Thomas enjoys creating and participating in collaborative experiences everywhere he goes – as president of Van Soelen & Associates, a professional development and coaching firm in Atlanta, Georgia; a national facilitator for the School Reform Initiative; and as a music director at his local church. Van Soelen draws on his pre-K-12 teaching experiences in Iowa, California, and Florida as well as time spent preparing undergraduates and graduate students at several institutions. After several teaching and leading experiences, he most recently served as the associate superintendent in City Schools of Decatur (GA). One of his major areas of focus involves improving the effectiveness and efficiency of learning communities, particularly using discussion protocols. He also coaches leaders how to write observational feedback that teachers crave and find helpful. His most recent book, Crafting the Feedback Teachers Need and Deserve: A Guide for Leaders, offers insight into a five-year implementation of those skills in a school district.
This conference was first class all the way. It helped me get a better understanding of many of the various aspects of professional learning and what it looks like across the country/world. I had heard nothing but positive comments about this conference and it did not disappoint. I appreciate all of the learning opportunities and the support of the staff.— 2018 Attendee
Of all the professional organizations, Learning Forward is the only one where I truly belong as a professional learning advocate. Here, I know that my growth truly matters as it impacts the success of the students in my district and beyond.— Amanada Ball