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Carlson speaking at Winter Commencement

Lincoln Public Schools administrator Jessie Tucker Carlson will be the featured speaker at Doane College’s upcoming Winter Commencement ceremony.

About 100 graduate students will receive degrees on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 1 p.m. in the George and Sally Haddix Recreation and Athletic Center at Doane College’s School of Arts and Sciences in Crete.

The ceremony honors students in the Master of Arts in Counseling, Master of Arts in Management and Master of Education programs.

About the Speaker:

Jessie Tucker Carlson ’99, ’02E, ’05E

Carlson came to Doane College from Waverly, a talented athlete recruited by former women’s basketball coach Gene Steinmeyer. She joined the Gamma Phi Iota Sorority, played on conference champion and national tournament-qualifying basketball teams and began her undergraduate career as a biology major. But education courses consistently pulled her to teaching, something that was also in her family tree. Her mother, Jan, recently retired from a long career as a physical education and health instructor at Lincoln East High School, and her namesake great grandmother earned a teaching degree.

In 1999, Carlson completed her Bachelor of Science degree in biology and physical education with secondary certification, followed by Doane’s Master of Education in Curriculum in 2002 and Master of Education in Educational Leadership in 2005. She credits great colleagues, mentors and three pieces of key advice for the rising career that has followed.

The first advice led her to pick an eighth grade science opening at Norris Public Schools as her first teaching position. Although she also taught high school biology and served as assistant coach for the varsity girls’ basketball team, she fell in love with the middle school environment and its collaborative teaching approach to educating the whole child. 

The second piece of advice told her to try for administrative roles even though she never pictured herself leaving the classroom.

The third piece of advice urged her to push her boundaries and leave her comfort zone. So Carlson left Norris to become an instructional coordinator and an associate principal at Lincoln High School – a school, she said, “where you feel purposeful, serving kids who need adults to be there for them 110 percent every day.” Its diversity taught her empathy and the importance of earning trust in order to teach.

“Before that, I really had no idea the impact diversity plays on a kid’s life and that in order to help them learn, you have to know their story and what they bring with them to school,” Carlson said.

In 2013, after seven years at Lincoln High School, Carlson returned to middle school education to serve as principal of Lefler Middle School, where their mission is “Building a Community of Learners.”

Carlson’s career also includes years of educational and community experiences in which she was a  coach, a dedicated diversity advocate, a mentor, an initiator of programs such as student-led middle school conferences and a coordinator of at-risk programs for Lincoln High. She is known for her commitment to building relationships with all educational stakeholders – students, families, staff and communities – which builds trust and allows for deeper, more meaningful work for every child and their success.

Her professional involvement includes membership in the Nebraska State Association of Secondary School Principals and the Nebraska Council of School Administrators. In October, she was honored as Doane’s Alumni Educator-of-the-Year-Award at the Alumni Awards Banquet during Homecoming.

Carlson’s family includes husband and fellow educator, Andrew; son, Mason; daughter, Ella; parents, John and Jan Tucker; brother and sister-in-law, Ben and Erica Tucker, and niece, Berkley.

You can view a live feed of Winter Commencement here.