Bisexual Organizing Project. I have worked on numerous LGBTQ+ conference planning teams, including the Q Quest Youth Conference and the 8th International Conference on Bisexuality. I also greatly enjoy volunteering to make and maintain beautiful outdoor spaces.

Awards or honors from collegiate, professional, or volunteer experiences

I received the FIERCE Leadership Award from the Gender and Sexual Diversity Parent Advisory Council, St. Paul Public Schools. I also won the AFSA Way Teaching Award from the Academy for Sciences and Agriculture and the Presidential Scholars Award from the University of Texas. I was named a Jhumki Basu Scholar by the National Association of Research in Science Teaching and a Teacher Education Redesign Initiative Scholar by the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Minnesota. In addition, I spoke at the White House as part of a bisexual community briefing.

What professor(s) or course(s) were most influential during your time in CEHD?

Gillian Roehrig, my doctoral advisor, taught me to work from my core instincts about what will benefit students. Misty Sato continuously invited me into spaces to explore ideas about equity in education. Peter Demerath gave me the opportunity to put my ideas about teaching into practice. Michael Rodriguez taught me that data can be used to transform educational experiences for marginalized students.

What is your favorite memory from the University of Minnesota?

I have incredible memories from my work in the Teacher Education Redesign Initiative. The team of faculty and graduate students I worked with were dedicated to ensuring new teachers were prepared for transforming educational experiences towards social justice.

What was the impact and benefit of your educational experience in CEHD?

My experiences at the University of Minnesota while working on my doctoral studies were exactly what I needed to refine my ideas about what is possible in public schools. I learned to see the whole system and all of the pieces influencing it. I learned that great transformations are possible, but getting to them requires partnership and tenacity.

What skills are important to succeed as an emerging professional today?

I measure success in terms of my students' accomplishments. To ensure my students excel, I must be adaptive, relational, and dedicated in my efforts to transform educational experiences. I believe that great student outcomes manifest when educators partner with students, families, and the community to face challenges and build on aspirations.

Who has inspired you the most during your career?

My students continue to provide me with endless inspiration. I am incredibly grateful to work with so many young people who are changing the world for themselves and others.

When you have 30 minutes of free time, what do you do?

I spend my free time with my kids playing board games or setting out on an adventure outdoors.

How do others describe you?

I have been described as a good listener, kind, compassionate, brilliant, curious, and hard working. I have heard I am stubborn many times. My 8 year old adds that I am very fun!

How do you describe yourself?

I am very loyal and caring. I see things in other people that they may not yet see themselves. I encourage people to show up courageously.

What's a good book you'd recommend to others?

I recommend One Teacher in 10 by Kevin Jennings to all LGBTQ+ identified educators.

If you could have coffee with anyone from history, who would it be?

I would love to have coffee with Josephine Baker and discuss community, family, and hope.

What gets you excited about work?

I love teaching—teaching anything! I am excited about engaging people, inviting them to be curious, and then working with them to make a difference.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a scientist.

Outside of your job, how do you grow professionally?

I read a great deal. I enjoy listening to people's hopes and dreams.

What is a "fun fact" about you?

My favorite animal is the Texas horned lizard.