About Tom Kertes


I am a middle school teacher in the North Coast region of BC, in the territory of the Gispaxlo’ots and Gits’iis of the Ts’msyen Nation (Prince Rupert, BC). I currently teach Grade 7 and Drama 8 at Prince Rupert Middle School.

I have taught children, youth, and adults of all ages for over fifteen years, including preschoolers and kindergarteners, elementary and middle school students, high school students, and adult students as an instructor of Early Childhood Education and as a keynote and workshop presenter.

I teach by engaging students through high expecations, hard work, and rigour. Students learn the skills and theories required to think, write, read, compute, and be powerful.

I use a variety of teaching methods, including direct instruction, drills and routines, inquiry-based projects, crtical thinking, reading and writing, and rigourous self-assessment. Together, we use the fundamentals of reading, writing, and mathematics to understand ourselves and our place in the world. We find our voice and we use it.

My teaching methods focus on supporting self-discipline, skill development, reflection, community, and application. The students and I make their thinking and learning visible by writing and reflecting on their own theories for how and why things are as they are. We document our learning through photos, written reflections, drawings, tables, charts, graphs, leasrning stories, dialouges, and research papers.

I graduated from the University of Washington (B.A., Psychology, 2003) and Simon Fraser University (B.Ed., Indigenous Perspectives/Environmental Education, 2014). I attended graduate studies at the University of Toronto/OISE (Human Development and Applied Pyschology) and gradudated from Vancouver Island University (M.Ed., Educational Leadership, 2019). I also graduated with a Diploma in Early Childhood Education from Langara College (2010).

I was born in Ellensburg, WA, the territory of the Kittitas. My ancestors are Irish, German, Hungarian, and English. My husband Ron and I immigrated to Canada from the United States in 2007. We first moved to Toronto and then Vancouver. In 2015 we moved to Queen Charlotte, in Haida Gwaii. We moved to Prince Rupert in 2018, where we now live.


I co-developed many of the materials and ideas for Thinking Made Visible with my teaching partner Gordie Budning. All of the ideas were co-developed with our students at Prince Rupert Middle School and with my students at GidGalang Kuuyas Naay Secondary, Sk’aadgaa Naay Elementary, Tahayghen Elementary, Owl at the Barn at the University of British Columbia, Liberation Learning Project, Seneca College, Puget Sound Learning, and the Garden Preschool.