Education Task Force Highlight: Beth Carlson

The Education Task Force Highlight Series spotlights education leaders working to create new Certification Standards, education resources, and communication strategies that will benefit all members.

In this highlight, we sit down with the Children’s Specialist Task Force member Beth Carlson.

What task force are you on?

The Children’s Specialist Task Force.

Current snowsports job title?

Trainer and instructor at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming.

Brief bio?

I’ve instructed at Jackson for 33 winters where I’ve worked as a trainer for 16 seasons and been the Children’s Supervisor for five. Jackson honored me as their Instructor of the Year for two winters. I’ve worked as an Intermountain Division Children’s Specialist Division Education and Clinic Leader for 11 years. I’ve also instructed at Snowbird for one season.

Current role on the task force?

Creating the new Children’s Specialists Standards. Specifically, creating the Children’s Specialist people skills standards and reviewing upgrades to the Children’s Specialist 1 e-learning course.

What are the task force’s main goals? 

The Children’s Specialist Task Force’s main goals are to:

  • Develop the new Children’s Specialist Standards that will feature the Learning Connection framework.
  • Revamp the Children’s Specialist 1 e-learning course.
  • Update the Children’s Specialist 1 Teaching Log.
  • Amend the Chilren’s Specialist 1 and 2 question banks.
  • Revamp the Children’s Specialist 2 workbook.

Why is it important to work for the benefit of other members?

Going through the Alpine Level II cert, I observed the process improved my skiing and ability to teach adults, but I was interested in professional development that resonated with my interest in teaching children. So I signed up and attended my first Children’s Symposium in 1993.

It’s the best decision I ever made in my professional career. I found like-minded group and realized that PSIA-AASI had something to offer me to help teach children. It ignited a spark inside me, and I attained my Level III cert and become a children’s trainer.

I was a teacher before working as a ski instructor. My academic degrees include a B.A.S. degree in Biology and Psychology and a M.A. in Education, all from Stanford. After teaching High School Biology, Physics, and Chemistry for a few years, I decided to continue my academic training and applied to PhD programs. While waiting to hear from schools, I moved to Jackson to hang out with an old college buddy, and Pepi Stiegler hired me to run the 3-5 year old ski program.

After a winter of teaching skiing to wee ones, I continued my academic training with a year of doctoral work in Cognitive Studies in Education through a joint program at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon. During that year, I learned a lot about how the brain processes information. But for a host of reasons, I did not complete the PhD program. I returned to teaching skiing and eventually found my way to the Children’s Symposium.

It is important to me to carry on the Children’s Specialist program, to continue to improve educational materials for members pertaining to children and to expand members abilities to positively impact the life of a child. My hope is that my work ignites a spark within PSIA-AASI members the way the Children’s Symposium ignited that spark within me.

What’s the fun factor?

My fun factors are dance parties, rowing through rapids, and skiing fresh powder in the Hobacks.

Best part of being an instructor?

Empowering someone to do something they did not think was possible for them to do.