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Dr. Carmen Polka

Dr. Carmen Polka has worked diligently to infuse critical thinking into her classroom instruction, curriculum, and assessment for more than eighteen years. Recognized as her district’s Elementary Teacher of the Year, Dr. Polka's students and their families have thrived in her classroom culture that fosters strong-sense critical thinking.

Focused on transforming education through implementation of quality instructional practices, Dr. Polka instigated and co-authored the writing of the Colorado Academic State Standards targeting research and reasoning based on the Paul-Elder framework. As a leader and critical thinking expert in her district, she led professional development and coached K-12 teachers to effectively utilize the Paulian theory. As a Scholar of the Foundation for Critical Thinking, Dr. Polka has led focal presentations, academies, and workshops, and supports all levels of Paulian implementation in schools, districts, and universities.

Dr. Polka is currently a principal at an elementary school with students that are in Early Childhood through fifth grade. She earned her doctorate in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program at the University of Northern Colorado. In addition, she is a licensed K-12 Special Education teacher.

To contact Dr. Carmen Polka, please email: