National TSA Alumni Association President

Front Page Summary: 

The National TSA Alumni Association Is Led by TSA Veteran and Kansas State Advisor, Carolyn Cole


Kansas State Advisor, Carolyn Cole, has devoted much of her educational and professional career to TSA.  A former national TSA treasurer, Carolyn now takes on the role of president in the National TSA Alumni Association.  As national TSA treasurer in 1988, her national officer team was in place when students voted to change name of AIASA to Technology Student Association (TSA).  Mr. Bill Elrod, a founding father of TSA, was her advisor at Madison High School in Kansas.


Carolyn  attended Emporia State University intending to study industrial arts education, but the school dropped the program.  She decided to pursue English instead.  Carolyn was hired to teach English immediately after college, but was asked to “wear many hats”, including coaching, sponsoring clubs, and counseling. After about nine weeks in this position, she moved to a purely English teaching position.


As a college student, Carolyn stayed associated with Kansas TSA by attending and volunteering at Kansas regional and state conferences.  “When I went to teach first at Lebo HS, we had a small chapter and held the state conference at the school.  In 1997/1998 I went back to my alma mater, Madison HS, and began to advise TSA in earnest.  For many years we had the conference in Madison High School or another high school.  I helped to move the state conference to a local university.  Since I was a teenager I have always had a hand in TSA,” Carolyn said  


As her personal life changed with marriage and children, Carolyn always stayed connected with alumni and others affiliated with TSA even when not teaching.  She was offered the state advisor position in 2000 when she was staying home with her third child.   Carolyn said “for so many years my TSA has been my link to education, my link to students.  It became my hobby, and now it is my passion—I still have something to contribute.” 


In these difficult economic times, budget cuts in Kansas limit financial support for chapters from many from school districts.  That doesn’t stop Carolyn’s dedication to TSA. “We keep things going with 10-20 dedicated students and get parents involved.  TSA is the best kept secret, with STEM principals and lots of leadership opportunities.  I want TSA to be the leading, cutting edge career and technical student organization (CTSO).”


Throughout her career and specifically in recent years as the Kansas state advisor, Carolyn has focused on the leadership opportunities available through TSA.  “We always include CTSO training and speakers in the Fall Leadership Conference,” Carolyn said.  Carolyn often works with leadership trainers by providing activities and games for participants to augment the training experience.


Carolyn has worked with Motivated Proformance, Inc. in providing training to the Kansas TSA delegation.  She has spoken at a Texas FCCLA  leadership workshop for teachers and students.  She has also conducted CTSO leadership training in Georgia. Most recently, Carolyn served as a lead trainer at the TSA Leadership Academy at the 2010 national TSA conference in Baltimore, Maryland, assisting with the Academy logistics and coordinating a session.  Carolyn earned The Student Leadership Challenge Certificate of Completion developed by Wiley Publishing.


Carolyn begins a new chapter in her TSA story this year, serving as president of the National TSA Alumni Association. Carolyn explains, “I see my role is to basically coordinate all the activities of the Alumni group. She sees herself as a facilitator working with the TSA Alumni Council, the governing body, to accomplish goals for the organization.   “Alumni can be effective helping lead TSA and facilitate everyone’s dreams.  The older TSA alumni can work with the new and younger alumni to understand what has been done in the past and set goals for the future.”  The alumni council is currently working on the 2010/2011 strategic plan which includes goals related to building alumni membership and increasing awareness about TSA and the National TSA Alumni Association.


“We’ve come from woodworking to evolve into more complex STEM events.  Technology Education means something a little different to everyone, but technology is everywhere.  We are cutting edge, from offering public speaking and leadership to offering what most states recognize as career exploratory while including STEM across the board,” Carolyn said.


“Serving as national TSA treasurer and having state conferences at Madison High School changed me from an average student/person to a multi-tasker.  TSA has helped me professionally understand our educational system and our generations.  Everything I have given to TSA over the years, has come back to me positively tenfold.  It is hard to put into words all that I have given or gained from being involved with TSA, however, the knowledge that I have impacted even one child’s life, even minimally, has made it all worth it.”


The 2010/2011 National TSA Alumni Council Chairs include:

Financial Committee- Michael Ward

Public Relations- Nicole Gagel

Awards- Lindsey Bilbrey

Membership- KC Cushman

Resolutions and Bylaws- Carolyn Cole