A Tale of a Serial Educator
Growing up in South Kansas City, Tracy Henrichson Carlson ’76 always considered herself a homebody. She never ventured far from home and enrolled at Avila primarily because it was in the neighborhood. She knew she wanted to be a teacher and that Avila had a strong education program. Little did she know that this seemingly simple decision would change her life.
During her years at Avila, Tracy became friends with classmates from different cities and backgrounds, which sparked a desire to venture beyond Kansas City. Upon graduation, Tracy accepted a position with the Kansas City, Missouri, public schools, but that post was short-lived. She by chance, saw an advertisement for teachers to work on Native American reservations. Emboldened by her new network of college friends and her passion for education, she accepted a position on an Arizona reservation. For someone who had never left home, this was a huge step. Tracy hopped in her car and never looked back.
Tracy’s nearly 50-year career in special education spanned tribal schools, public schools, and Catholic schools throughout central and southern Arizona as a teacher, counselor, and consultant. She has retired three times but always returns to her calling in education. “Maybe this time it will stick!” she remarked about her most recent retirement.
Tracy credits Avila for her passion for education and serving those in need. “I was able to teach all grades with confidence, from Kindergarten through high school, because of the broad coursework offered by Avila. The Education Department was so wonderful, as well as the Psychology Department, where I learned various counseling strategies.”
As a way to give back to Avila and help foster the passion of future teachers, Tracy is funding the Tracy Henrichson Carlson ’76 Scholarship in her estate plans. With a bequest in her trust, Tracy has named Avila to create a scholarship for those students majoring in Special Education. “The world needs more Avila-trained teachers.”