Board of Visitors spotlight: Theola Carter

Profile photo of Theola Carter.An active alum of the La Follette School and manager of policy and program improvement in Dane County’s Tamara D. Grigsby Office for Equity and Inclusion, Theola V. Carter (MA ’91) joined the La Follette School Board of Visitors in January 2020.

Carter, who grew up in Beloit, received her bachelor’s degree in history with an emphasis in English from Fisk University, an HBCU in Nashville, Tennessee. Carter previously held several positions at the State of Wisconsin including the bureau director of housing, program manager for the Unemployment Division, and worker’s compensation section chief. She also served in roles for Milwaukee County, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Carter serves as an adjunct professor of intercultural communications and principles of management, and has served on several boards, including but not limited to Dane County Credit Union (now Heartland), Madison TEMPO, City of Madison Affirmative Action Commission, and Girls on the Run of Dane County. She is also an actor, performing in numerous community theater productions.

In December 2021, Carter was named one of Wisconsin’s most influential Black leaders by Madison365. She has given back to the La Follette School by speaking at an Elevating Equity in Policymaking event, a student-focused event series that showcases policy experts engaging in equity work.

“La Follette is molding the minds of the leaders of tomorrow,” reflects Carter when asked why it is important to her to support the La Follette School. “Policy governs all industries—in both public and private sectors. It is important to know how to write, read, interpret, and implement policy that it is fair, equitable, and improves the lives of all persons. As an African American woman, it is also important that I bring my voice to the table and to be in a space that has been predominately dominated by white males so that women and people of color see themselves and know that they, too, have a voice and bring unique perspectives that are valued and improve the quality of life for all—a public good.”

The La Follette School Board of Visitors provides important guidance by identifying resources that can raise the stature and standing of the school, helping with fundraising, providing career advice to students, and acting as goodwill ambassadors. The La Follette School is grateful to Carter for sharing her extensive expertise with the board and the school.

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