Minnesota Community Education Association

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MCEA Administrative Licensure Scholarship AND MCEA Brett Carlson Memorial Student Scholarship

Minnesota Community Education Association Administrative Licensure Scholarship

The Minnesota Community Education Association (MCEA) Administrative Licensure Scholarship has been created to promote and enable excellence in the field of community education by providing financial assistance to MCEA members that are pursuing their Community Education Director’s License. Applicants must also display excellence in their abilities, leadership qualities, job experience and commitment to the community education field. Up to three scholarships in the amount of $1000.00 each will be provided.

  • Must be a member of MCEA
  • Must be currently employed in the community education field
  • Must be currently enrolled in a licensure program at the time of application submission
  • Must provide documentation of licensure program completion prior to receiving the scholarship funds
    • Work/volunteer experience in community education field (up to 20 pts)
    • Responses to questions (up to 20 pts)
    • Recommendation (up to 10 pts)

Total of 50 pts possible

  • Application form
  • Responses to application questions
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Statement verifying enrollment in an approved program
  • Completed scholarship applications must be submitted by November 30.

MCEA Brett Carlson Memorial Student Scholarship

The Minnesota Community Education Association (MCEA) Brett Carlson Memorial Student Scholarship has been created to provide financial assistance to a high school senior or current college freshman, pursuing a college program related to community education. Applicants must also display involvement in their local community education program. Scholarships are awarded in amounts up to $1000 to be used towards course fees, books, or room & board.

Brett Carlson was a long time educator and coach who passed away in 2022. Brett taught at Apple Valley High School, Champlin Park High School and White Bear Lake Area High School-North Campus. He enjoyed building relationships and making connections with students in the classroom. Brett also enjoyed coaching and mentoring youth. Brett transitioned into Educational Leadership, and served several administrative roles including Director of Athletics, Activities, and Community Education and Co-Director of Early Learning. He worked at North Branch Area High School, Lakeville North High School, and North Branch Area Public Schools Education Center. Brett was truly a servant leader and individual, who always put others first. His powerful message was that regardless of who you are, “You’re part of the story.”

  • Must be employed or volunteer in their local community education program.
  • Must be pursuing an area of study related to community education .
  • Related work experience (up to 15 pts)
  • Professional contributions to the field of community education (up to 10 pts)
  • Responses to questions (up to 20 pts)
  • Recommendations (up to 5 pts)

Total of 50 pts possible

  • Scholarship Application form
  • Scholarship Recommendation Form
  • Statement verifying enrollment in an approved program
  • Resume that includes a listing of professional and volunteer experience.
  • Completed scholarship applications must be submitted by November 30.

“Brett was a fantastic listener and mentor to anyone who asked.”

- Brian-Siverson-Hall, Executive Director of Community Engagement, Osseo Area Schools

“I always appreciated Brett’s positivity and his willingness to be active and involved to support kids and the community. He had a strong ability to bring people together and have fun with whatever you were working on. Everytime we left a meeting, coffee, breakfast, whatever… he always said “Be good.” Not sure if this was his intent, but after hearing that I always left with a drive to be good and do good for others.”

- Tim Maurer, Director of Community Services & Recreation, White Bear Lake Area Schools

“Brett was always a positive and inspirational influence, who was there to listen and help guide whenever needed. He put kids first and made everyone he came in contact with feel special and appreciated. Brett was the epitome of a servant leader who lived a life of empathy, compassion, selflessness and humility.”

- Joel Dahl, Director of Community Education Services, Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools

“Brett Carlson was a truly unique and inspirational person. I've never met a person who faced life with a more positive attitude, or someone who genuinely cared about others like he did. In fact, it could be easy to forget the challenges he was facing during his battle with cancer because he just simply refused to let it dictate his existence. Knowing him, being a witness to his joy for life and the happiness he took in the people around him has changed me forever. The phrase "happy warrior" doesn't do him justice but it's as close as I can get.

Brett loved meeting new people. Once he and I were talking about the high school boys basketball tournament. He would work the tournaments so he could enjoy the atmosphere and the games. He joked about his own high school basketball career and the 18 seconds he got to play in the state tournament once, when the game was all but over and well in hand for White Bear. On this particular day I mentioned to him that I had an old friend, Dane, whose son was playing in the tournament. This friend and I went back to the earliest days of childhood but had gone different directions in adulthood. I hadn't seen him in 15 years at least. That night I received a text from Brett...a selfie with him and Dane in the stands at the state tournament. Brett had taken the trouble to watch Dane's son during his game and look for people in the stands that seemed like they were there for him. When he had a good candidate he walked down, introduced himself, had what I understand to be a wonderful conversation, and took that photo.

