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Laura Thomas

Antioch University New England

I am currently involved in research around the experiences of students and educators in rural environments, particularly in the areas of social justice. Additionally, I am continuing my work in the study of school change (particularly resistance to change) as well as student advocacy and engagement in the change process.

(From Marge Piercy’s Circles on the Water, 1982)

The people I love the best jump into work head first without dallying in the shallows and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight. They seem to become natives of that element, the black, sleek heads of seals bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, as ox, to a heavy cart, who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience, who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward.

I want to be with people who submerge in the task, who go into the fields to harvest and work in a row and pass the bags along, who are not parlor generals and field deserters but move in a common rhythm when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud. Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust. But the thing worth doing well done has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident. . . Greek amphoras for wine or oil, Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums but you know they were made to be used. The pitcher cries for water to carry and a person for work that is real.

Educational History

  • MEd, Antioch University New England
  • BS, University of Missouri

My interests include school change, particularly resistance to change, student involvement in and perspective on the school experience, arts education and service learning.

Four Keys to Quality Professional Learning, New Hampshire Journal of Education, 2015

How About We Talk About ‘Grit’ for Policymakers and School Leaders?, Education Week: Teaching Ahead: A Roundtable, March 19, 2014

Flavor of the Month, PDK International: Learning on the EDge, September 2013

10 Good Ways to Ensure Bad Professional Learning,, August 2013

The Monster at the End of the Common Core, Teacher Education Week, May 2013

Student-driven classrooms: Who does the hard work of learning?, Southeastern Education Network, November 2012

From Experience to Meaning:The Critical Skills Program Phi Delta Kappan, October 2009

Real Community, Laura Thomas, Antiochracy, October 2009

Being Present: Mindfulness and Yoga at Westminster Center School Horace, Summer 2008, Vol. 24 No. 2

More Than just the Sum of It’s Parts: The Critical Skills Model Phi Lambda Theta, June/ July 2008

A Personal Moment Leads to a Professional Awakening, Journal of Staff Development, Spring 2008

In Praise of Reinventing the Wheel, Kappan Magazine, April 2008

Mission Control (or The Fork Debate) Education Week, August 10, 2005
(reprinted as Mission Control- Teacher Magazine, October 1, 2005)

The Buffy Factor Education Week, June 11, 2003

In addition to vein the Director of the Antioch Center for School Renewal, I am an active school coach and staff developer, conducting workshops and institutes nationally on the subjects of school change, resistance, assessment, experiential learning, and the creation of collaborative learning communities, among other topics. I also serve as a Community Facilitator for Edutopia and am the person behind @CriticalSkills1 on Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Google+

Laura Thomas

Teaching Faculty,


Director of Antioch Center for School Renewal, ACSR,



Courses Taught

  • Instructional Design
  • School Facilities and Finance
  • Critical Skills Level 1 Institute
  • School Change Assessment
  • Social and Political Issues in Education
  • Experiential Learning

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