Hampton teacher hits the high notes
Later in the assembly, which was filled with local dignitaries, including state Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry, and all of the Marston School community, Carlson was awarded this year’s Milken Educator Award in New Hampshire.
Teachers cannot apply or be nominated for the national award, but are selected by a blue ribbon committee appointed by the state Department of Education and are surprised with the award in a school-wide assembly.
Carlson had no idea he was receiving the award, or the $25,000 unrestricted check that comes with it until it happened.
Carlson said he was just a musician in need of a gig when he joined the Marston School staff 14 years ago as an alternate substitute. But he realized how much he loved educating students, and went back to Lesley University a few years later to earn his master’s degree in Integrating the Arts into Education.
Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards, said Carlson is not only helping students to love music, but is reinforcing content areas and helping them to do better academic work through song.
He reviews the academic curriculum students are learning, talks with teachers about where students are struggling, and develops original songs to help them learn that curriculum, whether it is different math terms or more complicated scientific applications.
He has a song about a bad hair day that is focused on weather, and another titled, “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Hypothesize.”
He also develops original musical productions for the students and invites members of the community to enjoy the performances.
Tuesday’s song focused on math terms the students are likely to come across during their statewide assessment testing this week.
Students erupted in cheers and applause when Carlson’s name was announced as the Milken Educator Award recipient.
Carlson said he was happy he put on a suit for “dress for success” day at school on Tuesday, as he had no idea anything like that was going to happen.
He said that without the guidance and support of his colleagues at Marston, he would not be this year’s recipient.
“It’s hard because I’m humbled and feel everyone here deserves it,” Carlson said. “But it makes me feel good to know I’m doing a good job.”
Marston School principal Lois Costa learned about the award two weeks ago.
“They couldn’t have picked a better representative. He’s truly special. He’s got a gift that inspires all of us,” she said.
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Gretyl Macalaster may be reached at email@example.com.
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