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Dr. Thomas Van Soelen

Part-time Faculty, Curriculum and Instruction

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Developing adults has characterized the work of Thomas Van Soelen, Ph.D. for over a decade. His work in the areas of instructional strategies, learning communities, critical friendship, leadership development and teacher evaluation are known in several states and countries. His collaborative practices, quick wit and deep experience make for an engaging and meaningful learning experience. Prior to his full-time work as a professional developer and leadership coach (, Van Soelen worked in multiple states and in public and private schools, teaching every grade level pre-kindergarten through grade 12 at some point in his career. In addition, he prepared undergraduates at Georgia Gwinnett College and the University of Georgia as well as conducting both face-to-face and online courses at the graduate level for three institutions. His most recent school district leadership position was functioning as the associate superintendent in the City Schools of Decatur, Georgia, a post he held for eight years.

Van Soelen is a member of national organizations (AASA, Learning Forward, ASCD) and was elected to serve on the national board of The School Reform Initiative. Several journals, periodicals, and organizations publish his writing: Journal of Staff Development, Principal Leadership, Education Week, School Administrator, NAESP, National School Board Journal, and Phi Delta Kappan. Two full-length books, Crafting the Feedback Teachers Need and Deserve: A Guide for Leaders (Routledge Press) and Meeting Goals: Protocols for Leading Effective, Purpose-Driven Conversations in Schools (Solution Tree Press) form the basis for many of his adult learning sessions.

Van Soelen holds bachelor’s degrees in elementary education, music education and vocal performance from Dordt University (Iowa), a master’s degree in elementary education and an educational specialist degree in educational leadership from Florida Atlantic University, and a doctorate degree in elementary education from the University of Georgia.


  • Doctorate – elementary education – University of Georgia
  • Ed.S. – educational leadership – Florida Atlantic University
  • Master's – elementary education – Florida Atlantic University
  • Bachelor's – elementary education/K-12, choral/instrumental music education – Dordt University

Academic Interests

  • Educator collaboration
  • Observational feedback
  • Leadership development
  • Facilitative leadership


  • eBOARD Solutions, 1st Place Overall Use of eBOARD, 1st Place Best Use of Strategic Plan Module, 2nd Place Best Use of Meetings Module, 2nd Place Best Use of Evaluation Module, May 2013
  • SUPES Academy Graduate, 2012-2013
  • eBOARD Solutions, 2nd Place Overall Use of eBOARD, 3rd Place Best Use of Meetings Module, 3rd Place Best Use of Evaluation Module, 3rd Place Best Use of Strategic Plan Module, May 2012
  • National School Boards Association and Digital School Districts Survey, Mid-Sized Student Population Category, 6th place, April 2012, 2013
  • Georgia School Press Release Association, Gold Award, Embedding Some CLASS into Teacher Evaluation, December 2011
  • Georgia School Press Release Association, Silver Award, 2010-2011 Annual Report, December 2011
  • eBOARD Solutions, Best Use of Meetings Module, 2nd Place Best Use Overall, May 2011
  • ASCD Outstanding Young Educator Award Exemplary Nominee, 2010
  • Cambridge Who's Who Among Executives and Professionals in the field of Education and Research, 2009
  • Superintendent’s Award of Excellence, 2009
  • Cambridge Who's Who Among Professionals in Education, Honors Edition, 2009
  • Cambridge Who's Who Among Professionals in Education, Honors Edition, 2006
  • Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, 2005
  • University of Georgia Career Center, Distinguished Service Award, April 2005
  • Four Star Award Nominee, Clarke County School District, September 2004
  • Henry H. Hill Laureate Doctoral Scholarship in Educational Administration and Supervision, Kappa Delta Pi International Educational Foundation, August 2003
  • Kappa Delta Epsilon award for service to education and undergraduate students in the College of Education, University of Georgia, 2002
  • Harold Drummond Scholarship in Elementary Education, Kappa Delta Pi International Educational Foundation, August 2002
  • Del Jones Memorial Scholarship, University of Georgia, July 2002
  • National School Reform Faculty Critical Friends Groups Coaches' Training Fellowship, July 2002
  • Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, University of Georgia, April 2002
  • Minnie J. Dahm Music Scholarship, Dordt College, 1992
  • Honors Scholarship, Dordt College, 1989-1993
  • Music Activity Scholarship, Dordt College, 1989-1993

Professional Affiliations

  • Learning Forward
  • American Association for School Administrators
  • Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
  • Georgia Association of Educational Leaders
  • Georgia Association of Curriculum and Instruction Supervisors