Tom "Teacher Tom" Hobson is an early childhood educator, international speaker, education consultant, teacher of teachers, parent educator, and author. He is best known, however, for his namesake blog "Teacher Tom's Blog, "http://teachertomsblog.blogspot.com/, where he has posted daily for over a decade, chronicling the life and times of his little preschool in the rain soaked Pacific Northwest corner of the US.
For nearly two decades Teacher Tom was the sole employee of the Woodland Park Cooperative School, a parent-owned and operated school, knit together by Teacher Tom's democratic, progressive play-based pedagogy. Teacher Tom came into teaching through the backdoor, so to speak, having enrolled his own child in a cooperative preschool, where he began working daily in his daughter's classroom as an assistant teacher under the tutelage of veteran educators although he'll be the first to tell you that most of what he learned came from the children themselves. When it was time for his daughter to move on, he "stayed behind.”
Today, Teacher Tom travels around the world (Greece, Iceland, Australia, China, Vietnam, New Zealand, Canada, UK, and across the US) sharing his views on early childhood education, play, and pedagogy. He authored his first book, aptly named Teacher Tom’s First Book, http://www.teachertomsfirstbook.com/book.html, and is looking forward to the release of Teacher Tom’s Second Book in April, 2020.
Poet-Activist, Carla Christopher, is a former Poet Laureate of York, Pennsylvania (2011 – 2013) and was the 2014 Arts and Cultural Community Liaison for the City of York. Carla studied psychology, education, and creative writing at Columbia University in the City of New York and spent years as an educator and case manager in domestic violence shelters, state prison systems, and school districts before connecting her belief in the power of the written and spoken word with her passion for activism.
Carla has twice received the key to the city for her community empowerment and education initiatives, which range from founding Equality Fest, a multi-thousand attendee festival in celebration of LGBTQA Marriage Equality, to creating a retailer cultural competency training model for urban renewal business districts. She has been the force behind regional campaigns and activism training curriculum for groups like Food and Water Watch, Put People First - PA, the Y.W.C.A. of York County and several political campaigns. She has designed diversity programming for multiple school districts, businesses, and libraries, and has been a keynote speaker, featured performer and workshop facilitator for dozens of organizations, nonprofits, and educational institutions around the globe, from Rutgers, Penn State, and Northern Arizona University to organizations in Kosovo, Albania, Flint, Chicago, Baltimore, Phoenix and Philadelphia in the last few years alone.
Carla is currently the co-director of Community Arts Ink Press & Promotion, host of the cultural showcase, Culture & Main, on WRCT, and is widely published, including three collections of poetry, Song (Columbia University Press, 2000), Baby, Read Me Something with Rhythm (PoemSugar Press, 2011), Strength (New York Quarterly Press, 2018) and a poetic memoir, Fruit of the Darkest Tree (Community Arts Ink, 2017). She also currently performs with the Poetry/Funk Fusion Band, Groove Ink, and released the EP Of Water Born with the ensemble Poetic Voices in 2015, and the full-length recorded collection, Poetry from the Ashes with Soul Thief Collective in 2017. Carla is an ordained redevelopment/congregational vitality pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) offering progressive, LGBTQIA+ celebrating perspectives on theology that are both Biblical and compassionate.
More about her can be found at carlachristopher.com and communityartsink.org.