Kendo L. Carlson

Washington Elementary School
Minot Public Schools
Minot, North Dakota

In his 12 years as an administrator, Kendo Carlson has supported the district integration of a small, formerly independent school, facilitated a temporary merger of two schools following a natural disaster, and navigated the complexities of schooling during an unprecedented global pandemic. Each of these situations would test the resolve of any leader, and Carlson has approached each with calm, openness, and a steadfast commitment to meeting the needs of students experiencing poverty. Under his leadership, Washington Elementary School, where he has served as principal for the last nine years, received a five-year Full Service Community Schools grant that has allowed the school to offer critical services for families, such as a targeted case management program, and pilot several initiatives that have since been adopted at the district level, including the Second Step social-emotional curriculum and the Panorama data platform. In his quest to ensure that all students have the support they need for success, Carlson has intentionally invested in the leadership and professional development of teachers, adopting the Marzano teacher evaluation method and partnering with the International Center for Leadership in Education for professional coaching that emphasizes strategic lesson planning, among other skills. Prior to becoming a principal, Carlson served North Dakota students as a school counselor for 15 years. He holds an M.Ed. from North Dakota State University and a B.S. in Elementary Education from Minot State University.