The acts of kindness I received from Brett in his life are too many to count. The greatest act of kindness he left me with though, is that he put me on a journey to rediscovering God in my life. I thank him for that every day and I know, even though he never got to know that in life, somewhere he is fist-pumping with joy for me.”

- Patrick Tepoorten, Community Relations Coordinator, North Branch Area Public Schools

“Brett was gracious and kind to everyone he met. He did emergency management as did I so we found that our paths crossed for several reasons. We laughed together and gritted our teeth together when we faced challenges.  Regardless of the challenge he always approached it as an opportunity.”

- Annette Sallman, Executive Director of Community Services, Stillwater Area Public Schools

“I knew Brett to be someone of the utmost integrity and consistently positive. His smile was infectious, his energy contagious and you immediately felt better just being around him. I miss being in meetings with him.  His reputation was stellar – I know the athletic directors here spoke so highly of him – still do.”

- Khia Bruse, Director of Community Education, ISD 196

“Brett was a one of a kind person.  He was a collaborator, confidant, authentic and a motivator.  He would encourage and help anyone he came in contact with, he was a true community educator.”

- Seth Ryan, Director of Community Engagement, Brooklyn Center Community Schools

“Brett Carlson was a leader who believed deeply in the power of community and inclusivity in education, and one who focused on creating a welcoming environment where everyone felt valued and essential to our collective story. He built meaningful relationships and fostered community wherever he was, and his spirit of servant leadership impacted me in my multiple interactions with him!  His desire to connect and learn alongside other Community Education leaders in our state was invaluable!”

- Carrie Cabe, Assistant Director of Community Engagement, Osseo Area Schools

“Brett was one of the most humble people I have ever known. Always put everyone before him. A smile that could light up a room. Loved his wife and 2 daughters so much. Loved to take trips with his family. MSHSL Football will not be the same without Brett as he worked the MSHSL Football tournament every year. Amazing sense of humor. Cared about all of his employees and their families like they were his own. One of the best things I learned from Brett is "Everyone has a story". We often joke in the office when things were not so good and Brett would always tell us "It's all good and it will work out". And of course it always would workout just like he said  it would! North Branch Area Community Education is not the same without Brett and he will not be forgotten here.”

- Joan Audette, Community Education Administrative Assistant, North Branch Area Public Schools

“Brett Carlson was one of the most genuine people I have ever met. He was not only a boss but a friend and confidant. He always had the largest smile on his face no matter what kind of day it was. He greeted people and children with an abundance of peace and acceptance that made you feel so special. Brett would listen without judgment to any concern or question.

Brett would often stop into my office 1-2 times a week just to chat and check in on how I was doing. He would also be sure to come and see me before he left for the day to say "Hey! I'm out to have a great night or have a great weekend see ya Monday"!  And he would leave with a smile and a wave. He would begin his day the same. Always stopping in to say good morning, checking in and making sure I had what I needed or was doing good.

I miss our chats and the hello's and the I'm out's from Brett. He will always be remembered as the guy who said it best "It's all good, it will work out". There weren't a lot of things that could shake him up or give him a bad day. The positive outlook he had on all things is something I will strive to be like daily.”

- Ashley Diederichs, Youth Connections Secretary, North Branch Area Public Schools


Brett Carlson was my "Bud." While I was his supervisor for years, I was also his friend and he was mine. We shared a love for all things Minnesota, especially sports and activities. Brett and I were armchair quarterbacks every Monday morning in the fall and winter when we would analyze football games. We were avid fans all year long of whichever activity was in season for the students in our school district. Brett and I celebrated family and took great pleasure in knowing each other's spouses and children. Brett loved deeply and let others know of his affection for them. If you were his friend, you knew it. When our careers went in different directions, our friendship remained. I have vivid memories of his smile, his inclination to take and post selfies before many of us knew what he was up to, and his fierce desire to live. Brett modeled hope and resilience in the face of a dire and devastating diagnosis. He was a spiritual and humble man who modeled kindness and integrity. I miss Brett and know that I was privileged to have Brett Carlson as one of my Buds.

Deb Henton, Ed.D. 
Executive Director
MN Association of School Administrators (MASA)

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